Today we are going to go back to the topic of short term trips. First we're going to hear from my friend Tina, who willingly steps in and serves in any capacity, any location, any time. She is an amazing servant. Then we will hear from Dr. Peter Chu and Dr. Hyon Kim, who were "Short Term Long Term" trailblazers with SIM. Both of these perspectives bring a much needed reminder that each of us brings something different to the table. God created us all to serve in the way he designed and we need to be faithful to that.
by Tina Bruner
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Cor 12: 4-7 ESV
The great thing about the body is that it MUST work together. It is many different parts with different functions – but one part without the others means it isn’t whole. Scripture is clear that each part of the body is equal. God made each of us to be part of the body that needs the other parts, and our part is needed.
As a non-medical person on a trip to Nigeria to train pastors to do basic dentistry, I learned how even our teeth are created for different functions and without certain teeth and their role, eating would be difficult. During that training I witnessed how beautiful it is when the body of Christ works together. Believers teaching and serving one another so that they might better serve those in need and bring hope to the hurting. It is a powerful witness to our divided world when we work together in the way God designed us. He is showing us a more excellent way by creating us this way.
by Dr. Peter Chu and Dr. Hyon Kim
Peter first served at SIM’s Galmi hospital in 1998 for 3 months, and shortly after returned with Hyon in 1999 to serve for 6 months to provide medical coverage and to discern future ministry direction. It was during this time that they developed a vision for “long-term-short- term-medical-mission-work”. God helped them see the need for physicians who bridged those who “sent” mission workers and those who were “sent” as mission workers. For the next 20 years, Peter and Hyon made regular annual trips to Galmi for a few weeks to months at a time. They remained flexible to the staffing needs of the hospital and tried to offer their service when long-term physicians were on home assignment or at conferences. Returning to the same hospital reduced the need for orientation and shortened learning curves and adjustment periods.
Committing to one hospital and returning on a regular basis gave them a unique “long- term-outsider’s” perspective which enabled them to participate and speak into strategic hospital issues. They developed deep relationships with long-term mission workers and hospital staff, which allowed them to carry out their most meaningful ministry of walking alongside people and encouraging them to persevere in their call and faith. Although, they cared for many patients at Galmi, they look back and see how God used them to encourage the long-term workers, by providing a loving and listening ear, procuring special hospital supplies, and supporting the work financially and by prayer.
“Long-term-short-term-medical-mission-work” was also a helpful way to maintain a winsome witness in their passport country. They both worked in academic settings in Toronto and had many opportunities to speak to their colleagues, medical trainees, and patients about their medical mission work and faith in Jesus. Over the years they had the privilege of taking several residents and colleagues to Galmi – people who otherwise would not have considered a mission trip except that they were invited by Peter and Hyon to serve with them. Some of these people have gone on to serve in medical missions on their own in both long- and short-term capacities. They are grateful to have had this special opportunity to serve God in medical missions. They hope others will consider doing the same.
So, can short-term teams really have an impact? Clearly, yes!
To take a deeper dive into the world of short term trips, find more resources and a trip list here: https://www.medicalmissions.com/missions/shortterm
To download our FREE 30 Day Journal: https://www.medicalmissions.com/finding-my-place-in-short-term-missions