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566 Posts

I'm not nor have I ever been a missionary. But I've met a lot of them and been a financial supporter. Obviously, experience is important. If you are in a primitive area, you're going to have to be able to function with none of the stuff we're used to using. (I would call it "Doomsday Nursing". Working with your bare hands (so to speak) and improvising like crazy as needs arise.)

But here is what most of the missionaries I talk to stress the most. It's not what you know professionally, but what are your rock-core-to-the-marrow-of-your-bones beliefs.

Our denomination has a mission in Africa where they could have LOTS of conversions and baptisms... that is until these converts are asked to contribute to the agriculture and other work necessary to feed and care for others. Seeing genuine repentence and New Birth in the local population is rare. It's a slow slog. They honestly say they are working and praying for the next generation, even if not one adult comes to belief in Christ. In addition to the frustration and spiritual opposition, one of the missionaries there got an infected leg that wouldn't heal. Another came down with malaria.

We have another mission in Haiti. Wonderful young family, working their hearts out while also raising their 5 young children in difficult circumstances. He was killed in a motor vehicle accident. That field is empty now, awaiting the next person God will send.

Where is God and what is He doing when things just fall apart?

What do you believe? While you're getting your education and experience, (which is vital) you should honestly consider your spiritual and theological preparation as well.

"Though he slay me, yet will I trust him."

Excellent post. It is not just about experiencing a foreign country and helping the poor physically. Otherwise, you may heal them, but their spiritual condition is left the same. They will get sick again. But where they are going after death is what matters most. To minister on both the physical and spiritual levels is the reason for medical missions. There is also much warfare going on in foreign countries. The problems are on a much deeper level than in the USA. We too must be spiritually ready.


143 Posts

Specializes in Case Management, Acute Care, Missions. Has 18 years experience.

Hi -

Glad to hear that there are so many other nurses interested in missions!

I have gone on 4 short-term and am in the process of going full-time in Zimbabwe. Just waiting for my work permit and Zim nurisng license.

There is already some great info here so I am just going to add my thoughts - please feel free to PM me if you have any other questions. (There are also some resources on my website...)

I would strongly suggest getting at least 1 year of experience on the floor in the States before you leave to go overseas. This is the time where you are actually putting all those pieces together that you learned in nursing school. If you can, work in OB or OR... both of those areas are greatly needed.

There are lots of opportunities to go short-term with just an associate's degree as a 'visitor' - meaning you are there on a tourist visa and will be practicing under the lisence of the local missionary nurse/MD. If you are going to go for any length of time... (in Zim you can only be on a visitors visa for 6 months) then you will need to apply for a work permit and nursing license in that country. Most governments will not grant you a license unless you have a BSN.

There are a lot of teams that go and I can suggest some good groups. While teams are good - you do not get a real picture of what it is really like. If you really feel called to full-time then I would suggest interning at a mission hospital. The teams are great if you have never traveled overseas before and/or just stepping out - but going independently will give you are more realistic picture of what life on the field will be like... there are many hospitals that have programs... networking is the best way to find out about them... The Global Mission Health Conference that JRaphasRN mentioned is another great place to not only network but also learn more about medical missions in general, along with the nuts and bolts of being a medical missionary.

There are 2 other great classes you can take... one is CHE - Community Health Evangelism and a Mission Medical Intensive.

CHE is all about development work (not relief) which empowers the local people instead of creating a dependancy.

The medical intensive is designed more for lay people but is designed for missionaries who are living in areas far from health care. Much of what you learn will be a repeat (how to give medications, NG tubes, IVs etc) but they also go over how to dx most common ailments, suturing, birth, etc. It basically gives you tools so that you can be safe on the field but there is some GREAT info for clinicians.

Most missionaries need to raise thier own support and the amount should be enough to live on etc. Since I am currently in the process... I can say that it is definately a faith builder!

Also.... to echo what another writer said... you have to be VERY grounded in your faith and calling to go - there is so much out there to pull you away from that, and so many distractions that it is often times very difficult to keep focused. Having a great support team to hold you in prayer and to help keep you focused when needed. Christ is definately my lifeline... but He has used my support team more times than I can count to keep me going when I am getting hit from all directions and unsure of which way is up.

I have to run... but please feel free to PM me if you have any other questions... I will also be at the medical conference if anyone else is planning on going...

In Him -



5 Posts

Hi all! im currently in my final year of nursing in sydney australia. Some people will tell you that you should have years and years of experience in order to be a missionary, or tell you that you are too young! My advice would be if you feel a calling to medical missions, then go! Sure, you need experience, but if you spend 10 or more years specialising and then specialising some more, i believe you are wasting your time when you could be making a real difference in a third world country.

I visited kenya last year for 4 weeks and felt a real attraction to the place. i volunteered at the local hospital and had the privilege of delivering 5 babies! (when i was only a 2nd year student nurse!) i also visited some rural clinics and was shocked by the lack of supplies. I decided to something about it, so i purchased 1 acre of land in nakuru, kenya on which i plan to build my house and a clinic.

once i graduate at the end of this year i am doing a midwife course, then in early 2010 i am moving over to kenya permanently. in the meantime i am writing to medical supply companies for donations, fundraising money and reading up on as much information i can get about africa-specific diseases. a website i highly recommend where i get my resources is

Many people tell me that i am naive about moving over, that i don't have enough money, enough experience, etc, but im not worried because God has called me to do this work, and He will provide!

Does anyone have a similar story?

If you are thinking about becoming a missionary, you just need to google 'volunteer' and it will come up with thousands of results. many volnteer organisations are quite costly, so if you are struggling financially, i would contact hospitals/clinics directly. 99% of the time they will be more than happy to have you, and many are willing to teach (although be aware that some of their techniques are very different to those taught at college!) Try and find the neediest place possible, because then you can have a greater impact.

God bless you all :)


1 Article; 120 Posts

Has 1 years experience.

I'm thinking I will end up in missionary nursing. I have a heart for traveling and a heart for people. I'm hoping to be an intern in Uganda in an orphanage that houses HIV/AIDS+ children in the summer of 2013. I think if I go it will be very hard to come back and go to school. I'm applying to both ADN and BSN programs and then will see what I get into. Then I'm probably going to head out somewhere in Africa Lord willing. Can't wait to see where God leads! Good luck to all of you!


52 Posts

Has 5 years experience.

How and where do you apply for such medical mission trips / missionary nurse ? Are there any sites someone could post?

Thank you.

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