by Medical Missionary News
When a group of medical professionals saw the great need for medical mission overseas they started Medical Missionary News (MMN). In 1934 a quarterly magazine was produced to inform believers and help support colleagues involved in mission healthcare work around the world and, later, Dr Chave Cox, the first editor, established a fund to distribute the resources to where they were needed. In 1977 a letter arrived from a missionary in Zambia enquiring as to whether a drug, which was no longer available in that country, could be obtained. The drug was airmailed and the news quickly spread to other missionaries who were experiencing similar problems. Requests began to flood in to MMN and by 1980 consignments of up to five tons of medicines were being dispatched.
With a focus on sharing what God is doing through those engaged in medical mission, MMN supports over 50 projects in countries spread across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. These projects fall into five main categories: mission hospitals and clinics; community healthcare; support for disabled people and orphaned children; medical training and equipping; and disaster relief.
Funding and supplies are sent to hospitals such as Chitokoloki Hospital in Zambia and a hospital in South Asia to assist them to reach more people in their local communities.
‘To keep the hospital running under such extraordinary circumstances required an above normal flow of funds. It has taken a substantial financial hit due to the expenses of its Covid centre…However, praise be to God who supplied finances miraculously through unexpected sources, failing which, we would have struggled to function as a hospital.’
– Hospital, South Asia
Community healthcare enables local organisations to provide healthcare in their communities where there is no provision or people cannot afford it. We support projects that provide care for disabled people and children who have been orphaned and may not be given sufficient, or any, support from their local authorities.
There is great need for support for disabled children living in Africa. A new venture recently raised funds for three of our focus projects: Helping Hands in Mozambique; Special Children’s Trust in Uganda; and Wukwashi wa Nzambi in Zambia. Seeing the impact this prayerful support has had in the lives of these children, and hearing of the opportunities it has opened to teach them about Jesus over the coming months is a joy.
‘When we returned with a new wheelchair for Carlotta, she was delighted. She saw we kept our word and again we had the opportunity to revisit Jesus’ words.’
– Heather Phillips, Helping Hands, Mozambique
Provision is made to train and equip churches and individuals to teach communities about basic healthcare, which in turn prevents illnesses and supports those suffering with HIV/Aids and other medical conditions.
‘We are writing to express our enormous gratitude for the grant that will provide peer educators with continued support so they are able to explore their talents, learn about God’s love for them and create pathways out of the sex trade into a better life. What a wonderful gift of life for them!’
– ACET, Shining Star Project, Zimbabwe
The good news is that there has been significant improvement globally in access to healthcare
Following a disaster, MMN supports the provision of emergency aid to those who have faced natural and political tragedies with the practical and emotional support they need.
‘Thanks to the generous support of MMN, Rap-CD have been able to work with 75 families who were affected by the flooding, providing them with mattresses, Bibles, hoes and construction materials to enable them to start rebuilding their lives.’
– Accomplish Children’s Trust, Uganda
Supporting Medical Mission
MMN functions in four main ways to support healthcare projects.
Informed Prayer – We provide regular updates from overseas projects concerning the needs and challenges to encourage people to uphold these in prayer. Prayer evenings, focusing on a particular area of ministry are held on Zoom. It has been wonderful to hear of answered prayer following these events. God is working through the community of His people.
Financial Support – The provision of grants helps the projects to train more staff and carry out medical mission in their local context, and reach their local community effectively.
Medical Training – We encourage Christian medics to consider using their medical skills as a way of reaching others with the gospel. A partnership has been created with Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) to support the Global Track programme, which provides medical knowledge and practical training overseas to young medical professionals.
Medical Supplies – In 1982, a clear advantage to shipping items led to MMN’s container work. Medicines and other supplies that are not readily available locally are shipped to countries in need: a work that continues to this day.
Through the provision of support, we have seen numerous medical students complete their studies and serve in their local context.
Similya Mpheza, who studied Nursing and Midwifery in Malawi, explains the impact this support has had: ‘I am in my third year, finishing my course in April 2022. I have enjoyed my studies from day one. I would like to thank God for all that He is doing; I would not have been able to study at this college if it was not for Him. God has been so wonderful and I am left with no words to use in thanking Him. It was really encouraging to see the way my school fees were paid for. I also would like to thank all those who took time to pray for me; it is my hope that they will continue.’
None of the work done through MMN would be possible without the involvement of supporters. A number of people contribute through the provision of donated goods: medical supplies, blankets, Christian literature, gifts for Sunday school prizes and many other requested items are sent on in containers.
Challenges to Meet
The past two years of Covid restrictions brought new challenges for many mission organisations. The lockdowns prevented us from meeting with churches and supporters. However, as we utilised technology, the online access also brought new opportunities to let people know about the work and needs.
Issues in shipping, compounded by the pandemic and the blockage in the Suez Canal, escalated prices, making shipping more challenging. It is also increasingly difficult to get charitable goods through customs and it is often down to the opinion of an individual rather than a legal process.
The good news is that there has been significant improvement globally in access to healthcare. As more medical supplies have become available locally, the needs of medical projects overseas have changed vastly and our support has adapted. However, many people remain in need of medical services: ‘Half the world lacks access to essential health services; 100 million [are] pushed into extreme poverty because of health expenses.’1
In each MMN magazine, we share news from around the world of how God is working through healthcare to shine His light into a dark world. Providing access to basic healthcare opens up many opportunities to share the gospel with local communities and follows the example that Jesus set to show God’s love in a practical way.
- for wisdom and planning to adapt to the changes happening in global health and mission
- for the projects supported by MMN, many of which are run by believers in remote areas where they receive little support but have great needs
- for perseverance in their work and that God would give them the strength to continue the incredible ministry they do for Him
- for believers working in the medical profession: that they would be encouraged to use their skills in a mission context, giving more people not only access to basic healthcare but also the opportunity to hear the healing and saving message of Jesus.