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What motivates us to join a short-term mission trip?

The following was written by an OMF medical worker serving in China.

The dream was born a year earlier when a doctor from Hong Kong came for a course: “Could we organise something bigger, more comprehensive, including other specialties?” Local doctors in the Chinese Hospital had shown deep interest in the opportunity and within a few months a 3 nation team had formed from Taiwan, Hong Kong & Singapore.

A year later, the Hong Kong doctor and three specialist team members arrived at the airport. A hired van sent them smoothly to their destination where a home-made fusion cuisine meal had been prepared, which “tasted just like real Taiwan dishes”! Sunday morning was greeted by local delicacies and worship, followed by praying our way through narrow lanes discovering what the Lord is already doing and longing to see in this needy place.

Accommodating the hospital’s work schedule, the specialists lectured in the afternoon and night to an audience which included local specialists invited from across the country. “I travelled 4 hours to listen to your talks. Could you come to our hospital, too?”

The returning Hong Kong doctor found time to visit old friends and discuss recent challenges. Patients were seen at the ward, turned up at the lecture hall or were consulted via computer and phone. One morning was spent with bedside teaching. A local colleague was deeply moved when the team did not only offer a second, third and fourth opinion but reached out in prayer to her fear-stricken soul. Gratefully, she invited the team for a home-cooked dinner.

“Is it all work, no fun?”

The local hosts made sure that the guests tasted and touched some local culture: enjoying a traditional tea ceremony while listening to the 7-stringed Guqin in an ancient courtyard home, observing the intricate creation of 紫陶 pottery and breathing the calm of a Qing Dynasty village.

“A word, which doesn’t cross Chinese lips easily,” Dr S’s unease was palpable, “爱 – love.” At the end of the symposium she shared how much she was touched once more to see people coming in as self-paying volunteers. As a party member she herself takes 为人民服务 – serving the people seriously. Out of her own pocket she had bought famous local pottery as presents. As we closed with a hymn colleagues in the audience joined in while the rest clapped the rhythm. How do we long to share that the love we were singing about is not our own but all received from God. May His love soften the hearts of local friends for the next team to come and sow some more seeds!

There are many ways for medical professionals to serve God in East Asia.

The Serve Asia programme offers christian medical mission trips throughout the year.

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