Six things you do when you’re a short-term mission worker
What’s it like to climb a mountain in your 70s? What’s it like to help a child with a hole in their heart? Find out in this listicle about being a short-term mission worker with BMS World Mission
A view from where BMS worker Jodie works in Nepal
Two women. Two different stories. A shared heart for serving God and others through mission.
Poppy* has been working at a preschool centre in Kosovo for two years and Jodie Barnes has just begun volunteering as a medic in Nepal. Through their experiences in mission, they’ve seen and done things that they could never have imagined. You’ll want to read the list of incredible things that can happen when you do mission, maybe you’ll find that you have what it takes to serve others around the world too!
1. Climb a mountain (when you’re in your 70s!)
This was the case for Poppy, who climbed a 8,000 foot mountain recently in Kosovo! “It was incredible,” says Poppy. “It sure was hard work, but I did it.” It was quite the feat for someone of Poppy’s age (72) and something that she wouldn’t have been able to accomplish in the same way in the UK (with the highest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis, being only about 4,000 feet!). Although doing mission work is not a holiday, it does allow you to have unique new experiences.
The mountain that Poppy climbed in Kosovo
2. Play a part in healing hearts
Working in a rural area at Tansen Mission Hospital in Nepal, Jodie and the staff see many children and families that are very poor. If children or young adults have heart problems, like a hole in their heart, the hospital does not have a facility for paediatric cardiac surgery, but it has set up a special “heart fund” to find a way to help patients. Through the fund the hospital can take patients to Kathmandu (a nine hour drive away) for free and accommodate them with a Christian family while they are there for treatment. “It’s wonderful that we are able to do this for people who don’t have the money,” says Jodie. “It’s nice because we can place them with a family that can look after them while they are in the hospital and help them during recovery.”
A photo taken by Jodie in Nepal
3. Find that age doesn’t matter
“You don’t have to be young, you don’t have to be old,” says Poppy. “You just have to do it.” These are the words that Poppy likes to live by and the words she has found to be true to her during her own experience in mission. Poppy had always felt God calling her to do mission work, but didn’t apply to work with BMS until she retired at age 70. “I just had this sudden thought that doing mission was what I wanted to do next,” says Poppy. “I didn’t think they would accept me because I was too old, but I was wrong!”
A photo taken by Poppy in Kosovo
4. Discover new ways to care for people spiritually
One of Jodie’s personal goals in doing medical mission is to learn how to care for patients spiritually, something that wasn’t taught in her medical classes. “There’s so much more to being a medic than climbing a career ladder,” says Jodie. “For me, it’s about being a Christian first and a medic second.” One way that Jodie has seen faith in action so far at the hospital is through the pastoral care team. It’s rare to find pastoral care teams in hospitals in Nepal, and Jodie recognises how it can improve a patient’s experience. “It’s great that the patients can have somebody who understands their situation and who can show them support through Christian love,” says Jodie.
A photo taken by Jodie in Nepal
5. Be challenged in new ways
Poppy feels doing mission work has given her a wider view of the world and challenged her in exciting new ways. “It’s about learning to adapt to a whole new culture,” says Poppy. “You have to be prepared for it to be different and realise that sometimes the UK way is not always the best way.” Along with embracing a new culture, Poppy has been challenged by a job she had never had prior to doing mission. Working in a school has been a new and rewarding experience for her. “My colleagues and the children have been lovely,” says Poppy. “And I’ve done my best to contribute.”
6. Get a bigger perspective of how great God is
Jodie has really enjoyed her experience so far. She’s found living and working with Christians in a different country very encouraging. “I think you get a bigger perspective of how great God is,” says Jodie. “Because he’s not just a God for the people in the UK, but he’s also a God over the whole earth.”
A view from where BMS worker Poppy works in Kosovo
Please pray for Poppy as she prepares to end her time of mission work in Kosovo. Pray for a smooth transition back home and that she can continue to be salt and light to others back in the UK. Pray also for Jodie as she does a nine-week mission placement in Nepal. Pray for her health and well-being, that she will continue to learn from the people she is surrounded by, and that she is able to share God’s love with patients and people she meets.
Do you feel God calling you to do short-term mission? From three months to two years, we’ve got lots of different possibilities. If you have a desire to serve God and others around the world, then it could be the right fit for you! Find out more today.
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission.