WHERE CAN I SERVE?
ABWE offers more than a half dozen short-term opportunities each year to serve on a healthcare team. Locations include ABWE hospitals as well as fixed and mobile clinics. We always serve in conjunction with ABWE field staff or ABWE ministry partners for the purpose of building the local body of Christ through church planting and multiplication.
WHAT WILL I DO?
Short-term teams conduct primary care clinics providing simple medical, dental and vision care. Licensed professionals must diagnose and prescribe treatment, but other team members support their work by performing various tasks, including: directing/managing the crowd, preparing treatment sheets, checking vital signs, identifying chief complaints, obtaining patient histories, sharing their testimony/giving the plan of salvation, assisting at a treatment station, helping with the pharmacy, and gathering trip statistics. All of these are essential tasks for the clinic to run smoothly.
DO I HAVE TO BE A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR STUDENT TO SERVE?
No. While “treaters” (MD’s, Nurse Practitioners, and PA’s) form the core of each team, we also have space for students or others with no healthcare training at all. Many of the duties described in “What will I do?” can be preformed by non-healthcare team members, whom we orient to that ministry at the beginning of the trip.
HOW DO YOU DO FOLLOW-UP DISCIPLESHIP?
Whenever possible we use ABWE evangelism and discipleship materials called Good Soil. Resident ABWE staff, ministry partners and host church members are trained in the use of these materials for follow-up discipleship. Team members are trained to use the evangelism materials during field orientation.
CAN I BRING MY OWN MINISTRY MATERIALS?
You may employ other materials with which you are familiar and comfortable (tracts, Evangicube, etc.) but, to ensure consistency of the message we ask you to submit your materials in advance to the project leader for review and approval.
HOW DO YOU DO EVANGELISM?
The medical history taker (HT) role is the “heart” of our evangelism effort. The history takers invest significant amounts of time getting to know each patient by recording their medical history and all of the physical concerns they might have. Listening and interacting with patients about their physical needs opens the door for us to inquire about their spiritual needs and share our own faith. It is a very effective way of demonstrating the love of Christ and sharing the gospel. Spiritual condition and any decisions made are noted on the patient record so other clinic staff can respond, encourage, pray, etc.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
Trip costs vary depending upon location, duration and scope of ministry. We allow participants to arrange and pay for their air transportation independently. Participants pay only a project fee to ABWE which currently ranges from $800-$1200. A $100 non-refundable deposit is required once you are assigned to a team. Detailed cost explanations are provided for each location in the trip brochures at the bottom of the location profile page.
WHERE WILL WE STAY?
For trips to ABWE mission centers lodging will generally be an ABWE guest house or dormitory. Lodging in other locations may be in partner ministry facilities such as hotel-like camps, dormitories or guest houses. Regardless of the location, lodging will be safe, clean and functional.
WHAT ABOUT SAFE FOOD AND WATER?
All meal and drink preparation on location will be done by trained, supervised staff. Any meals taken out will be at known, trustworthy restaurants. The project leader will also coach you on any local food or drink items to avoid. Bottled or filtered water will be provided.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
Travel to any foreign location has implicit risks; accidents, illness, natural disasters, violent acts like robbery or muggings just to name a few. ABWE takes extensive measures to safe guard participants by avoiding high-risk situations. Key to this is our close relationship and interactions with resident ABWE missionaries, missionary partners and national pastors/church members. Cultural norms, issues and safety guidelines will be reviewed during field orientation.
HOW ABOUT TRANSPORTATION?
Air transportation to and from the host country is arranged independently by each participant, but we will recommend travel agencies to help you. We do this to maximize flexibility of your travel schedule and allow you to use frequent flyer points, credits or discounts. We do coordinate arrival and departure schedules of participants within a time window to avoid multiple, costly airport runs in the field. Transportation in-country is arranged by resident ABWE staff or ministry partners. Local transportation may be private buses, coasters, vans, cars or even public vehicles.
WHAT IF I GET SICK OR INJURED?
As part of your project fee, ABWE provides traveler’s insurance which covers major medical care (hospitalization) or dental emergencies in foreign locations. In addition the policy provides expatriation and evacuation coverage, should that be necessary. Minor issues will be handled by the team medical staff. The insurance is in effect while you are outside the USA during the trip dates.
WHAT IF I WANT TO ARRIVE EARLY OR STAY LONGER?
That is great. In some cases we can arrange for you to extend your ministry service with resident ABWE staff or partners after the team leaves. Costs and responsibilities will be independent of the team trip arrangements. You may also choose to enjoy personal vacation time in the foreign location, but you will have to make all those arrangements on your own.
WHAT EQUIPMENT OR SUPPLIES SHOULD/CAN I BRING?
This varies by location but generally practitioners will need to bring their own equipment to practice. Those providing primary medical care will want to bring their own stethoscope, otoscope, penlight, and pressure cuff if possible. (Pediatric pressure cuffs are always in need). Dentists and optometrist will need to bring necessary equipment and instruments as little if any of this will be available on location. Your project leader will guide and assist you in this according to the needs and situation in each location.
WHAT SHOULD I PACK IN A CARRY-ON VS CHECKED BAGS?
You’ll want to have essentials in your carry-on bag in case your luggage is lost or delayed. This is dealt with extensively in the participants Information booklet specific to each location.
HOW ABOUT SPECIALISTS VACCINATIONS OR PROPHYLACTIC MEASURES?
Beyond standard immunizations such as MMR and DPT, you’ll want to have a current tetanus booster. Hepatitis A & B may also be recommended. Country immigration laws determine whether special vaccinations such as yellow fever are required for entry. Depending on the location you’ll be visiting, CDC and your local health department may also recommend vaccinations for cholera and typhoid. Prophylactic malaria medication will be recommended where it is warranted. ABWE monitors the situation in each location based on recommendations from epidemiology sources and resident staff, and will advise you accordingly.
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT VISAS, IMMIGRATIONS AND CUSTOMS PROCEDURES?
A visa is official permission to be in a country. In about half the countries we visit, the visa is given routinely to everyone upon arrival at the airport in that country. Other countries require you to apply for a visa ahead of time, before you leave the USA. Our information guide for each trip will guide you through what you need to do for that country. Note that most countries require you to have a passport that is valid for 6 months or more beyond your entry into that country; because most of the visas are good for 3 to 6 months, and they want your passport to still be valid when you leave the country.
When you arrive in a country, you will be asked to fill out an immigration form and a customs form indicating what you will be doing, where you will be staying, what you are bringing in to the country, etc. We will give you the information you will need for each country.
HOW CAN I GET MY CHURCH INVOLVED?
Having your church’s prayer support is essential. Members of your congregation may also want to support you financially, and the church office may be willing to set up a special project account to which members can contribute. The trip can be a church project in other ways also, such as collecting materials for you to take. Details about specific material needs will be provided by your project leader. Even more, your interest in missions, your pictures and report upon return, all will increase mission awareness in your local church.
CAN I RAISE SUPPORT FOR MY TRIP?
Absolutely. Your church may want to help you with this, or you may have your support sent directly to ABWE. In either case donors will receive a tax-deduction receipt for their contribution. Details are explained in the participant information booklet.
WHAT IS THE APPLICATION PROCESS?
You may prepare an application online at ABWE’s secure application site.
STILL HAVE A QUESTION YOU NEED ANSWERED?
Contact us at IHM@abwe.org or call us at 717.909.2442.