What About My Physical Health on the Mission Field?
There are many potential diseases and dangers that can affect your physical health when you are serving overseas on the mission field. They may include malaria, HIV Aids, Ebola, TB, syphilis, sleeping sickness, whooping cough, measles, MS, Autism, Diabetes and many others. Our saints in the faith who have served, or are serving abroad, face these threats to their health every day. Today’s threat of terrorism and political persecution is real as well.
“OK. You scared me. No overseas assignment for me. I will stay and be a missionary right here at home.”
Is that what our Great Physician Yahweh-Rophe – the Lord who heals, desires for us?
If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.” – Exodus 15:26
In Mark 16:17-18, we read, “In the name of Jesus, the sick are healed.” If there is healing, there must be sickness throughout our entire world.
Imagine a person raised and living in a germ-free environment who is then forced to live in a dump full of sewage and waste. Jesus existed in a perfect sin-free environment and chose to come rescue us in our sin-filled, dark world—He came from light into darkness. He was not only tempted as we are, but took our place on the cross to make us righteous in Him, through faith.
Christ came to be what we are so we could become what He is.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
Christ cares for us wherever we serve or live. Our physical health on the mission field and everywhere else is under His watchful eye.
“Casting all your care upon him; for He cares for you.” – I Peter 5:7
Mission agencies care about your physical health on the mission field
When my wife and I joined a large mission agency, we were required to take term life insurance and contribute to a retirement fund. At the mission center, a Medical and Dental Clinic was available that cost about one-third of medical services off site.
During our thirty years of mission service, the advantage of the agency’s medical, dental, vocational and counseling benefits, helped our lives to be healthy and productive. We were open and transparent with leaders and fellow missionaries and felt that we were in a caring family environment.
It is interesting to me that while we were in mission service we had fewer health issues then before missions and after. We know that God allows sickness for His glory, drawing us to depend on Him and showing others who He is. Health issues are God’s loving yard stick to measure our relationship in Christ. Before, during and after serving in missions we should strive to maintain good health as we remember that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Spiritual health and warfare
At a MissionNext event, I was going to give a presentation to mission agency recruiters on relational recruiting. We had a team leadership meeting the evening before, and I went right to bed after a time of prayer for the next day. In the middle of the night I was awakened with a cold sweat, dizziness and overwhelming fear. I tried to get up but slumped to the floor, unable to talk or move to the phone for help. Three hours later after crying out the name of Jesus, I regained my strength and went to breakfast.
At breakfast I shared my experience and was told that Satan will often attack just before a time when he knows God will be glorified. But God is greater. The presentation was well received and Jesus was honored. Praise God!
Our God will keep us safe in Him wherever we serve. His desire is that we help fulfill the Great Commission. Keep on keeping on.
The best way to find out what health services mission agencies offer is to talk to them! Start by filling out a profile to see which ones will be a good fit for you and go from there!
Mike Gallagher has spent thirty years with Wycliffe Bible Translators and also works with MissionNext as a Member Care Coordinator.