15 Jun Why We Decided to Do Surgical Missions with Mission UpReach
by H. Kendle Yates, M.D.
Across the globe there are a number of opportunities to do surgical missions. My wife and I are concerned with people’s physical health, but we are even more concerned with people’s spiritual health. Mission UpReach allows us to address both. Restoring physical health, no matter how successful an operation, is only a temporary benefit. One’s spiritual health is eternal.
Even after removing humanitarian only organizations, there are still many faith-based organizations from which to choose to do a surgical mission. In medical school there is a phrase every doctor learns: “First, do no harm.” As doctors we weigh the risks and benefits before we intervene; because sometimes patients are harmed. What we intend for good sometimes turns out bad.
The same is true in missions. Sometimes, well-meaning faith groups have good intentions but end up harming the people they serve by creating dependency. Mission UpReach’s philosophy of self-led, self-sustaining, self-replicating churches aims to avoid dependency and instead empowers local populations to be more effective in reaching souls.
Jesus’ ministry on earth was multifaceted. He has been appropriately called The Great Physician who provided both physical and spiritual healing. It didn’t take long for us to learn that Mission UpReach is also remarkably multifaceted. We believe in its spiritual vision and are impressed with its multifaceted outreach… outreach to the poor, to women, to children, to the deaf, to those needing medical care… just like Jesus’ ministry.
While not unique to Mission UpReach, a great benefit for trips like the planned October surgical trip is the opportunity to outreach to everyday healthcare providers in America. Developing a heart of compassion and service to others is a great way to reinforce the love of Christ to all of us. Most of the busy doctors, nurses, and techs that committed to going this October have never done anything like this before. It’s exciting to see God already at work.
It is fitting to close with Mission UpReach’s scriptural signature (John 10:10). Sometimes physical illness simply makes living difficult. Worse yet, spiritual illness makes a full life impossible. We envision this new surgical outreach as a natural expansion for Mission UpReach to continue its mission for the people of Western Honduras to have life, and have it to its fullest.