In two weeks, doma sends its first team of travelers to Uganda! We will be headed to several locations to provide medical care and to explore potential long term relationships with orphanages and children’s centers around Kampala and Jinja.
Providing medical care requires a lot of organization and fundraising prior to departure, to ensure adequate care and use of time while in the country. Recently, an organization turned us down for funding because, as a policy, they only support trips that are evangelical in nature. I am fine with the no—since I know not everyone can give to everything—especially if we don’t align with core values. But I am having a hard time with the perception that medical mission somehow isn’t evangelical.
I typically leave the philosophizing and the theologizing to my husband. He enjoys it and knows much more than I do— but I am pretty sure that this won’t be the first time that doma has to explain why we do what we do to people who typically think of mission trips and ‘mission’ as conversion, knocking on doors, passing out tracts, etc. I’m not opposed to that type of mission trip—that was the nature of my first trip to Russia in 1993! But it might not be appropriate or adequate or optimal in many situations.
So—why is doma sending a medical team to Uganda? And how does that relate to doma’s core mission? And is it evangelical?
In Uganda, we will gather hundreds of orphaned children and people in extreme poverty, look at their critical needs, and extend ‘good news’ to them. Doma sees that these critical needs are obstacles to peace and joy. We believe that sharing the good news about Jesus (or- ‘evangelizing’), is often more than proclamation. More than words. More than a prayer.
Sometimes it is also, or alternatively, extending a healing hand to those in pain, to those suffering with HIV/AIDS, picking lice out of children’s hair, supplying hundreds of orphaned children with mosquito nets so they aren’t paralyzed by the thought or reality of malaria. Sometimes it’s sending a team of medical experts to ‘forge the way’—and offer the loudest type of proclamation you can offer: We care about your pain because Jesus does! We have the training and the resources and the time and the energy to meet a very real need that you have…so why wouldn’t we? Are you hungry? We will fill your bellies because Jesus cares about your hunger. Are you thirsty and have no water? We can figure out how to get you access to clean water so that you can drink and be well because Jesus cares that you are thirsty. What did Jesus do while dwelling among us? That is what motivates us and gives us a blueprint of how best to share Christ with others…
Offering a tract or a performing a street drama to hundreds of people sick, starving, thirsty, in pain, is only one way to share the good news. However, it is because of the good news of Jesus, that doma is compelled to do more than proclaim and depart. So is that evangelical? Hmmm… I guess I’ll have to go ask my husband…
Later on this week, tune in to meet one of our 11 travelers, Erica Palys, MD- who specializes in infectious disease.