EMAS Canada believes in a team concept of mission. As Jesus typically sent out his disciples in groups rather than alone, so we primarily send out healthcare workers in teams rather than in isolation.
Our holistic healthcare teams include members with a broad range of skills that contribute to fulfilling the specific purpose and goal of each local program. For example, rather than send an orthopaedic surgeon to Ecuador on their own, we also send specialist nurses, physiotherapists and pharmacists as well. Our flexible approach allows people with a wide range of medical experience to participate.
We’re continually amazed by the people God sends to volunteer on our teams. Several of our team leaders have served the same region for 20 years or more. Others are full-time professors at Canadian medical or nursing schools such as the University of British Columbia or Université de Saint-Boniface who give up their holiday time every year to join us. Still others raise hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to bring medical supplies to those who need them in the developing world.
There is also a profound degree of learning that happens within a team-based mission trip. Many first-time participants are surprised by the complexities of providing healthcare in a new cultural context. During the mission, however, they have the opportunity to learn volumes from local healthcare providers and other team members. Upon returning, many participants report having a better sense of how to care for immigrants to Canada who visit their clinic or hospital.
Many EMAS teams have also become close-knit communities back in Canada. They meet regularly throughout the year to enjoy BBQs, participate in fundraising events, and prepare for upcoming mission trips. Team members also include friends and family who never leave the country but play a vital role such as praying for the work or coordinating logistics.
Overseas teams range in size from 4 to as many as 80 people. To keep costs low, all EMAS Canada team leaders volunteer their time.