EMAS Canada’s work force is voluntary, serving where our skills and resources are needed. It also consists of non-traveling team members, board members; supporters who raise funds, cook and serve meals at team meetings, collect and pack supplies before missions. It includes those who run numerous pre and post mission errands while patiently waiting in long queues for official documentation to mobilize teams.
We have many partners in countries where we serve; we have no way of knowing how many are engaged as free-will donors of their skills and of their time. Like their Canadian counterparts, they expect and get no material reward for their services. The common thread is the aspiration to be like, and serve like Jesus.
1. Holistic approach offers variety of opportunity
Collaboration is essential if we are to have a holistic response to needs anywhere in the world.
The UN’s Agenda for Sustainable Development1 recognizes the importance of collaboration and partnerships for delivering health for the whole person.
Improving health and preventing disease are significant, but only part of the program for peace, prosperity and justice for all.
Every EMAS team has a variety of opportunities for service; volunteers do not need to be trained in the healing sciences. The idiom “All Hands on Deck” reflects our interdisciplinary approach to short-term missions through long-term teams.
2. Deep-rooted partnerships produce lasting impact
Led by volunteers, our teams are committed to serving on long-term projects.
Volunteers who want their lives to count in significant ways by improving the lot of others have a place in EMAS projects. To impact the health of communities through education and service takes dedication to realistic long-term goals. It also requires partnerships with local hosts.
Under the stewardship of Dr. Plourde, our engagement in Haiti is an example of how volunteers are able to participate in Millennium Development Goals2 through Capacity building and community development from a public health perspective.
3 Enabling many multiplies the investment of a few
Local leaders affect health and general well-being of their communities because of the influence they have. Their opinions are sought and respected.
The Zimbabwe Karanda dental team provides local pastors in Zimbabwe with an annual retreat, refresher courses in bible study, and personal spiritual renewal. The key volunteers for this program are theologians and bible schoolteachers. These types of service opportunities open doors for volunteers from all walks of life and are available on most teams.
4 Christ’s compassion at the center of Health Care
Jesus stands out as the leading example in selfless concern for the well-being of others, His unutterable compassion compels His followers.
5 Going where we are needed creates room for more volunteers
In every mission there is a need for help with administrative and managerial tasks that facilitate efficient patient care.
Beatrice Vandervelde who has serve as gate-keeper, controlling traffic to and from the doctor’s office says:
“This is the way things usually worked. Once we arrived on site, each team—medical, eye, dental, pharmacy—looked for and set up in a suitable location. I worked with the eye team. We usually had a small room. We’d move furniture, set up chairs, equipment, medication, tape eye charts on the wall, and line up chairs outside the door. When we were ready, patients were sent to fill the chairs. One by one, I would let them into the room to see the doctor. When he was finished with a patient, I would usher in the next one.”
EMAS is currently exploring two exciting and challenging opportunities for service in Africa:
There is a village called Bolo in Liberia. They have asked a Canadian missionary for a church. That missionary has asked EMAS for a healthcare team. The missionary writes:
“You cannot drive to Bolo. You have to walk for one and a half hours to reach this village after driving 25 minutes from Yekepa. Here is a photo of the monkey bridge that must be 50′ long. There are two more bridges made of loose sticks that cross creeks.”
In the Gutu district of Zimbabwe EMAS has an invitation from the highest level of government to contribute towards the UN’s Agenda for Sustainable Development, we believe we make impact through improved maternal and child health.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities at EMAS Canada, send an email to email@example.com
A physician and surgeon in his native Kenya, Peter has a passion for Christ-centred healthcare and has a wealth of experience both hosting and sending short-term mission teams.