22 December 2015

A Christian Perspective on Health Volunteerism

As we approach Christmas and celebrate God's unselfish gift of love and innocence, perhaps it is appropriate for us to examine the gifts of health volunteerism that we offer to others, in the name of Jesus.  What are our motives and priorities?  Using the acronym, "Hope", I have outlined two options that represent each letter, below.

"H" = Helping ourselves feel good by providing treatment and drugs to those in need but without staying connected to the recipients.
Helping locals through collaboration on their assessment of their community's long-term health concerns.

"O" = Overcoming obstacles of travel inconvenience and personal comfort to participate in an interesting health volunteer experience.
Overcoming cultural blindness and prejudice that limit our understanding of local health beliefs and practices

"P"= Praying with other volunteer friends in daily worship
Praying together with volunteers and locals, in order to find the "Holy" in new and exciting places

"E"= Engaging the services of a local tour company in order to take advantage of tourism opportunities
Engaging with local hosts and residents in health planning and recreational activities

First options in each acronym letter are not necessarily bad but likely should not be a primary focus or approach of medical volunteering.

May you have a blessed and peaceful Christmas season!

Jane Dunn

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