What is Medical Ambassadors International?
Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) is an international Christian organization working to impact the lives of children, women, and men by addressing the root causes of poverty, disease, and hopelessness.
Why does MAI exist?
MAI exists to ‘make Wholistic disciples who make wholistic disciples’.
Talking about the ‘Golden Circle’ at a TED talk a few years ago, Simon Sinek pointed out that knowing ‘why’ an organization exists is critical for it to be effective. ‘What’ it does and ‘How’ it does it is subservient to the ‘Why’. MAI exists to make Wholistic disciples of Jesus who replicate and reach out to others to disciple them. These wholistic disciples use CHE as the tool to bring about movements of transformation by healing lives and transforming communities.
Whom do you serve?
We work with individuals of all walks of life with special concern for the poor. We serve people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.
What makes MAI stand out among like-minded organizations?
MAI is engaged in community development, it is not a relief organization. With over 40 years of experience and field-tested teaching methods, MAI was the incubator out of which grew Community Health Evangelism (CHE).
- Medical Ambassadors is the initiator and founding member of the Global CHE Network.
- Medical Ambassadors’ staff plays key roles in equipping and mentoring many organizations and mission agencies.
- Over 5,000 CHE lesson plans have been created and made available to others.
- MAI facilitates training seminars that are held around the world. Medical Ambassadors has field-tested and continues to adapt the CHE strategy in new and exciting ways.
- MAI developed Women’s Cycle of Life to address the needs of women globally.
- MAI created the CHE-based Men Matter curriculum to reach the needs of men.
- MAI field tested and produced a CHE program for the disabled.
- MAI will provide staff consultants to train around the world with various entities who want to start and grow a CHE program. Consultants have many years of field experience creating CHE programs.
In which countries do you work?
We are currently working ourselves or with other agencies in over 75 countries. For more information, please visit the Where We Work page. Some regions are not publicly disclosed for security reasons.
How does evangelism fit into what you do?
Jesus taught and demonstrated a life of service and self-sacrifice. He related to people with grace and truth. We seek to present Jesus as the Bible portrays Him. We cannot and do not compel belief. We do not require anyone to be or become a Christian in order to join a training or receive services. But we rejoice with individuals when they discover God loves them and sent His Son so they might find a personal relationship with Him.
Do you work with nationals in ministry?
Absolutely. We have a small paid leadership staff worldwide largely composed of nationals who work directly with communities/villages. These nationals speak the local languages and are knowledgeable of local customs and cultures. MAI’s focus is on equipping and empowering local people.
How much does it cost to change a community?
The cost varies by region, but on average a mature program requires $5,000 per year for three years with a declining investment needed afterwards. The cost may be for a national Master Trainer’s salary or travel expenses, but not for the community development activities. These are owned by the people of the community and implemented with local resources. A typical program impacts between 1000 and 4000 people in a concentrated geographic location.
How long has MAI been in operation?
MAI was founded in 1980. In the following years, our work has expanded to serve thousands of communities around the world.
Is MAI affiliated with any church or denomination?
MAI is a non-denominational Christian development organization. We are not formally associated with any particular church or denomination. See MAI’s Statement of Faith.
What is your connection with the Global CHE Network?
The Global CHE Network is a collaboration of many organizations that use the CHE strategy. MAI led in the initiation of the Global CHE Network (GCN) and is one of its founding members. MAI contributed many of the original lessons in the CHE curriculum database and continues to add to it along with other organizations. MAI is a leader among members of GCN in its willingness to provide field consultation to other groups by using our regional staff worldwide.
Why do you start with community health?
- It is often a critical element missing in impoverished communities.
- Prevention is the most effective approach to many (not all) health problems.
- Community health programs reduce the load on clinics and hospitals, allowing them to focus on more serious illnesses.
- A volunteer-based community health program empowers people to take responsibility for their own lives and the future of their community. It is highly complementary to broader development goals.
Why do you focus on teaching volunteers?
A volunteer-based, people-centered approach builds strong community leadership and enables them to take responsibility for their own improvement. This affects the total quality of their lives. Also, other villages can duplicate what they have seen because they only need teachable volunteers, rather than outside funding.
How do you measure impact?
In studies done by independent outside experts in the Congo, Cambodia, and the Philippines, we have seen dramatic reductions in infant mortality rates, and rates and incidence of malnutrition. We have also seen significant increases in local enterprises, people professing faith in Christ, and church growth. We are actively engaged in refining the methods and criteria used to measure impact.
What percentage of your contributions go to fundraising and administration costs?
In the most recent audited year (2018), our administration costs were approximately 17% and fundraising, 9%.
Do you receive government money?
We are supported by the voluntary contributions of individuals, churches, foundations, and businesses that desire to share this ministry of compassion in Christ’s name. It is our practice to refuse funding that would restrict our freedom to integrate the spiritual and physical dimensions of the Gospel in our work and/or the training we provide.
Can I get a job at MAI?
Full- or part-time missionary positions become available as needs grow in the field. Typically, nationals fill these roles. However, expatriate missionaries are also needed at times. If you are interested in serving with MAI, please send inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org. These positions are not salaried but require self-raised funding.
Do you have opportunities for short-term service?
Our primary focus is a process that takes time and expense for committed long-term workers. However, there are opportunities for short-term mission service by church teams and individuals supporting ongoing established field projects. Generally, you would come at the invitation of the local team. To learn more about our training specifically for short-term church mission trips visit our MAI Trainings page.
Where can I learn more about MAI?
Who is serving on the MAI Board of Directors?
Click here to view those currently serving on the MAI Board of Directors.
How are Community Health Evangelism (CHE) workers supported?
Local CHE volunteers are not paid. Many trainers are compensated only for their work expenses and volunteer their time. Master trainers who work full-time receive a salary on a par with a teacher in their area. Trainers live in poverty zones and are dedicated to their work. Your gifts make their work possible.
Do you believe community health education is sufficient in itself as an answer to people’s health needs?
No. We recognize there are acute illnesses that require curative care. Our efforts to establish community health programs are best understood as complementary to and supportive of clinics and hospitals.
Do you need medical professionals?
Yes. Many of our senior leadership are trained MDs, nurses, or Public Health professionals. If you are a medical professional interested in serving with MAI in the context of our emphasis on community health and wholistic development, we would love to talk with you. Email Erikal@med-amb.org.