President’s Annual Report
Dear Supporters and Friends,
As an organization Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) has a presence around the globe, operating in 40 countries directly and in many others through partnerships with nearly 50,000 CHE (Community Health Evangelism) volunteers.
One of my greatest focuses as the new leader of MAI is that we continue strong in promoting our core strategy to share the Good News of the gospel by proclaiming it through word and deed, thus ensuring it continues to multiply and spread.
MAI’s approach is Simple, Biblical, Replicable and Transformational. In many places around the world it has already become a self-propagated movement that has been growing so fast it is hard to keep track of its growth! MAI’s approach is based on the admonishment the apostle Paul passed on to Timothy, the “son” he mentored, in 2 Timothy 2:2, namely, to faithfully pass on the things he had learned from Paul to other faithful disciples who could then do likewise to those they were mentoring. This is the core strength of MAI—this replication—and it is why we have been able to have such a wide global impact with a small budget of $2.7 million annually.
While the work globally has been growing with regularity, ongoing training continues in all the regions:
• CHE training has become part of the curriculum in some of the Christian universities in the field. In the past year alone, universities in Uganda have made it part of the degree transcript, which means degree-linked exams will be conducted for knowledge and competency.
• The Internship Centers are also emerging well with the ones in Philippines, Kenya, Ghana, and the virtual location for South America becoming even more effective. We plan to develop this to provide university-level courses for CHE to train Christian leaders in strategic planning for implementing CHE at the national level. Some of our senior Regional Coordinators will be responsible for oversight of the program.
• Specialized vertical segment-specific programs are emerging to address specific needs or themes. For MAI these include Women’s Cycle of Life (WCL), Children’s CHE, CHE and Disability, BLISS, Men Matter, and First 1000 Days. This natural progression of specialized programs with supporting champions is yet another indication that the Holy Spirit is laying a burden on the hearts of those pioneering them. We expect to see even more areas of specialization in the future as we continue to lay the foundation of CHE.
The past year has been one of a successful leadership transition. In taking over from Dr. John Payne, I have been appreciative of the role he has played in leading MAI through one of its most difficult periods. We are now in a position to start growing our funding levels. This will help as we focus on the creative access countries, but also on the 10/40 window.
One of the greatest weaknesses of MAI is low name recognition. While MAI was the organization that developed and incubated the CHE methodology, others who have received it from MAI, have taken it and are better known for it. The year ahead will therefore focus a great deal on brand recognition, organizational positioning especially in relation to churches and foundations in the US. There is much MAI has to offer the church in the US. A new fund-raising drive will be initiated to take MAI’s annual budget closer to three million to broaden our reach globally.
We are a learning organization that values each team member over whom God has given us stewardship. As we continue to follow the Lord, we will seek His face and ask that He opens our eyes to see what He is doing and partner with Him in the expansion of His kingdom!
Dr. Ravi I. Jayakaran
Medical Ambassadors International
We are a learning organization that values each team member over whom God has given us stewardship. -Dr. Ravi Jayakaran
MAI: The History
At Medical Ambassadors International we build relationships with the world’s most vulnerable people and together we work to heal communities both physically and spiritually.
In 1975, as South Vietnam was falling, a man name Dr. Raymond Benson was on the last airlift from the roof of the American Embassy.
Dr. Benson’s vision was for Christian medical professionals to establish clinics around the world. His hope was to heal people both physically and spiritually. Out of that desire, Medical Ambassadors was formed.
While Dr. Benson was correct in his assessment of the physical and spiritual needs of people around the world, he did not anticipate that the same people would keep coming back to the clinic with the same preventable illnesses. It became clear that this clinic-based model was not sustainable. In fact, we were creating a culture of dependency within the communities we were trying to help.
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In light of this, Medical Ambassadors transitioned to a new model. Instead of going into a community and giving free care, we entered bringing only questions.
Instead of giving the communities what we thought they needed, we asked local leaders, “What do you need to be happy and healthy?” We let their answers guide our focus and started developing lessons on those topics. In time, the available lessons included far more than only health topics. Depending on what the local leaders determined their communities needed, there were teachings on how to work together and solve problems, teachings on agriculture, literacy, family relationships, micro-enterprise, coping with disability, and more.
The genius of this approach was that the education could be replicated at the grassroots level, neighbor to neighbor. Instructors teach learners who become instructors who teach learners who become instructors who teach learners—well, you get the idea.
Certainly, there were still physical needs requiring professional medical attention—clinics and hospitals continue to be essential. However, 70-80 percent of people in these clinic lines could now be helped at the community level.
This development model became known as Community Health Evangelism (CHE). Evangelism…because seamlessly woven into the lessons of health are basic biblical truths: You can be clean on the inside as well as the outside. You have great value because you are wonderfully and beautifully made by God.
We are proud to be a work in progress. We are committed to learning from the communities we work with and listening to God. We deeply desire to align ourselves with his plan and power.[/read]
Medical Ambassadors International is equipping communities through Christ-centered health and development
Global Reach Report
East Africa: In Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia, there are a total of 469 communities seeing transformational development through CHE. These communities have developed their own committees and mobilized over 7000 community volunteers, 681 people have made decisions to follow Jesus, 11 new churches have been planted, and five Bible schools have adopted CHE. The Church of Uganda has adopted CHE as a central ministry focus which resulted in churches in 33 districts of the country learning to share God’s love in their communities by helping their neighbors.
In the Wolaita region of Ethiopia, Holistic Ambassadors Ethiopia Ministry partnered with the Kale Heywet Church, the largest evangelical denomination in the country, to train 150 couples in family CHE. One elderly man said: “I have been in this church for all my life, but I never heard such a lesson that touches all areas of life.”
South America/Caribbean: The Caribbean was hit hard in 2017 by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. CHE communities with partner organizations in Haiti, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic responded by helping neighbors prepare for the potential destruction and by working together to clean up and rebuild.
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CHE communities in Haiti continue to develop the 1000 Days program focusing on good nutrition for mother and child from the point of conception through the second year of life. Children in these particular communities will be monitored to see how effectively the community is working to reduce malnutrition, anemia, and common problems like diarrhea, pulmonary infections, and tooth decay.
Teams working with indigenous cultures in South America are learning to adapt traditional CHE training methods to orality which is more relevant to these groups, who pass on history through oral traditions and are oral learners. We have seen a large breakthrough in engaging some indigenous communities that have not been open to Westerners.
Southeast Asia/West Pacific: In the Philippines, Holistic Community Development and Initiatives(HCDI), an MAI partner, is addressing a national drug crisis that has turned into a war on drugs. HCDI is developing a proposal to help communities address substance abuse in a holistic way through CHE.
In the Philippines, there are currently 37 villages actively using CHE. These villages have mobilized 245 volunteer committee members, 306 community health and home volunteers, and 12 volunteer trainers. Nearly 600 people made new decisions to follow Jesus in the past year.
West Africa: In Cape Verde, a team led by S began engaging unemployed youth who had dropped out of school. They began to visit homes, learn about healthy living, and how to care for their environment. Today, they work with parents who care for 12 disabled children, help clean neighborhood streets, and help neighbors build latrines in their homes. This group was recognized with an award from the government and designated one of the best groups working to change the face of the nation.
The Anglican Communion in Akure, Nigeria, has adopted CHE to strengthen churches. It has set a goal to establish and equip churches in over 100 parishes over the next 10 years. Nurses Christian Fellowship of Nigeria has also adopted CHE as a strategy for its HIV prevention program for the country.
The Central African Republic has been a country devastated by war and religious and political conflict for nearly a decade. A coalition of churches invited MAI to help assist war victims with the first micro-enterprise training in 2015. This was followed by a second training in 2016 with the same group of women. Since then over 50 SAIL (Savings And Internal Lending) groups have been transformed across churches. Each group establishes its own policies and goals using common guiding principles. They are now sharing their stories and training to encourage other women.
South Asia: In a large Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim community, a local team trained in CHE has been working with villages through children’s clubs. Children’s CHE teaches about a child’s value to God and how they can serve their families and communities even at an early age. Youth learn about health and hygiene, develop creativity through games and stories, and work together to problem solve. This fosters an openness in parents to learn about holistic development as they see the value for their own families and community.
NCAN: In a Middle Eastern country, one team has been invited to bring holistic development lessons into all the public schools of their district. Students learn about character, loving their neighbors and forgiveness in addition to health lessons. Parents are encouraged to get involved with their children’s education, and this has led to increased opportunities to engage the entire family.
In an Asian country, house churches and non-government development organizations are being equipped with CHE as a way to serve their neighbors. One leader of an organization, which had been “black listed” by the government for “proselytizing,” is now welcomed by the local government authorities and community after they learned how his group served the community by addressing its priority needs and issues in a practical way.
Central Africa: The Democratic Republic of Congo has grown to be the country with the most communities engaged in CHE ministries with over 900 village committees formed. However, political turmoil continues to trigger violence, and despite tremendous loss in many villages, families involved with CHE have recognized the need for forgiveness, peace and reconciliation and seek to respond to violence with love.
A Story from Africa
L is a respected leader and coordinator of CHE in a country with significant political conflict. When the government attempted to restore order by bringing in soldiers, it confiscated L’s house, motorcycle, and belongings and established a headquarters on his land. To protect themselves, L and his family fled to the forest and lived there for two months. L has now been able to return to his community and is in the process of rebuilding. He continues to train and mobilize villages through CHE training that helps address the need for forgiveness and reconciliation.
Morning to morning…This morning a hymn brought to mind a picture of the partnership God has with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI), and His ongoing faithfulness to provide for ongoing ministry needs. A truer statement would be hard to find.
New mercies I see…new president, new donors, new employees, new volunteers, new partnerships, new networks, new affiliations, all provided by our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. All moving MAI forward with new vision and new strategies, and ultimately to result in more donors, more volunteers, more trainers, more programs, and many more people’s lives transformed worldwide.
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All I have needed thy hands have provided…Praise to God for His provisions of $2.57 million in 2016 through your generous gifts, in order to fund our field ministry and programs with $2.04 million. This provides ministry oversight, program training and materials, support and travel funds for the eight Regional Coordinators who oversee and lead programs in eight large regions, many Area Coordinators and Country Directors, and numerous master trainers. It also provides program materials for worldwide family, women, and health programs. It is amazing how much can be done when our faithful God directs our efforts.