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.
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.
Medical Ambassadors International is equipping communities through Christ-centered health and development