Mission Opportunities for Occupational Therapists

  1. Share
0 0

Around the world, people experience physical and emotional trauma that leaves them hurting and helpless. And while doctors and nurses can provide a measure of healing, some patients need more. That’s where occupational therapists come in.

And that’s also why occupational therapy mission trips are a growing avenue for providing hope and help across the globe. People need the services and attention only occupational therapists can provide. And many medical mission organizations recognize the importance of providing these resources, especially in areas where they have been lacking in the past.


Occupational Therapy & Medical Missions

While it’s easy to lump them together, it’s important to understand the difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy. One helpful way to think about it is the difference between movement and adaptation. In general, physical therapy focuses on helping people move better. Meanwhile, occupational therapy gives individuals the skills to adapt when a health crisis makes what was once normal difficult or impossible.

Occupational therapy also focuses on the daily activities of life. Therapists teach patients how to relearn some of the basic skills that many take for granted, such as using a fork or spoon, buttoning a shirt, brushing their teeth, or driving a car. In addition, they can provide mental health services by sharing coping skills with individuals who may suffer from anxiety or disability.

Through occupational therapy mission trips, professionals have the opportunity to use their knowledge and skill for a higher purpose. Occupational therapists can be the hands and feet of Jesus uniquely, touching the lives of people who struggle just to make it through each day. 


Organizations that Sponsor Occupational Therapy Mission Trips

More and more medical mission groups are creating opportunities for short-term occupational therapy mission trips. The list below identifies three agencies that sponsor mission trips for occupational therapists. This is not an exhaustive list; for more great organizations for occupational therapy, check out this organization board.


Christian Physical Rehab Professionals.

Part of a larger network called Christian Medical and Dental Associates (CMDA), Christian Physical Rehab Professionals emphasizes the work of occupational and physical therapists who strive to integrate their faith and their calling. Through a short-term mission emphasis called Global Health Outreach, occupational therapists can choose from dozens of opportunities in a variety of locations. 


Mission of Hope.

Focusing on ministry that touches the whole person, Mission of Hope offers occupational therapy mission trips in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The agency’s mission involves meeting basic human needs, which include medical care and therapy. Occupational therapists work on projects within the organization’s network of local partner churches, so missionaries are supporting ongoing work.


Medical Ministry International.

Based in Canada, Medical Ministry International encourages applicants from anywhere. The agency’s trips typically last a week or two and focus on underserved communities. These groups living on the fringe of society struggle with the availability of medical resources, including occupational therapy. What’s more, a lack of education means they may not even understand why such health care attention is important. 



Your gifts and God’s glory

If you’re an occupational therapist with a heart for missions, you may consider medical missions as a career. If so, a job board with medical missions opportunities would be a great place to start your search. You also may consider a short-term occupational therapy mission trip to better understand what’s available and where God might be moving you.

Even if you aren’t looking for a career position, mission trips for occupational therapists can give you the chance to make a massive difference in the lives of so many people in some of the most desperate settings in the world. Even more, it can transform your life forever.

Incredible things can happen when you use your gifts for God’s glory. And a short-term occupational therapy mission trip could give you a front-row seat to His work in the world.


Discover Medical Missions.

Medical Missions serves to connect your professional skills and biblical calling to the largest database of healthcare mission organizations, professionals, and thought leadership. Join us at the Global Missions Health Conference to find your Medical Missions calling. Or, browse our full list of partner organizations to find the right mission for you.


Community tags

This content has 0 tags that match your profile.

Areas of the World Show all (206)


To leave a comment, login or sign up.

Related Content

7 Unique Mission Trip Gift Ideas
Mission trips change lives. Whether it's a few days or a few weeks, time invested on a foreign field can increase your faith and give you a heart for missions that lasts a lifetime. Even if you can't go yourself, you can encourage others with some thoughtful mission trip gift ideas. After all, mission trips mean leaving what's comfortable and normal. But while flexibility is the first rule of missions, you can make sure some of the basics are covered.     7 Mission Trip Gift Ideas It's awesome to consider the needs of missionaries. And sending a care package to someone who's serving on a foreign field is absolutely awesome! Of course, a lot of missionary needs will depend on the length and location of the journey. Spend time doing some research and talking with your missionary about what needs might come up. That also might help you avoid getting a mission trip gift that won't work at all. Having said that, a few go-to items stand out on most lists of mission trip gift ideas. Below, we've listed seven possibilities. None of them are fancy, and most can be found in minutes through a simple online search. But they all will enhance the experience—and faith—of your missionary! 1. Journal. One of the greatest ways to make a mission trip "stick" is to record the events and experiences as they happen. That makes a journal a great mission trip gift idea. Whether used as a daily diary or to reflect on spiritual milestones, a journal can keep the most important parts of the trip alive long after your missionary is back home. (Tip: Add a pack of nice pens or highlighters to the gift!)   2. Electrical adapters. It's no secret that most of the world delivers power differently than the United States. That makes adapters and converters a must. They'll need something to keep their cell phones, computers, and other electronics up and running. It's an extremely practical mission trip gift and one that your missionary—especially a first-time international traveler—will find invaluable.    3. A book about the nation they are visiting. Honestly, your missionary might already know a lot about their host nation. They may even have a heart for that particular culture or people group. But it also helps to know more about their destination. Plus, it reveals shows humility to keep learning.    4. Encouraging notes. This is an inexpensive mission trip gift idea, but its value cannot be overstated. Write a note for each day that your missionary will be gone, and place each note in a different envelope. That way, they will have a touchpoint from home every day of the trip. If the short-term trip involves weeks instead days, just write enough for one or two per week. (Tip: Make sure to include plenty of encouraging Bible verses to provide a lift on days that are tough.)   5. A backpack with supplies. Every world traveler needs a backpack, so that makes it a great mission trip gift. But you can go the extra mile by including some special items. On the practical side, you could pack a flashlight or a first aid kit. You could also add a water bottle with a built-in purifying system. But, most importantly, don't forget to include some of your missionary's favorite snacks and candy!   6. A foreign-language dictionary. Career missionaries take language classes to get ready for their assignment. While your short-term missionary won't have that kind of time or training, they can take advantage of a dictionary that helps them communicate with locals on the field. You can even highlight some of the most common phrases they'll need to know, like "thank you" and "good morning."   7. Something to leave behind. While your missionary may want to return with some souvenirs, it could also be great to leave something behind. This is especially true if they are living with a local family during the trip. It doesn't have to be fancy—maybe a game or a book or a toy—but it can open doors and make a lasting impression on the folks they are helping. It's a simple way to say "thank you" and to show love in Jesus's name.   Give the power of prayer Before He went back to heaven, Jesus commanded His followers to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). You can do that in three basic ways. First, you can go on a trip yourself. That would be a great opportunity to be Jesus's hands and feet, and it could help you see your faith differently even after you get home. Second, you can give. That could include financial support or words of encouragement to someone else on the field—like your short-term missionary. The mission trip gift ideas listed above are a piece of that puzzle! Beyond those, you can pray—and that may be the greatest tool in your mission's toolbox. Along with your mission trip gifts, promise to pray daily for your missionary while they're gone—and follow through on that promise. They will need it, and it can be a blessing to you as well. Prayer is something everyone can do, so make sure to give that gift to your short-term missionary.   Discover Medical Missions. Medical Missions serves to connect your professional skills and biblical calling to the largest database of healthcare mission organizations, professionals, and thought leadership. Join us at the Global Missions Health Conference to find your Medical Missions calling. Or, browse our full list of partner organizations to find the right mission for you.
Medical Mission Trip Packing List - How to Create Yours
Packing for any trip is important. Whether it’s an overnight stay with relatives or an extended vacation overseas, having what you need makes all the difference in the world. Discovering something you left behind can put a damper on the entire experience. So, you can imagine why a medical missions trip packing list can be your best friend. You might be a veteran traveler or a rookie on your first mission adventure. You might be a natural list-maker or someone who’s not always that organized. Whatever your experience or personality, a medical mission trip packing list can spell the difference between an effective project and a journey that’s memorable for all the wrong reasons.   Do your research ahead of time The first step in creating a packing list for a medical mission trip is to do some research. Medical mission opportunities can take on a variety of forms. You might be going for a couple of weeks, or you could be pursuing a career in an international field. The length of your trip and your assignment will have an impact on your mission trip packing list. Likewise, the location and timing of your trip is a factor. You need to familiarize yourself with the cultures you’ll be visiting and with how the seasons play out in that nation. You don’t want to accidently do something or wear something offensive, and you don’t want to get caught unprepared for cold, heat, or a rainy season.  You’ll also need to think through baggage restrictions. You can’t take everything, so you’ve got to figure out what matters most. That includes deciding what needs to be in your checked bag and what needs to go in your carry-on. For example, if your luggage gets lost for a couple of days, you’ll be glad you added an extra outfit and your prescription medications to your carry-on bag.   Creating your medical missions packing list The group or agency you’re traveling with can answer a lot of your packing questions for your specific mission application. And there are some great websites hosted by both ministries and medical organizations that provide experience-based suggestions. But, in the end, what goes on your medical missions trip packing list is up to you.  In the list below, we’ve focused on some basics you'll need to consider before you take off on your first trip. While the list isn’t exhaustive, it will prime the pump as you think about what you’ll be doing and what you’ll need on your medical missions trip. Some of the items are general to any mission experience, while others are specific to medical missions. But all of them will help you be at your best as you become Jesus’s hands and feet to a world in need. Travel documents. It might seem like a no-brainer to include things like your passport, visa, airline tickets, and photo identification on a medical missions trip packing list. But the truth is, you’re not going anywhere or helping anyone without them. This category also includes things you might not think of, such as your travel itinerary, insurance information, and a list of important phone numbers. Many mission trip veterans suggest keeping copies of these documents on a phone and in baggage.   Chargers and adapters. Most countries around the world don’t process electricity like the United States. That means you need to secure adapters for your electronics. For chargers, solar or battery power might be best depending on where you’ll be and how long you’ll be there. Again, researching what’s available will help ensure that you don’t run out of power on the trip.   Comfort items. In truth, “comfort” can also mean “functional.” These are the packing list items that will protect your health and allow you to carry out the normal routines of your mission project. For example, you’ll need a filtered water bottle or some water purification tablets in many countries. Backpacks (preferably waterproof) are essential, as are sleeping sheets or a sleeping bag. Hand sanitizer and baby wipes can keep you fresh, while a language dictionary can help you communicate with locals.   Appropriate clothing. Again, putting clothes on your medical missions trip packing list might seem obvious; but, as a medical missionary, you have to take extra care to balance comfort with cultural expectations. In many areas, scrubs and pants would be fine; but in other cultures, long skirts are less offensive. Since medical missionaries spend a lot of time on their feet, comfortable shoes are also vital.   Medical supplies. Some of these items are personal to you, like your stethoscope, your gloves, and your N-95 masks. Other things are simply useful in the field, like a first aid kit, a headlamp, or goggles/safety glasses. You also may be asked to carry medicines and drugs for the project in your luggage. Ask about this ahead of time and make sure you leave room in your bags—without going over an airline’s weight limit.   Personal items. Many online lists encourage you to bring some reading material to help pass the time on the trip and during any “down” times in your project schedule. Of course, cameras are important for recording memories and even sending updates to supporters back home. You also may want to bring a journal and some pens so you can put your thoughts and experiences down on paper. Nothing helps you keep the lessons from a mission trip alive better than reviewing what you’ve written after you get home.   Gifts. These don’t have to be fancy or expensive. And they certainly don’t need to take up much space. But leaving a little piece of yourself behind will make a difference in the lives of the people you help, especially children.   Add some intangibles to your list Admittedly, your medical missions trip packing list is primarily designed to make sure you don’t forget some tangible items. Again, you don’t want to find out something important is still sitting on your nightstand once you’ve landed in the country. But it’s also important to “pack” some important intangibles for your trip. Character qualities like faith, humility, and flexibility are keys to any mission's endeavor. In fact, they are often more important than physical items on your mission's packing list. They will carry you through the tough times and make your work more effective for God’s glory. So, as you’re creating the packing list for your medical missions trip, don’t forget to focus on who you are, along with what you’ll need.     Discover Medical Missions. Medical Missions serves to connect your professional skills and biblical calling to the largest database of healthcare mission organizations, professionals, and thought leadership. Join us at the Global Missions Health Conference to find your Medical Missions calling. Or, browse our full list of partner organizations to find the right mission for you.