One way that you can assure success of your Medical Mission is by careful, deliberate planning. Nothing can replace this. It is vital for the group, for the success of the mission, and for those souls we are trying to reach, that we plan every detail that is possible.
In truth, there will be times when all the planning in the world will not get us ready for some of the "surprises" that this type of work offers. But sometimes, the careful planning will "head off" the surprises, and keep them from shutting us down in the process.
Here you will find a calendar of events to help you in your planning of this Medical Mission. For the most part, if you follow it carefully, you will eliminate about 80% of the stress and bother of putting a team together. Following the calendar, along with delegating responsibility of the group, will make the job easier for everyone. In fact, it will share the load so well that the chance of burn out, or of burning up an individual, will be greatly diminished.
Use this calendar as a guide. It will help you in more ways than you can imagine. It will keep deadlines from sneaking up on you and will serve as a guide to make your journey as streamlined as possible.
TWELVE MONTHS BEFORE THE CLINIC
Start "planting seeds" of thought in the minds of people you want to come along. A year ahead of time gives many people a chance to get used to the idea, to talk to others who have been, and to think of how they can accomplish the goal of coming.
Be very aggressive with your Medical Personnel as early as possible. Start by trying to recruit Doctors, Dentists, Eye Specialists, and others in medical fields. This is of extreme importance if the Clinic is to be properly staffed.
TEN MONTHS BEFORE THE CLINIC
Set the tentative date. Any dates that we are holding will be released on October 1st. If you want your date from the year before, please set it before this time.
Try to appoint your committee of co-workers.
Take a look at where you are with medical workers. Spread the word around your Medical Workers for the year before that you need additional help. Talk to them personally ... they may know of someone.
SEVEN TO EIGHT MONTHS BEFORE THE CLINIC
Start publicly announcing the date of the clinic in your church bulletin and from the pulpit. This date needs to be in a place where everyone can see it.
Have a Meeting of all who are interested in going or participating in the Medical Mission in any way. Encourage anyone who may be remotely interested to come to the first meeting.
At the first meeting:
Talk about what has been done in the past in Guyana, both with your team and with Operation Guyana. (You can get this info off of our Web site.)
Talk about our possible locations of service in Guyana. And talk about possible areas of service that your team can be a part of.
Have people who have been before to give a report of what the trip meant to them.
Have an Operation Guyana representative present to talk about the organization and to answer any questions.
Pass out fact sheets on Guyana. (Get this from our Web site.)
Pass out copies of fund-raising letters with recommendations on how to raise the funds. (Web site.)
Introduce your Clinic Committee and explain who will have what responsibility.
Discuss how many Medical Personnel and how many Personal Workers are presently recruited and still needed.
SIX MONTHS BEFORE THE CLINIC
Have your money collected for the formulary that we will have delivered to the clinic in Guyana. This is $50 per person and should be handed in by January 1st.
Start collecting in earnest those medications that are not in our formulary.
Write letters to drug companies and drug representatives.
Set up a place to store and sort the drugs and supplies.
Set up a place in your home congregation to collect children's vitamins, cold medication, and other over-the-counter medications.
Start collecting money from team members.
Call a meeting with people who have signed up.
Make sure everyone has their passport or a passport application.
Set a deposit fee and start encouraging as many as possible to cover their deposit.
Start working with Partners In Progress on airline reservations. (The earlier, the cheaper the tickets are.)
By this time, you should know what the airfare from your point of departure to Miami is, and Partners In Progress should know the cost of the rest of the Medical Mission. Partners In Progress' fee covers the costs from Miami, back to Miami. The only extra expense will be lunch on Sunday, cokes and other snacks at the hotel, and possibly lunch on Saturday (depending on what you do on your day off).
FIVE MONTHS BEFORE THE CLINIC
Have a Team Committee meeting to try and head off any potential problems. Get reports from leaders. This is VERY, VERY IMPORTANT. Your Team Committee can keep things from getting away from you.
FOUR MONTHS BEFORE THE CLINIC
Have a Team Committee meeting to discuss possible problems and solutions.
Call a team meeting. Get reports on:
Drugs and Medical Supplies still needed.
Medical Personnel and Personal Work Personnel still needed.
Funding totals for each person going.
Announce that starting next month, that you will have weekly meetings on Wednesday nights (or some other night if needed) to prepare for the trip. Anyone teaching a Wednesday night class should make arrangements to have a substitute until the trip is over. Stress the importance of these meetings with everyone on the team. Encourage everyone to be present. Teams that do this have a very high success rate every time they come.
Decide what personal work approach you are going to use as a team before this meeting and give everyone on the team a copy of the approach to be used. This gives everyone a chance to become familiar with the approach and get comfortable with it.
By this time, you should decide if you are going to have people take a day off in Guyana or in the Caribbean. If you do this, EVERYONE on the team must leave Guyana at the same time--EVERYONE. We cannot make two and three trips to the airport to get people in and out of the country.
Remember, too, if you stopover somewhere, the cost is about $100 extra. ($60.00 BWIA stopover fee, $30.00 airport transfer, $20 exit tax.) PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU ARE READY FOR THIS.
THREE MONTHS BEFORE THE CLINIC
Have a Wednesday night class for the team starting now. At these classes, talk about such things as:
Money that is needed. Post a chart or graph showing who needs what. This really helps everyone to know who needs help and assistance. It also encourages everyone to do the most they can to get their funding in.
Approaching Deposit and Passport Deadlines.
Discuss Guyana culture, facts, and the various religions they will find.
Have time set aside to go through the Personal Work Method and Role Play teachers and students.
Pray about the success of the clinic. Pray for friends and families left behind. Pray for those who will be taught. Pray for our brethren at the church where the clinic will be.
TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE CLINIC
Have a team committee meeting to discuss problems, last minute needs. Don't leave anything undiscussed.
Prepare to send the $200 Deposit per person to Partners In Progress, if it hasn't been done already.
Collect photocopies of credentials for all team physicians and dentists. Partners In Progress needs (by mid-April, preferably) clear copies of (1) medical or dental school diploma, (2) current license to practice, and (3) completed Medical Council of Guyana registration form for each physician and dentist. (Medical Council form is at our web-site at www.guyana-missions.org/medicalcouncilform.htm)
60 DAYS BEFORE DEPARTURE
$200 deposit per person MUST be in the Partners In Progress office (P.O. Box 13989, Maumelle, AR 72113) by this date. DO NOT BE LATE. We cannot hold on to plane reservations beyond this date. Last year, Partners In Progress sent over 300 people to Guyana alone. We cannot "float" a group's expenses, because by this time that would be several hundred thousand dollars. Please make sure the deposits and payments are in on time.
Schedule "Pill Packing Parties." Get everyone on the team to participate and encourage others in the congregation to participate, too. This is a great time of fellowship and really helps the team to forge a relationship with each other.
45 DAYS BEFORE DEPARTURE
Balance due to Partners In Progress today. This deadline MUST also be adhered to strictly. If your money has not arrived at our office by today, we will have no choice but to cancel reservations. As badly as we want you to go, we must pay airlines, hotels, and other expenses fully by this date. We cannot do that unless your group's money is turned in to us.
ONE MONTH BEFORE THE CLINIC
Call special meeting of mission team. Make this a prayer session and share session. Pray for God's blessing and give those in the group who have been before a chance to share stories and experiences or Bible verses that have encouraged them. Make this a Spiritual Meeting.
Make sure that all drugs and medical supplies are secured. Anything additional that you need must be ordered by now.
Make sure you have Clinic Numbers and Clinic Registration Forms for your group.
Make sure you have other things you may need: ropes, sheets, tarps, hammers, medicine bottles, and anything else you can possibly think of ... remember, we won’t have a Wal-Mart close by.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE CLINIC
By this time the pharmacy should be fully packed and set up for transport.
All passports should be in.
Name tags should be made for each team member.
Final meeting of the team to discuss the time to meet at the airport.
Answer final questions and then spend the next two weeks glad that everything is set up and "put to bed." Now relax and get ready for a great Clinic that will bring glory to God.
Send an email to Steve DeLoach at email@example.com telling him what date you will be arriving, what time your plane should land, how many are on the team, and the completed rooming list of the team. This information MUST be sent to Steve via email TWO WEEKS before you arrive.
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