Frequently Asked Questions

Trip Application

How is Medical Missions Outreach different from other organizations of its type?
Medical Missions Outreach partners with local New Testament churches in developing countries to provide quality care as an outreach to the community in an effort to share the gospel and make an eternal impact on our patients. The local pastor or missionary, along with his church people, shares the gospel with each patient who comes through the clinic. Then long after our team is gone, the patients will have the opportunity to seek prayer and counsel for their spiritual needs and will have support and feel love from that pastor, missionary, and church people who live and work right in their own community.
How can nursing/medical students benefit from taking a trip?

We love having students along on our trips, and value the opportunity to encourage future healthcare providers to consider their contribution to global healthcare. We will make every effort to put students on a rotation schedule through different clinic stations, depending upon team size and the types of clinics available. These stations may include triage, lab, pharmacy, and assisting a provider.

Though we primarily serve in developing countries, we do maintain the same ethical standards by which we abide in the States. Please do not expect to perform skills or procedures that would not be within your scope of practice as a student. We will have licensed medical professionals available to help you learn, but we are careful to protect our patients, our providers, and the testimonies of Medical Missions Outreach and the local church with whom we will be working.

Although we want to teach and we want the student to have a rich learning experience, our primary goal is to serve a large number of patients so that they can hear the gospel. We will endeavor to teach as much as we can, time permitting.

As a non-medical volunteer, how can I contribute to clinic?
You will probably be surprised by how much you can contribute to clinic even as a non-medical volunteer! There are some very important tasks that we can quickly train you to do, enabling our providers to see more patients. You might be asked to help escort patients, assist in triage, stock and organize supplies for lab and pharmacy, or pull glasses for our vision team. We will send out your clinic assignment before the trip, and we will give further details during team orientation. You’re going to love serving with MMO!
Do I have to have my passport to apply for a trip?
No, you can apply even before you receive your passport. Normal processing time is 4-6 weeks, so it is best to begin the process as soon as you apply for a trip. Once your passport is issued, log back in to your account to update your travel profile. We will need your passport number when we make travel arrangements and procure permissions (for providers) for our clinic in the destination country, a process that occurs months ahead of your trip.
What happens after I submit my application?
We will carefully look over your application to determine your area of service; and, if there is availability on the team you requested, we will process it. This can take up to one business day. The deposit will not be charged to your card until the application has been processed. Upon approval, we will send you an email with further information.
I am unable to travel at this time; how can I contribute?
We understand that many who are committed to reaching the hurting with quality healthcare and the gospel of Jesus Christ are not in a position to make a trip. You can be a great blessing to our ministry by donating supplies, giving toward a need, and, above all, by praying. Please visit https://medical-outreach.com/what-we-need/ for more details.
What is the minimum age to take a trip with MMO?
Team members must be 18 to travel unaccompanied, but we love to have families join us! If your older children are able to work alongside you in clinic under your supervision, it can be a wonderful way to serve together. Please be advised that the days are long and the work is tough; parents should use discretion when deciding whether their children would be capable of working in clinic.
Do I have to be a Christian to take a trip with MMO?
No, we do not require you to be of like faith to join our trips, but we do ask that you be willing to follow our trip guidelines and comply with our organization’s directives that reflect our Christian values. If your personal beliefs would keep you from doing so, you will probably want to consider another organization.
Will I personally be sharing the gospel on this trip?

Our practice is to allow the missionary, pastor, and host church to coordinate the concentrated evangelization efforts on each brigade for several reasons. First, we want to our patients to make personal connections with the church in their community. Second, we want to make it clear to our patients that the healthcare we offer them is completely free of charge and obligation.

That being said, the Lord does give opportunities for our team members to share the gospel. There have been occasions in which our translators or other people in the community trust Christ because of the testimony of our team members. We love for you to share what the Lord is doing in your heart with those we’ll meet.

How do I know which trip is best for me?
On our trip page (https://medical-outreach.com/where-we-go/), you’ll see a box called Trip Details. Click on the + to find out more information about each location. In some cases, you can do an internet search with the missionary’s name to find information about their ministry. If you have specific questions about particular trips, please email our administrator: christine@medical-outreach.com.
How does MMO handle safety concerns that come with international travel?
MMO has worked hard to establish many policies and safeguards to help ensure a smooth and uneventful trip because our team’s safety and security is always priority. We monitor political situations, research the areas we’ll visit, and make careful arrangements to make sure that we put no one at unnecessary risk. There are safeguards that we put into place as an organization and directives we ask team members to follow to ensure safety. While we want you to feel safe on your trip, of course, we cannot guarantee anyone’s safety. There are inherent risks to travel and participating on mission teams.  But that being said, we go places where we have a relationship with a missionary who lives and works in that community on a daily basis and will help make us aware of any concerns that arise. We go places that are family friendly, where we feel safe, where we have long-standing relationships in most cases. Additionally, we register our entire team in the US State Department’s STEP Program, a service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals to enroll their international trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Trip Costs

What does the trip cost cover/not cover?

Covered by your trip payment:

  • Airfare from and to your major preferred airport (or as close as we can get to it!)
  • Lodging
  • Three meals per day
  • In-country transportation (may be an in-country flight, depending upon the destination)
  • Clinic supplies and medications for our patients
  • Costs associated with clinic set up
  • Your Welcome Packet

NOT covered by your trip payment:

  • Passport fees
  • Visa fees
  • Vaccinations and travel medications
  • Your personal clinic supplies (for providers/students only): gloves, disinfectant wipes, BP cuff, stethoscope, otoscope, hand sanitizer, etc.
  • In-transit expenses: meals in airports, lodging in the event of a delay (see Travel Insurance), etc.
  • Travel insurance
How can I raise funds for my trip?
Once you have been accepted and your deposit is processed, you will be able to log in to your account and set up a fundraising page for your remaining trip balance. You will be able to personalize this page and publish it to social media, send through email, etc. Your donors can use this link to donate directly to your trip. It’s easy and very helpful! Just pay close attention to your fundraising deadline!
If my fundraising exceeds the cost of my trip, where does the money go?
We ask that you carefully communicate your fundraising progress and deadline to your donors. Should any funds be received after your balance has been paid and/or the deadline has passed, the funds will be used toward the overall costs of the clinic. We appreciate any funds given that will help us extend our pharmacy capabilities for the patients we will see.
Why do you require a non-refundable deposit?
By submitting an application to Medical Missions Outreach, you are committing to travel with us. We purchase our airline tickets through group contracts months in advance (in order to keep costs as low as possible) and your deposit enables us to secure the group contract. Should a team member back out of a trip, the deposit protects our ministry from facing penalties the airline will charge us for cancellation.
Why must I pay the entire balance if I cancel my trip within 90 days of departure?
In order to secure a large number of seats on our flights, MMO needs to make airline arrangements well in advance. Because we want as many people as possible to be able to take a mission trip, MMO operates on a very tight budget, keeping the costs at a minimum. Therefore, we are not capable of covering the loss incurred when someone backs out of a mission. We thank you for understanding this desire to protect our ministry and operate in wisdom.
What if I have to cancel due to a family emergency right before the trip?
Although your trip cost is not refundable after the 90-day deadline, please call us immediately to let us know of any emergency situation, and we’ll do our best to work with the airline to change your ticket (fees may apply). Typically you will be allowed to choose another trip within 1 year of your original trip’s date once you have paid any corresponding fees charged by the airline to change the ticket.
Why do you require me to consent to have my credit card charged for any remaining balance 45 days before departure?
MMO must be able to pay the airlines for the tickets we purchase. If team members have delinquent accounts, our organization will not be able to pay our bills on time. We thank you for making your payment within the timeframe set forth in our financial policy.
How can my friends, church, or small group help?
Besides donating to your page to help with your remaining balance before the 45-day mark, your donors can help us extend the capabilities of our clinic by sponsoring a suitcase of OTC meds! This option is available to team members NOT traveling out of BWI or PHL. Simply go to https://medical-outreach.com/product/vitaminsotc-medicines-package/; this donation is two-part. You are paying to have the package shipped to you and then paying any additional baggage fees the airline may charge (will vary depending upon your final destination). This is a great way to get more vitamins and common OTC meds into the hands of our patients and make sure we do not run out!
Can I get rewards points for my airline ticket?
Absolutely! Just be sure that when you sign up for a trip you include your rewards number under your travel profile. We typically fly Delta, and we can make sure you are credited when we ticket. If you forget or don’t have a number in time, you can always call Delta and have them apply the credit by giving them your confirmation number (even after the trip!).
I prefer not to use my credit card; can I still sign up for a trip?

Yes, you may! But in order to secure your spot, you need to call our offices and make us aware of your method of payment. If you do not want your credit card charged, you will need to pay for your trip in full in order to secure your spot. Once we have your payment (check can be mailed), we will process your application and waive the deposit.

**Note: The host site requires that a credit card number be entered in order to submit an application, but if you have called to let us know that you will be paying in full, we will wait to process until we have your funds and will waive the deposit upon processing. Your card will not be charged.

Are donations to my trip tax-deductible?

Yes, your contribution is tax-deductible, because you are giving to work with a charitable organization and serve, and the vast majority of your trip will consist of service to the community. The IRS states:

Generally, you can claim a charitable contribution deduction for travel expenses necessarily incurred while you are away from home performing services for a charitable organization only if there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation in the travel. This applies whether you pay the expenses directly or indirectly. You are paying the expenses indirectly if you make a payment to the charitable organization and the organization pays for your travel expenses.

The deduction for travel expenses won’t be denied simply because you enjoy providing services to the charitable organization. Even if you enjoy the trip, you can take a charitable contribution deduction for your travel expenses if you are on duty in a genuine and substantial sense throughout the trip. However, if you have only nominal duties, or if for significant parts of the trip you don’t have any duties, you can’t deduct your travel expenses.

Source: https://www.irs.gov/publications/p17/ch24.html.

Trip Logistics

When will I receive my airline tickets?
The days of receiving paper tickets are long gone! A couple of weeks before your trip, you will receive an email that contains a spreadsheet for our team’s flight itinerary. Your confirmation number will be on this sheet so that you can check in ahead of time on the airline’s website if you wish. You’ll also be able to see team member’s flight plans to know who might be flying out of your departure airport and see when you’ll meet up with the rest of the team. For more information about your Travel Day, please watch this video.
What should I pack?
Packing can be complicated! To take the guesswork out of packing, we created this video and a packing list. Please note, however, that the packing list contains suggested items, and you won’t want or need every item for every trip. Take your destination into consideration when deciding what to include.
What type of accommodations can I expect?
Though our accommodations can vary greatly due to the wide spectrum of locations where we serve, we make safety and comfort a priority when selecting our accommodations. You’ll work hard during the day, and we want you to rest well at night! We typically book a hotel (two team members per room). If you are traveling with a friend, please let us know ahead of time if you’d like to room together. If the remoteness of our location deems it necessary to use dormitory-style housing, we will let you know ahead of time and make sure you know whether to bring linens or other extra items for special situations.
How can I find out details about my trip?
When you apply for a trip with MMO, you will create an account with which you can manage your trip. We use your account page to post helpful links, deadlines, tasks, fundraising information, and other important data. If you are going on more than one trip, you will see a separate page for each one. It’s important to log in to your account regularly and stay on top of your to-do list.
Why am I required to upload documents instead of email them?
All team members are required to upload several documents to their account page. You may not email these documents. We require 3 documents (passport, insurance card, indemnification form) from all team members. Medical providers must also upload 3 additional documents (diploma, license, and resume or CV). With more than 300 team members traveling each year, our offices are keeping track of hundreds of personal documents. Uploading them yourself makes our job easier, and it’s also much more secure. We hope you understand, and we are available to help with the process if you need us!
What is in the Welcome Packet, and when do I receive it?

About 4 weeks before your trip, you’ll receive an email about your Welcome Packet. You will be able to personalize your packet by selecting items from our online store. You will use special team member coupon codes so that you will not be charged for the items included in the packet, which are:

  • MMO tee or scrub top
  • Lanyard for clinic
  • Luggage tags (2)
  • Trip journal
  • Pen

Any additional items, extra tees, etc. may be purchased in a separate transaction. Be sure to check out the entire store! We are excited about all the choices we have available, and these items make great souvenirs.

How do I know which vaccinations I need?
Medical Missions Outreach cannot recommend vaccinations. You need to refer to the CDC’s list of recommendations for the area you will visit. You can consult with your physician, local health department, or travel clinic in order to decide which meds to take. Be prepared to tell them the specific trip dates and city/country you will visit so that they can make their recommendations.
I see that I must purchase trip insurance. Which package is best?
We ask each team member to purchase a Faith Ventures package for travel insurance. There are three policies available: https://www.faithventures.com/compare-plans/#compare. You can compare the packages and decide which one is best for your situation. Especially pay attention to the differences if you plan to take more than one mission trip within the year; you can save some money by purchasing an upgraded package that will work for multiple trips.
Do I need a visa? How do I obtain it?
Some countries we visit require a visa, and some do not. Log in to your account page to find a link for visa information specific to your country. Please pay attention to the deadlines we set for mailing off your documents to the embassy (if applicable). We will provide a letter of invitation, sample itinerary, and any other general team requirements as needed for your trip. All will be uploaded to your account page for the team so that you can print and download at your convenience. Follow the list of required items to be submitted with your passport on the embassy’s website carefully. Once you receive your passport back with the visa secured inside, please log back in to your account to mark the task as complete on your page.
Do I need to register with the American Embassy?
No, we will take care of that for you! We register all of our team members with the State Department’s STEP program in case of an emergency.
What can I do ahead of time to prepare for my trip?

First, please be sure to log in to your account regularly to stay up to date on upcoming tasks and deadlines. There are things we have to do in order to take you out of the country, and when you submit your paperwork on time, it helps us accomplish things on our end.

Also, many team members enjoy reading a book about the location they’ll visit, learning some conversational words and phrases in the local language, reading about the missionaries, and praying about the patients they will minister to!

What can I do as a healthcare provider to prepare myself for clinic?

Before your trip, you’ll want to log in to your account and download the sample formulary from your account page to make sure that you are familiar with the medicines and vitamins we typically have on hand. A couple of weeks before departure, you’ll receive a formulary specific to your trip. Please print it out and bring it with you to use in clinic. You will also want to have some basic supplies for your station: a baggie of exam gloves, antiseptic wipes, and hand sanitizer. Also, bring your stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, and otoscope. If you don’t have an otoscope, there will be one available for shared use among the providers.

If this is your first time practicing internationally, don’t worry! We will guide you through the process and work as a team. An orientation will be given prior to beginning the clinic, and you will have opportunities to ask questions at this time. Also, our team members come from a host of different backgrounds and are able to share a wide variety of information, providing a collaborative atmosphere. Advanced level practitioners are also available to consult on patient care questions.

I’m traveling with a friend; may we room together?
Absolutely! Simply email your request to dawn@medical-outreach.com and she will add a note so that you will be placed together on the rooming list. Please let us know at least 6 weeks before departure of any rooming requests.
How can I get to know my teammates before the trip?

We set up a private team Facebook page several months before each trip so that you can meet your teammates, see notes about the trip, etc. You will receive an email invite to join. When we are on the trip, we can upload photos here to share. If you use Facebook, this is a great way to connect with the team. The trip page is for team members only. Please ask family and friends to follow our main Facebook page where we’ll post pictures, video updates, and posts about the trip when in country.

If you are not on Facebook, don’t worry—all vital information is communicated through your account page and via email. But you may want to consider creating an account temporarily just to have access to the pictures other team members share on the page. You can always delete your account after the trip.

What does a typical trip schedule look like?
  • Thursday/Friday—travel to location
  • Saturday—team orientation, set up clinic, local sightseeing
  • Sunday—worship services with host church
  • Monday through Thursday—clinic days
  • Friday—sightseeing/leisure day
  • Friday evening and Saturday—travel home
I have dietary restrictions. Will I be accommodated?

We will do our best to accommodate our team members’ individual needs, but our ability to do so will vary upon location. Please do let us know of any dietary restrictions you have and be prepared to pack snacks and extra food in case there is a meal you are unable to eat.

Will I be charged for extra baggage? How will I know how many I'm allowed?

Once you receive your confirmation number (approximately 3-4 weeks before your trip), you can log into the airline’s website and see your luggage allowance. The airline’s baggage restrictions will vary depending upon your destination.

Will there be time for sightseeing and souvenir shopping?

Yes! Although the primary focus of our trip is to serve and work, we do set aside a day for sightseeing and possibly souvenir shopping at the end of the trip. We hope you’ll enjoy seeing the country where you have served all week.