Moral Injury and Endurance on the Mission Field

Students at Hope Africa

“We often are not prepared, we medical missionaries. When we go to the field, we’re not prepared for what we are likely to encounter regarding our role in the incredible demand for our services.” 

-Jim Ritchie, MD, Senior Vice President, The Longevity Project 


The Toll of Low-Resource Environments

Imagine you’ve only practiced medicine in the United State and you’re going to a place where you’re the only medical professional available in the community. The demand is unending. The line of people waiting to see you goes on as far as the eye can see. You realize that these people are sick. They are not wondering about a little bump on their arm; they’re concerned that they can’t breathe, they’ve been having seizures for a long time, or have an enormous tumor. They have a legitimate need to be seen. Now ask yourself, when do you stop? Do you work until exhaustion? How do you rest? How can you justify stopping when you look at these people and know they probably won’t make it through the night?  

Jim Ritchie, Senior Vice President, The Longevity Project, has been that medical missionary. Listen below as he discusses the reality on the ground for healthcare missionaries and the need to support their development of healthy, biblically wise strategies for endurance in the field. 

 Training Makes a Difference

Jim spent years learning and educating himself about the trauma effects on medical professionals serving in low-resource and dangerous environments. He says the research is clear. When people walk into difficult situations having had some sort of introduction to what they’re going to encounter, they tend to do better. Without that preparation, they show up and can be completely disoriented. They don’t understand why things are happening the way they are. They’re not sure others have any sense of understanding about their situation.    

Through MedSend’s Longevity Project, grant recipients will come to understand a better way of seeing God’s sovereignty in the life and death of patients.  They learn a better, more reasonable, more biblical understanding of their level of responsibility in taking care of those patients. Our vision is that this support and training will result in less missionary burn out and longer terms of service on the mission field, resulting in thousands of additional lives changed by compassionate care and the Gospel. With your financial support, these faithful servants can have the help they need to thrive in their mission.



Leave a Comment


Healthcare remains the only form of access as a Christian witness in many countries.

Your gift helps activate the movement of God's people to the field. Will you join us in ensuring that eager Christ-following health professionals are able to serve the Lord through global healthcare missions.