By Connie Ambrecht RDMS, CMB
Heartbeat International has a heart for international ministry. If you would like to join in the international ultrasound ministry, there are a couple of resources of which you should be aware:
Have you wondered how much impact ultrasound could have internationally? What does it take? Who is qualified to go? Who would you train in those countries?
It almost sounds glamorous to travel to exotic places like Haiti and Ecuador or Ukraine and Romania. Hope Imaging and its teams have been to all of these countries and more, taking life-affirming sonography training to physicians, midwives, and nurses in these foreign lands.
If traveling internationally to address life issues doesn’t interest you, read no further. Hope Imaging is all about the God possibilities, and exotic travel and intrigue are all part of His itinerary to get the job done well.
You may already be interested and eagerly have your hand raised saying “Send me Lord, send me!”
What does it take to go internationally?
Flexibility, agenda-free thinking, funding, immunizations, peanut butter, and “just in case” medicines make international outreach travel all that you imagine and then some.
- Flexibility, or maybe it should be FLEXIBILTY - It is so important to remain in that mode. You will find it key to surviving. Every country runs on its own time, schedule, and expectations. A willingness to adjust is essential.
- Agenda-free, I can do that…or can I? - You may want to encourage that patients see the ultrasound screen; you may want to write on the printed image; and you may think you are there to share all you can. Feel free to change that thinking. For one thing, they may not have all the equipment you are used to having. God brought you there to learn. Listen to Him.
- Funding? I have the money to buy my ticket, but I’ll not ask anyone else - What?! And rob them of the opportunity to share in His work? Remember you are the vessel, but He can bless many as you go and then share what He’s doing.
- Immunizations are just part of it - Bugs, climates, diseases, many new things to ward off as a traveler - this is easy to check and get educated on.
- Peanut butter goes a long way - It is one of God’s basic food groups. Some on a spoon, a dried banana chip, or on a piece of bread; peanut butter is a great source of nutrition.
- “Just in case medicines” are a must have! - A bee sting, a bug bite, a stomach upset, a cut, etc. Be prepared, all kinds of things can happen!
Who’s qualified to go?
Those He’s called.
Hope Imaging recommends taking a team; two registered sonographers, one prayer partner, and one intern. The registered sonographers can rotate with the training and translation. The prayer partner is one who can be trusted with difficult situations – team members, participants, safety, health, technical translations, clinic needs, medical needs…the prayer needs can be endless.
An intern, as defined by Hope Imaging, is one of the following:
- the medical professional trained in limited sonography,
- the medical student interested in missions, or
- the sonography student getting ready to join the work force.
Any of these members can be combined. For example, a registered nurse/sonographer might also serve as prayer partner, or a registered sonographer may be prayer warrior. You get the idea; it’s that flexible thing again!
Who do we teach internationally?
The simple answer is primarily physicians. Physicians are quick learners so keep that in mind as you walk them through the steps to a good image. Be patient and work with them. Remember, they want to learn. That machine has been sitting idle for too long. Let’s get it in use!
The reality is, however, that we teach everyone we cross paths with.
Our teams need people with a heart for international missions, who are flexible, and who are willing to raise their hand and say, “Send me Lord, send me!”
Connie Ambrecht serves as International Team Coordinator as well as Team Leader for Hope Imaging. She and her husband have been involved with Hope Imaging since its birth in 2005.