Ravi Jayakaran, CEO of Medical Ambassadors International, on the Transformative Power of Community Health Evangelism

The Finish Line Podcast

Episode 34
Ravi Jayakaran CEO President Medical Ambassadors International Community Health Evangelism CHE
Ravi Jayakaran CEO President Medical Ambassadors International Community Health Evangelism CHE

Ravi Jayakaran, CEO of Medical Ambassadors International, on the Transformative Power of Community Health Evangelism

The Finish Line Podcast

Episode 34

Listen on SpotifyApple PodcastsStitcherPandora, or wherever you get your podcasts!

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What We’ll Cover

Ravi Jayakaran is the President and CEO of Medical Ambassadors International which works to sustainably transform communities around the world through Christ-centered partnership, resource assessment, and customized training. Ravi’s story begins with his grandfather who left behind a 2000 year family tradition of Hinduism to become one of the first Christians in his community in India. Growing up in the faith, Ravi went on to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine before transitioning to full time work with World Vision. In 2017, he took over leadership of MAI full time.

Founded in the late 70s by Dr. Ray Benson, Medical Ambassadors International began as a traditional medical mission-trip style organization with U.S. surgeons providing medical care in Vietnam and several other countries. When Dr. Paul Calhoun took over as President, MAI began to shift from a provision-style ministry to prevention, with notable success.

In the ensuing years, that focus began to expand well beyond medicine to a broader community health model now known as community health evangelism (CHE). Today, MAI’s model involves beginning with a community assessment, identifying several village leaders who can take an inventory of the community’s raw material, learned skills, and human resources. Those leaders then identify their community’s greatest needs. Once those needs are identified, MAI provides training so that the community can work towards meeting its own needs with as little external support as possible. 

Most importantly, each training curriculum is fused with gospel teaching that points to Christ as the ultimate provider and savior. In each community where the CHE process is implemented, MAI routinely sees large numbers of people come to accept Christ as their own saviour as they work to build and strengthen their community.

Over the last few decades, MAI has amassed lesson plans on over 10,000 topics from rabbit rearing to mushroom harvesting to microenterprise to serve over 2600 communities in 75 different countries. And each village has at least 20 native volunteers leading the change in their community. Ravi has amazing insight into what it takes to drive sustainable change and gospel rootedness. Listen now to hear all he had to say! 

Quotes to Remember

  • “Word and deed need to be in balance. We call that integral mission, or wholistic mission.”
  • “With the resources that they have, what is the best thing to do?”
  • “The drive is constantly to see how we can be more efficient and effective.”
  • “What you put into the center of your development is what drives it. If it’s community resources, community ownership, community capacity, that’s what will drive it. If you bring in an external big box and drop it there, that’s what they’ll wait to see driving the process.”
  • “A community must own its own transformation.”

Links from the Show

Bible References from the Show

Matt 5:14-15 | The Salt and the Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

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