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HCJB World Radio Captures Vision to Bring Healing to the Nations

January 12, 2006

While HCJB World Radio is best known for its radio outreach started 75 years ago in Ecuador, the mission has been involved in medical ministries for more than 50 years, operating two hospitals, nine medical clinics and a community development outreach.
Now the ministry has a vision to work with medical partners around the world, putting "hands and feet" to its broadcasting outreach.

"We've learned some lessons, and now it's time to look outside of Ecuador and into the rest of Latin America and the world," said International Healthcare Coordinator Sheila Leech. "We've already been involved to a limited extent with projects outside of Ecuador for years. The program to eliminate river blindness, for example, has been used as a model in Colombia and Venezuela.

"In the last couple of years we've partnered with a group in Bolivia, helping them start a mobile medical clinic ministry by donating our older, renovated truck for their use. Staff members now speak at conferences outside of Ecuador and have been sent to Africa to explore potential partnerships."

This year the potential of going abroad to help people with their medical and spiritual needs became acutely evident as three relief teams from Ecuador traveled to Indonesia and then Pakistan following natural disasters in those areas.

In March a team from Quito went to Nias Island, Indonesia, to help the survivors of the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami. While there, an earthquake struck, and our medical team was first onsite in Nias Island to provide emergency medical care. In the fall of 2005 HCJB World Radio, in partnership with SIM International, sent two teams to a remote area of Pakistan to help victims of the Oct. 8 earthquakes which left tens of thousands dead, thousands more injured and up to 3 million homeless. Four members of the teams to Pakistan were Ecuadorians who work at Hospital Vozandes-Quito.

"We'd also like to expand our water and sanitation project ministry into Bolivia," Leech added. "We're also talking with potential partners in Colombia and Honduras to help them start and run community clinics through local churches. Radio programming that addresses various health issues such as HIV/AIDS is being prepared and used on local radio in Ecuador. We hope to use this programming across Latin America and beyond. We're also looking for staff to serve in Sub-Saharan Africa with medical programs that we're supporting in the Republic of Congo, South Africa and Malawi."

She envisions local partners taking the lead in these ministries while HCJB World Radio's role would be a supportive one. "I'd like to see short-term teams traveling to Africa for construction projects and having HCJB World Radio missionaries on loan to our partner ministries for defined periods of time in order to work alongside partners and train them. We could also help partners find donated equipment and supplies."

Ecuadorians already hold many of the key leadership roles at Hospital Vozandes-Quito. "Most of the missionary doctors concentrate on medical education," Leech explains. "The satellite clinics started by HCJB World Radio are staffed and managed nearly exclusively by Ecuadorian healthcare professionals with minimal input from missionaries. And our research lab is staffed entirely by Ecuadorians. Four of our medical clinics are owned and managed by nationals-all future clinics will run this way.

"There's a richness in sharing ministry among missionaries and national staff. As more well-prepared nationals emerge, we'll ensure that the best people are placed in key positions, whether missionaries or nationals."

Leech says she is optimistic about the future as the healthcare ministries expand in Ecuador and beyond. "God has provided us with top-class facilities, and our family medicine residency is known for excellence. We plan to start training medical missionaries to serve on foreign fields. We want to see our healthcare ministries extend beyond the borders of Ecuador, Latin America and into the uttermost parts of the earth. God has allowed us 50 years to work and learn in Ecuador. Now it's time to move out and provide integral care and healing to the nations."

Source: HCJB World Radio




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