- International Christian Hospice News Update for January 2010HCJB (radio call letters) has been present for nearly 80 years in Ecuador as the hub of Christian radio broadcasts. Not only do they minister with multilingual radio programming stations all over the world but they also have a Medical Mission arm of which Sheila is the International Director. She has served in Ecuador for 30 years and currently organizes and leads medical teams to provide health care globally. Sheila has just returned from doing medical relief work in Haiti. Please pray with us for Sheila and her team of doctors and nurses, both U.S. and Ecuadorians, who are at this time giving medical care in Ghana, Africa in Jesus’ name. We wish to thank her for her hospitality and time spent with us during her brief time back at her base of ministry in Quito between her worldwide travels.
Ecuador is an amazingly beautiful country set within the majestic Andes Mountains of South America. It was our privilege to fly to Quito, the capitol, and spend 10 days learning and experiencing some of what God is doing there. Since meeting Sheila Leech, RN in November at the Global Health Mission Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, we were eager to respond to her invitation to visit the two organizations she is working with which provide hospice care in Ecuador.
One of the highlights of our time in Ecuador included Hospice Children’s Day. 30 children, whose families have been served by Hospice and have experienced a death of a loved one this past year, gathered Saturday January 23rd for a day of fun and learning. The Palliative Care/Hospice staff, including medical doctors, nurses, a psychologist, volunteers and chaplains of the Jersey Foundation presented activities, games and crafts designed to address the grief of these children. We all had fun participating and helping the children to express their feelings and each were given opportunities to talk about their loved one who died. Much creativity and love went into their creations of memory boxes and stickpin boards. Several HCJB volunteers, including Sheila, minister with the Jersey Foundation in hospice patient care, support groups and bereavement of adults and children.
The Jersey Foundation has a Palliative Care/ Hospice program unique to the Quito area. The missionary director, Dr. Nicky Bailhache from Jersey Island of England, invited us to observe several aspects of the ministry she has developed over the past nine years. She, along with Ecuadorian Dr. Ximena Pozo, are both specialists in Palliative Care and provide disease and symptom management for patients who have terminal illnesses. We accompanied Dr. Nicky and Amanda, registered nurse, on home visits one day. We saw the love of God in action as they helped patients and families who are coping with physical, emotional and spiritual problems common near the end of life.
Later in the week Sheila Leech invited us to the Day Hospice Center which she directs for HCJB. We enjoyed a delightful day with five patients who are terminally ill but still able to gather for crafts, music, Bible study and a meal once a week. We were honored to see this loving, volunteer team laugh with, serve and bring God’s living word into the lives of people who are often the forgotten ones.
What great learning experiences we had this week observing and working with others who have the common passion for Christ-centered Hospice care around the world. Thank you to the Jersey Foundation Team for their time meeting with us and sharing what they have learned. We remember the words spoken to us by the nurse Amanda after a home visit, “How can someone hear our words if they are suffering and in pain?” Another person once said, “People don’t care about what you know until they know that you care!” Our Savior taught us by example as He ministered to people’s physical needs so their spiritual eyes could be opened. These truths are coming to life through this vibrant, God directed hospice ministry tucked away in the Andes Mountains.
One afternoon we had the opportunity to take a tram-lift from the city of Quito which is at 9,000 ft. elevation up to 13,400 ft. for breathtaking views. Yes, literally breathtaking! Our cardiovascular and respiratory systems had to adjust to this height where oxygen masks are recommended if one were in an airplane at that altitude. We hiked slowly up to where we could view the snow capped volcano Cotopaxi to the south emerging between layers of clouds and a glistening glacier to the east. Although we wore coats and hats because of the frigid wind, we both got light sunburns on our limited amount of exposed skin. Weather on the equator is so unique that the temperature varies only a few degrees year round.
We were greatly encouraged and uplifted through the things we learned during this time of ministry. We feel like we were students in school again and we eagerly tried to absorb all we could about hospice serving the people in this culture. God has shown us some exciting new possibilities for International Christian Hospice through all the people we met serving Him in Ecuador. We also learned more about the challenges we face in order to grow International Christian Hospice in the direction He desires.
We anticipate this year to be one of growth and request that you join us in prayer for the following:
· Additional board members, particularly a Medical Director
· Technical assistance with web and media
· Revised, improved and expanded training materials and modules
· Follow-up ministry among the existing ICH trained Pastors, Volunteers and Medical Personnel
· God directed strategy to fulfill the organizational vision and goals
· Financial partners who have the common passion of reaching people who are nearing death with the comfort, peace and hope only Christ can give
- In February and March we will be returning to Honduras and Guatemala. Pray for us as we travel and also for a Team from Lexington, S.C. who will be joining us there in ministry.
God bless you for your interest and for any financial gifts that God may lead you to give.
Please make them to: International Christian Hospice Tax deductible receipts available.
145 Chillingham Rd. Irmo, S.C. 29063