An HCJB World Radio medical team recently traveled to Lebanon to bring healing and hope to victims of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict.
The team of six women five from Ecuador and one from England found serious medical and spiritual needs in the war-devastated areas of Lebanon during their two-week stay.
HCJB, which has been broadcasting satellite and shortwave programs into the North Africa/Middle East region for years, sent the team in response to a request from a partner organization on the ground for a team of non-North American female doctors.
The team found itself well-positioned to connect with other women and the children still suffering from the violence of war.
We met people who had lost family members in the war, patients who had suffered hearing loss due to the bombs dropped, and some patients homes had been damaged or destroyed, said Sheila, international health coordinator for HCJB World Radio, whose last name could not be revealed for security reasons.
One day an airplane passed over, very high in the sky, but sheer terror overtook the children, who up to that point had been friendly and happy. They looked terrified, she continued. It was a shock to us to see the effect of war on these young lives.
According to a recent Reuters report, as many as 1 million unexploded cluster bombs lie undetected in fields, streets, and in remaining areas of rubble and debris following the 33-day conflict in the summer.
Since the war ended on Aug. 14, at least 22 civilians have been killed and 135 injured by accidentally setting off bombs and landmines.
I feel we were bridge builders as we served in this difficult place, Sheila added. Due to the war, most of the people in the surrounding villages had evacuated, including all healthcare personnel. The people who were left behind, as well as the ones who returned early, found themselves with no healthcare, because local health centers were deserted and some had been destroyed.
Dr Susan, one of the Ecuadorian physicians, said, We believe this trip planted a seed to bring people hope. There was a language barrier, but through our behavior, our care, our medical attention, the people saw us and the hope we brought.
Dr Stephanie added, With each person we gave medical attention, we prayed for them. Nobody rejected that. They accepted us. They were very open with us, to the point where some of them said to us, thank you for bringing the light in their own language.
HCJB World Radios missionaries, pastors, broadcasters and healthcare providers use media, healthcare and education to work with partners in more than 100 countries around the world to spread the gospel in languages people can understand. Lives are transformed, so that people are engaged in the growing church, making an impact on their communities as they are empowered to use media and healthcare tools. The ministry, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.