A Missionary's Story
"Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the Good News of the Kingdom and healing every disease and sickness among the people." Matthew 4:23 (NIV)
Sheila Leech, originally from the UK, first went to Ecuador in 1980 as a Plymouth Brethren missionary, working among the Colorado Indians who are known for their distinctive red-dyed hair.
She learned not only Spanish, but also the Colorado language, and for eight years did "traditional" missionary work such as evangelism, literacy training, visitation and discipleship.
"Then I realized that I didn't have any practical skills to help the people," she said. "As I looked at Jesus approach to evangelism, I realized that Jesus was very practical. When people were hungry He fed them, when they were sick he healed them."
So she decided to get further training as a nurse. After one year working as patient advocate at HCJB Global's Hospital, Vozandes-Quito, she returned to the U.K. in 1989 to study.
In 1993 she went back to Ecuador as a registered nurse, this time as a missionary with HCJB Global serving in community development.
Within two years she became the Department Director, exposing her to a wide variety of medical ministries in Ecuador, ranging from water projects in remote areas, to community clinics in poor Quito neighbourhoods.
"Healthcare is a way of showing God's love to people," Leech says. But she doesn't see healthcare as a "magnet, drawing people to the gospel. Rather, it's a way of showing kindness and compassion as the rule of God. We preach the gospel at all times, and use words if necessary!"
Sheila Leech served as Director of the Healthcare Division in HCJB Global's Latin America region from 2003 to 2008. She currently serves as the mission's International Healthcare Director.
HCJB's global mission is to empower dynamic media and healthcare ministries that declare and demonstrate Jesus Christ.