For the fourth consecutive year, the Immanuel Baptist Church of Shawnee is set to send a small team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and volunteers to Quito, Ecuador - the impoverished capital city of the coastal South American nation - where the missionaries are expecting to help around 1,000 local residents in just a week.

More than a dozen suitcases, each filled with a range of medical supplies and basic medicines, also will find their way through customs to be handed out to the Ecuadorians, most of whom have little means to purchase such items themselves.


For the fourth consecutive year, the Immanuel Baptist Church of Shawnee is set to send a small team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and volunteers to Quito, Ecuador - the impoverished capital city of the coastal South American nation - where the missionaries are expecting to help around 1,000 local residents in just a week.
More than a dozen suitcases, each filled with a range of medical supplies and basic medicines, also will find their way through customs to be handed out to the Ecuadorians, most of whom have little means to purchase such items themselves.
And while IBC Associate Pastor Mark Wright acknowledges the good the free doctors, nurses and supplies will do in Quito, it’s not the mission’s primary goal while they’re in the country.
“It’s not so much that we’re helping these people, although we are and it’s one of the best parts about going there, it’s getting to help the local churches while we’re there,” Wright said. “When we go down there and provide these services for the local churches, it gives them a platform to spread the gospel.”
Wright said a group of 14 volunteers, including two doctors and several nurses, will fly to Quito on June 5. He said each member of the team will get two suitcases - one for personal items and the other for medical supplies.
“It costs too much to ship it,” Wright said. “So, we carry a note along with us to explain to authorities what we are doing.”
Wright said the team’s mission is to attract possible converters to the Baptist faith, which isn’t easy in a heavily Catholic nation like Ecuador. He said the lure of a free, basic examination by an American nurse or doctor and some complementary over-the-counter medicines will bring many people to Quito’s 20 or so Baptist churches that normally wouldn’t come around.
That gives his church around 1,000 opportunities, or around 200 to 300 per day, to bring someone over to their side, Wright said.
“What we’re all about here is having a personal relationship with Christ,” he said. “And that’s what we’re doing here on this mission trip. We’re trying to help these people have that relationship, too.”
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Andrew Knittle may be reached at 214-3926.