By Chelsea Quackenbush
DALLAS – The informal relationship between Buckner International and Baylor Health Care System dates back before anyone can remember and since then, has impacted hundreds of thousands of lives around the world.
The two organizations have similar roots – Baptist Christian – and have similar missions to impact ‘the least of these’ for the Kingdom.
“We appreciate being able to work together so we can accomplish more than if we were not collaborating together,” said Don Sewell, director of Faith in Action Initiatives (FIAI), the missions outreach program of Baylor Health Care System’s Office of Mission and Ministry. “We are symbiotic. We work together on situations where we have a common cause.”
Baylor supports Buckner Health Services in several ways. Buckner purchases medication through Baylor with the assurance that it’s the most current and freshest medication to take around the world and distribute in health clinics run by Buckner NGO staff. Also, Buckner recently negotiated the purchase of worming medicine from Baylor for communities Buckner serves. Last year, 385,000 worming pills were purchased, thanks to Baylor’s gifts.
Baylor also provides free medical equipment for Buckner staff to take to their overseas locations. In the summer of 2012, Baylor played a major role in equipping and shipping a mobile medical clinic to Bungoma, Kenya, for Buckner. They donated supplies, exam beds, walkers, crutches, wheelchairs and many other items. The clinic provides preventative health care, as well as treatment for the sick.
“The support Buckner Health Services has from Baylor is immeasurable,” said Cynthia Casperson, former director of Buckner Health Services. “It has helped build the foundation of a very strong program, and it’s helped us achieve our mission – to help people at all stages of life get healthy and to improve health around the world.”
Doctors, nurses and other Baylor employees participate on Buckner medical ambassador trips to countries like Peru, Kenya, Ethiopia and Honduras to provide free medical services.
“We try to amplify a spirit of compassion in our employees, not just so that they will help around the world but so that they will be changed people with greater abilities to take care of patients upon their return to Texas,” Sewell said. “We appreciate any opportunity to collaborate with a humanitarian aid partner like Buckner.”
FIAI was created by executive leadership at Baylor to meet crucial needs to strengthen the spiritual lives of Baylor staff and to empower medical missions in Texas and around the world. FIAI seeks to meet the needs of people who would otherwise be unreached through local free access clinics and international Christian clinics and hospitals.
“The work Baylor Health Care Systems does through Faith in Action magnifies the work Buckner does across the world,” said Buckner International President and CEO Albert Reyes. “Buckner actively seeks these collaborations to form a strategic alliance to amplify our impact on the Kingdom. Baylor’s strengths combined with our strengths equal tremendous impact on local and international venues.”
In 2012, Buckner Health Services impacted 88,479 lives in the U.S. and around the world. More than 8,600 people received preventative health education, while more than 3,200 received dental services. Almost 77,000 people received some form of medical or health service or were referred to outside facilities for help.
“We are so proud of our doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who shine hope in the darkest corners of the world,” Reyes said. “Their work underscores what Buckner is about: a Christ-centered redemptive ministry for the most vulnerable.”
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