Accepted and loved
BMS worker Megan Barker writes about how the International Nepal Fellowship’s (INF) health centre in Surkhet is sharing the gospel with its patients through word and action – people who desperately need to hear that God loves and accepts them.
Every Wednesday we have a short ‘sungutti’ (‘fellowship’) on our inpatient ward: a time of singing choruses and then a Bible message.
Among the patients that gather some arrive in wheelchairs, many of these through accident or illness have damage to their spinal cord and cannot walk.
Others who come are missing fingers or toes or in some other way are suffering from the horrible effects of leprosy.
Most will have also suffered from discrimination and stigma from their own village community or even within their own family because it is commonly thought that the reason they are disabled or with leprosy is that is their own fault: somewhere or somehow, in this life or a previous one, they did something wrong and so now they are paying for it.
Many of the patients that gather are from a Hindu background and so singing Christian songs and hearing from the Bible is very strange – but communal singing is a great social activity here and so many people come along for the singing.
How good that these ‘rejected’ people can hear about a God who loves them and accepts them and doesn’t hold sins against them! Our staff are also able to demonstrate love and acceptance and provide a positive environment while they take their treatment.
When one of our spinal cord patients first arrived three months ago he told staff not to bring any Christian material near him as he didn’t want anything to do with it.
Last week he came to the sungutti! What’s even better is that his dad, who was visiting, brought him along and stayed as well. His dad is known as a ‘dharmi’ in his village – a witchdoctor!
Pray that many people in desperate need would be both physically and spiritually healed through the work of Christian mission in Nepal.
Megan is involved with the INF Surkhet programme in occupational therapy and Alan is acting programme manager.