Serving in North India - Stephen Park

Kachhwa Christian Hospital is a small hospital providing
health care primarily for the poor and outcasts of the area, many of whom would
otherwise be unable to afford the care they need. In addition to a 20 bed ward,
dental and eye departments, 100-150 patients attend the outpatient department
on a daily basis. Linda was able to use her GP skills helping out most
mornings. The language barrier was a challenge and there were naturally
cultural differences. At times older relatives are abandoned at the hospital,
family unwilling to pay for needed medical help when the older relative becomes
unable to contribute to family life by working. Although much of what Linda encountered
was familiar, tropical illnesses and snake bites are not typical presentations
in Northern Ireland!! Many local people continue to seek help from their local
witch doctor which often results in delayed presentation at the hospital; for
certain illnesses this can prove fatal. Community Health Workers go into nearby
villages to teach disease prevention and health promotion, in addition to
sharing the Gospel. This has resulted in people attending much quicker after
snake bites resulting in an improvement in survival rates.

Although this hospital seeks to provide good physical health
care for local people, its main focus is spiritual - sharing the Gospel. In
2003 the hospital was at the point of closure and only one family was attending
the church on the compound. However, since then through refocusing on sharing
the Gospel and reaching out to the community, not only is the hospital thriving
but they have planted nearly 1000 house churches in the surrounding villages
and approximately 120 people attend the church on the compound. One of the main
aspects of this ministry is training the pastors of the house churches. Every
month 350 of these pastors come to the compound for a week of Bible teaching
where they systemically go through the Bible, so they can teach better within
their churches. Additionally, there are similar training events for woman so
they can go back to their villages and talk to other woman, as it is not
culturally acceptable for men to talk to women. I had the privilege of teaching
at morning hospital devotions and also one of the residential training events.
This was a sharp learning curve in preaching through a translator. It was also
challenging to consider teaching within a cultural context – for those from a
Hindu background where there are many gods the trinity is a particularly
difficult concept.

This placement was a real insight into how the
medical and spiritual aspects of mission work together in sharing the Gospel. We
continue to pray for God’s guidance regarding our future.





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The Irish Baptist College,
19 Hillsborough Road, Moira,
Co. Down, BT67 0HG
028 9261 9267

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