PART I: His Kingdom Purpose
We traveled a winding, rutted road to a remote village in Nepal. As we arrived at our destination, several men were waiting. “l remember you” I greeted one of the men, smiling in recognition. He smiled back and said, “No, I remember you.” He was now a member of the church, which had started with a single family and had grown to more than 40 people. A year ago, we had traveled that same rutted road, getting stuck in the foot deep mud around every turn. The villagers, then hostile and suspicious watched us silently, with solemn, decidedly unfriendly faces, as we “the Christians” approached the village. It was the first time any Christian missionary group had come to the village. The village was a stronghold for rebels and home to generations of legendary fierce warriors. It was clear that we were not trusted and not wanted. Our host was a family whose son had become a Christian while living in the capitol city of Kathmandu. He was not accepted by his village because of his conversion to Christianity, visiting his parents infrequently.
Were it not for the fact that we were medical professionals, offering a free medical clinic, no one would have come near us. We heard that the village had seriously discussed boycotting the clinic. Until the morning we opened the clinic doors, we did not know whether anyone would show up. But God works in the hearts of people, behind the scenes in ways we will never completely understand. The offer of free medical care was too good to pass up, particularly for the people of lower caste, who could not afford any sort of medical care.
People came from miles away on foot, from villages as far as the other side of the river, often waiting the entire day to be treated. Ostensibly, by Western standards, we had only the sparsest of medical services to offer. There was no electricity, no running water, no lab services, no diagnostic services. Yet the villagers appreciated even the smallest token of care – a packet of Tylenol, bandaging for a wound, antibiotics for an infection. Every tablet of analgesic, every bandaid was offered with God’s love and a prayer- and in these little interactions, miracles occurred. A smile, an understanding touch, a laying on of hands. We were no longer Christians, the enemies. We were Christians who offered caring and healing. The villagers caught a glimpse of our God, who is loving and cares for each and every person.
By the end of our week in the village, we had seen hundreds of people, each of whom we prayed we had touched in some way. As we traveled back along the mud rutted road, to our surprise we barely got stuck in the mud. The villagers had prepared the road early that morning, using pickaxes to even out the ruts. As we made our way back to the main road, the villagers stood along the side of the road to wave goodbye and to give the vehicles a push through the mud.
It never ceases to amaze me, how God works in the midst of such circumstances, to work out His plan and purpose. We sensed that we were God’s instruments in sowing seeds for His Kingdom during that week, trusting that God would water and protect those seeds. Indeed, upon returning the following year, we found a church which had sprung up, in the midst of territories and villages eager to greet us. Not all Christians yet, but open to God.
In an upcoming post, look for Part 2: The Importance of Christian Medical Missions, The Benefits!