The latest news update from our BMS link missionaries Alan and Megan Barker out in Nepal
Let us tell you a story… well, three in fact!
Kanti is a lady that Megan has worked with over the years. She is a community outreach worker with some basic rehabilitation skills. On my latest visit to Surkhet I (Megan) was invited to have dinner with her and she told me her own story.
At the age of one, both parents were killed in a bus accident. She and her two older brothers were taken in by her mother's sister (who had her own tragic story in that her husband had died just one month after they were married!). The aunt was a lovely caring replacement mother. Then at the age of 3, Kanti contracted polio and became bedridden. But her aunt decided she would get better and every day would take Kanti around the village, making her walk with support until finally she could walk unaided.
Kanti finished her education but has a noticeable limp when she walks and a clearly misaligned pelvis. She was considered unemployable by general society. However, INF gave her the opportunity to go for training in basic therapy skills and gave her a job as a community worker. She leads a full and meaningful life and is a great encouragement to others, as she has a massive heart for those going through the issues and traumas of disabling conditions.
INF has made a difference in her life and now, as an INF worker, she is making a difference in theirs. As BMS supports and seconds people to INF, the same can be said of BMS. It is a privilege to be here to support and encourage her.
Daya Ram and Bhakta were both patients of Megan when we lived in Surkhet, but we have recent encouraging updates that are worth sharing. Daya Ram fell from a tree shortly after his son was born. Life came crashing down for him and his beautiful wife.
After many months of going to various places and having used up all their money, they finally heard of INF. They had little hope but had been told we might be able to help and so they came to Surkhet. It was soon clear he would not get any use back in his legs, but we encouraged them as a couple to work with us and we would show them how they could still have a good and happy life together.
After being rehabilitated to the point of being independent in his wheelchair, we began to talk about future plans. A cousin of Daya's wife was trying to persuade her to leave Daya Ram and start a new life with the cousin in the Gulf. However, we worked with them and got tailor training set up near their home for both husband and wife. We also did counselling regarding sexuality for paraplegics. To cut a long story short, both are using these tailoring skills and they now have their own flourishing business and also another child! They are very happy together.
Bhakta was in a mess. I was visiting the area where he lived and was asked to go and see him. He was all curled up in a dark room. He had had typhoid and also had TB. He was also showing signs of having a urinary tract infection (UTI) and had pressure sores. He was clearly malnourished and could barely breath. The family were at a loss what to do.
So, I organised for him to come to the INF Surkhet clinic where we were working at the time. He had a growth on his lungs from the TB which needed surgery. First, we built him up to a better general state of health and treated the UTI, then we sent him to get treated in Nepalgunj, a four-hour drive away. Through relationships between the hospital and the clinic there, we were able to negotiate cost price for the surgery. It was delicate, but amazingly he survived and came back to continue his wound care and rehabilitation. Some months later he went home, pressure sore and infection free, well nourished and mobilising independently in the wheelchair we had provided.
Prior to discharge home, our community workers had visited and assessed the home so that by the time he returned he had a wheelchair accessible toilet and bedroom. His family, being very devoted, supported him well to continue to build on all he had learned.
Last year, Alan and I were able to visit him again in his home – 10 years since that first home visit. He now runs a cycle repair shop and hairdressers! Another life transformed by God's love in action and through your love and support.
A small spiritual reflection
Whilst I was in the UK at the end of last year, my lovely little sister challenged me with a question. It was along the lines of, “Megan, do you and Alan believe you are where God wants you to be. Is there still work for you to do there?” I said that I thought so and she essentially (though in kinder words) told me to stop fretting about our visa issues and get on with what we are here to do. That conversation stayed with me and I pondered about my answer. I asked God to confirm that we are where we are meant to be, with work we need to do. Then I returned to Nepal. God is good, we have had many comments made that have confirmed we are indeed needed here with colleagues thanking us for our help and involvement. But the greater encouragement comes when I see people like those above and see how God has used us to make a difference in people's lives. We are amazed at God's work in their lives and also that he chooses to do that work through people like us.
Thank you for your ongoing love and prayers for us in our lives and work here. We will be in UK from mid-May to end of July and hope to see many of you then.
Alan and Megan