Searching For Pearls …loving God and the world.

11Nov/091

Clinic Extravaganza – by Lauren Ng – Day 3

They call me “The Doctor.”  Every time I’m introduced to someone here in India, they make it a point to emphasize the fact that I’m a medical doctor from the United States.  It makes me feel quite uncomfortable since I don’t like having that extra attention and pressure.  Originally, when I was preparing for the trip I was told that I would only be seeing 60 adults, right before I left the number turned into 60 families and all 750 children at the school.  Thus, you can imagine how I must have felt the night before the big day-nervous and apprehensive not knowing what to expect and feeling completely overwhelmed and under-prepared.

The rest of the members of the team received a crash course in pharmacology,taking vitals and abbreviated medical histories the night before and set up shop in the adjoining room to help screen patients for me to ease my work load. It was a huge help and blessing and enabled me to be able to see 53 patients in 4 hours, which definitely goes down in the record books.  It was a grueling 4 hours in 85 degree heat and 95% humidity wearing scrubs and my white coat (needed some street cred with the locals as I’m a female and young looking) with the fan and power periodically going in and out.   Yet God was faithful and didn’t give us more than we could handle.  Interestingly enough the medical problems I saw here were pretty much the same as in the US-diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heartburn, headaches and general aches and pains with the occasional bilateral perforated ear drums and unstable angina.   Through it all God reminded me that the pressure I feel is not on me but Him as He is the ultimate healer and physician.  All he requires of me is to show up and love His people and He will pour out His blessing.  Healing often does not revolve around the treatment of physical ailments but involves the outpouring of love.

In the afternoon, Amanda and Christine decided to ride the bus with the children to see what their homes and villages looked like and took the bus that went to the most rural location.  Crammed in with close to 100 children and teachers they endured the bumpy, winding ride to the village which was home to a rubber plantation and a few coconut leaf-roofed houses.  In addition, they experienced the hospitality of the teachers and students who not only acted as tour guides but invited them to their houses for tea and bought them snacks from a local store.  Meanwhile, Dave toured the main road in town, drew a lot of stares wherever he went, witnessed a large fireworks show and got to ride in a cycle rickshaw.

This evening the Bishop shared some stories of Dalit oppression which just broke my heart.  In one story, a higher caste man was plowing a field but since he only owned one ox, a Dalit man was hooked to the other side and treated as if he were just another animal.  Not only are Dalits treated as animals but they are often used as slave labor to plant rice for the upper caste Indians and in one instance a pregnant woman refused to plant rice and was beaten to death and buried in a nearby field.  In addition, once when it was time to plant rice, the Dalit workers placed a baby in a nearby forest and covered it with banana leaves.  The baby started crying but the owner of the field would not let the Dalit mother take a break to feed her newborn.  Later on that evening when the Dalits went back to the spot they had laid the baby, they could no longer find her and after much searching finally found her bones and discovered that an army of ants had come and eaten her.  The progress and change that we have seen here at the BFM is only a result of the transformative power of the Gospel and we must not forget that the level of oppression demonstrated in the above stories is still running rampant today.  It is a shame and a tragedy that most people in the World continue to remain ignorant and apathetic.

On a happier note, Elton received an email that the camera he left on the airplane from San Francisco to Singapore was recovered when the plane landed in Zurich and will be waiting for us in the Lost and Found in the Singapore Airport. Praise God!

8Nov/093

Our Journey – by Lauren Ng – Day 1

After a grueling 32 hour journey from San Francisco to India, complete with Elton losing both his camera and then his wallet in Singapore (which by the grace of God was returned by the taxi driver) and Heather discovering a metal nut in her rice on the flight to India, we arrived in Trivandrum at night completely exhausted but excited nonetheless.

We hurtled through the town past bikers and cars honking to warn oncoming traffic of our presence, narrowly missing other vehicles until we turned off in a more rural section of Kerala. We were received warmly by Promoth and Keren and their new 2.5mo baby girl and explored our new accommodations complete with mosquito nets and cold bucket showers. Amanda turned out to be an expert bug and spider killer tackling a large brown spider in Sarah and Elton's room that was zoo exhibit worthy, wielding only a gym shoe and toilet brush. With the spider successfully defeated we all turned in for the night and awoke the next morning to tunes blasting over a loud speaker from a building nearby. After breakfast we split up into two groups to visit the local churches where Dave and Elton each shared a brief message and Amanda and I were put on the spot to share a brief testimony of what God has been doing in our lives recently. Despite having hardly any time to prepare, it was wonderful to be able to share with the people there and it was amazing the kind of welcome that we received. All the children were lining up after the service wanting to shake our hands and would giggle and laugh everytime we spoke to them. What struck me the most was looking out at the church that morning during service and being filled with God's love and compassion for the people here. These Dalit Christians are constantly oppressed and persecuted and yet they are there packed into the small one room building with their bright and best clothing to worship God and hear from the Word with joyful and willing hearts. If only the Christians in America would have that same earnestness and passion for God, how much more powerful our testimony would be. I am excited to see how God is going to use us and bless us in the coming week so stay tuned for more updates!

By Lauren

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