Although the amount we need to raise for our Building Project is substantial, we’re very aware that we’re relatively very well off compared to many churches and organisations around the world. The church has therefore decided to tithe (give away 10% of) money raised for our building fund, where we’re permitted to do so (for example, we wouldn’t be allowed to give away money we received via grants from trusts).
We’ve chosen two projects to receive that money, both based in Nepal. One is being run by INF, who are building a chapel for the Green Pastures Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre in Pokhara. The second project (through BMS) relates to the Kathmandu International Study Centre (KISC), and building/rebuilding work that they are doing following the earthquakes last year. Here’s a bit more information about each of those projects.
For almost 60 years, Green Pastures Hospital in Pokhara has been the flagship of INF’s work in Nepal. Since its doors opened in 1957, we have provided treatment and relief to thousands, earning it a reputation of delivering high standard care to the poorest and most marginalised people of Nepal.
Annually, the hospital serves around 8,000 patients and remains the biggest rehabilitation hospital in Nepal’s western regions. Patients come not only from the local area, but are also referred from other INF centres across the western half of Nepal, as well as government hospitals and local partner organisations.
INF’s Green Pastures Hospital is about to undergo substantial investment to make it fit for purpose to serve Nepal for a generation to come. Central to the plans is a Chapel that can act as a prayer centre, a place of comfort and encouragement for patients and relatives, and a place where surgeons and other medical staff can seek help and support from our Father in Heaven. We need between £50-55,000 to achieve this.
What makes Green Pastures different
The focus at Green Pastures is on meeting more than just people’s physical needs. Alongside the medical care is a commitment to caring for the whole person. Often patients that come to us have lost hope and see the future as bleak and unliveable. We try to convey through our actions and words, that they are of immense intrisic value to God, who made them in His image, and that He cares for them and their future. Our aim is not just rehabilitation for patients, but for them to go back to their communities with hope and faith in their hearts and a sense of a positive future.
Peer counsellors, who may be similarly disabled, are on hand to encourage and advise those who are facing life with a long-term disability. They inspire people to see how they can overcome everyday difficulties, in order to live fulfilled lives. Pastoral care workers visit patients and spend time with them regularly to provide emotional support and fellowship. A patient’s self-image can often be marred and the person may have lost all sense of worth and intrinsic value. Hearing about the love of God for them and how they are made in God’s image can often contribute to the process of inner healing and help restore their self-worth and hope.
A new chapel
There is currently no space to facilitate church services within the hospital compound and patients need to visit local churches in the neighbourhood to attend weekend services. But even the short journey to the next local church can be challenging for someone with an injury or a disability. Having a chapel building within the hospital compound would make church attendance possible for many patients who may otherwise miss out. There are also plans to introduce daily staff fellowship times in the chapel which are currently difficult to organise due to lack of space.
The chaplaincy team consists of pastors and volunteers from local churches. These pastoral care workers and counsellors do their best to provide fellowship and prayers, but this can only happen on the hospital’s corridor due to lack of adequate space, often this means getting in the way of the hospital’s clinical staff.
Our dream is for a dedicated chapel to be a place of peace and quiet to offer a private and safe environment that is much more suited to the need. This is really important as prayer for healing and wholeness is fundamental to the work of Green Pastures.
The majority of patients stay at the hospital for many weeks and the contact with peer counsellors, pastoral care workers and other staff means that they not only regain confidence and hope but also learn of the God who loves them. Many have found their faith in Christ whilst being at Green Pastures. Having a dedicated building to meet and minister to people, to pray together and have fellowship will make a big difference to patients – but also to their families as relatives are often very open at times such as this. A dedicated chapel will gives us a place to welcome them and give them an opportunity to talk about their concerns or ask for prayer. Providing a peaceful private place will make it much easier for Hindu or Buddhist families to ask for prayer and pray with pastoral care workers.
The Kathmandu International Study Centre exists to provide quality education, primarily for the Christian mission community and Nepali national teachers, based on the sovereignty of Christ. KISC has outgrown its current rented site and is working on plans to build a new, permanent campus. BMS is involved partly in the build, and partly in the community facing dimensions of the work – in particular are the work of ABBS and EQUIP.
There is very little state provision of services and support for children and families of children with physically and mentally disabilities in Nepal. There is a negative attitude towards this group of children and often parents are unable to care for them full time. There are particular issues of stigma and of physiology as children grow older and need training with appropriate life and vocational skills.
ABBS aim to develop the capacity of the provision of care and vocational training for older children / young people with mental and physical disabilities. BMS, in partnership with ABBS aims to provide part time placements to build capacity within ABBS. This presently includes the work being done by BMS missionary Lyndsay Davies. Secondly, BMS is contributing towards the development of skills training for young people. ABBS will eventually be housed within the new KISC school building. Presently BMS contributes the equivalent of £15,260 towards this work.
EQUIP is a project that is an extension of KISC’s own commitment to high quality education.
Nepal has had a tumultuous history and has been a mission field for many decades, even prior to democracy. There is a lack of child centred learning in most schools within the country. The Government has introduced 5 year plans for teacher training, however, many (particularly rural) schools struggle to implement this or access teacher training. The mind-set is very much on the child as a receiver of information rather than a participant in the learning process, this hinders the God-given potential of all those receiving education to the detriment of society as a whole.
The Church within the country is very young and the there is a need for Christian education and views to be disseminated in order for there to be a greater number of Christians in leadership positions throughout the country.
BMS’s specific partnership focus is to provide strong leadership to the school and help to develop and strengthen input to Nepali schools through training initiatives with the EQUIP programme.
BMS contributes around £21,000 per year towards the EQUIP programme with key programme staff such as Annie Brown, Wendy Hall and Dil Chatri all supported by BMS.
In relation to the new building itself, this is being overseen by Angus Douglas. Angus is involved at every level of site management for KISC from budgeting through to fundraising for the build as well as the legal and architectural development dimensions. BMS, again, supports the work that Angus does to the tune of £20,270 per annum. The build itself looks to be in the region of $3 million but we are also looking at a modular approach whereby BMS seeks to raise money for a part of the building project.