Your daily guide to pray for INF staff as they serve poor and marginalised Nepali people
Nepal - the people and the church
Life in Nepal
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Matthew 6:9
The vast majority of Nepal’s population continues to live in poverty. Most live at the mercy of natural disasters. Many struggle to produce or earn enough to sustain their families. Access to good health care and education is patchy and expensive, especially for those living in rural areas.
ABOVE: A saddhu [or Hindu holy man] with disabilities lies in the street.
Nepal is a Hindu majority nation. This, above all, determines how individuals, families and communities behave and interact with each other. There are cultural beliefs and practices which have a negative impact on people. Caste and ethnicity are traditional barriers within communities. In many families the birth of a boy is celebrated, while that of a girl is often endured.
In the last nine years Nepal has moved from being a constitutional monarchy to a federal republic. At the same time it was declared a secular state, annulling the previous status of a Hindu kingdom. The aspiration is to make the Government of Nepal more responsive to the needs of ordinary people.
In 2016 the new constitution was agreed and signed. The political boundaries were redrawn and the first local elections in twenty years were held, largely peacefully, in 2017. Under the terms of the constitution national elections need to be held in early 2018.
Please pray that the poor, disabled, and marginalised in Nepal are able to participate fully in their families and communities. Pray, too, that the Gospel will break down traditional barriers in society.
We are grateful to God for INF staff who have developed effective working relationships with government officials at all levels. Please pray for political stability at national and local level and that INF and its partners would continue to find favour in the eyes of officials as they work with the poor and marginalised in the west of Nepal.
Nepal - the church
Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10
INF has had close links with the church in Pokhara since it began in 1952. The Pokhara Christian Community has always appreciated the work of both Nepalis and missionaries towards the growth of God’s Kingdom.
ABOVE: Leaders from churches in Pokhara met to consider their vision for the future.
There is a strong sense of unity between the churches in Pokhara. In recent years, disasters and emergencies have provided them with more opportunities to work together. Now they have a fresh vision for the growing ministry of the Nepali church. They feel a responsibility to develop their own mission, reaching out to others both within Nepal and beyond. Nepali mission personnel will be recruited to reach out to other communities and to support local churches.
This is a huge undertaking but the leaders of the church recognise the challenges they face. Not only do they need new buildings and excellent management, they will have to recruit the right people, provide mission training, and make the whole project sustainable.
Please pray for the leadership of the Pokhara Christian Community as they share the vision locally, nationally, and internationally. Pray for success in building networks, both within and outside Nepal.
Pray for opportunities to forge links with churches in Nepal, existing training institutions, and the Government of Nepal. Pray that the necessary funds can be raised from within the church, from individuals, and internationally.
Pray for the recruitment of excellent managers for the various administrative functions. Pray too for skilled professionals such as teachers and agriculturalists willing to work as missionaries in remote areas. Pray for Abraham as he works with Nepalis in the UK and Europe.
Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11
INF’s Community Development work focuses on the poor, marginalised, disabled and disadvantaged people in remote and deprived areas. There are 145 Nepali staff and two expatriates working in Community Development.
ABOVE: Bajura is one of the most remote districts where INF works
Buddhi Thapa leads the work which is divided into four clusters. Ram Bahadur Sinjali heads up the Dang cluster [Dang, Rolpa, Kapilvastu]; Dhirendra Rai and Jeevan Giri are responsible for the Jumla cluster [Jumla, Surkhet, Kalikot]; Shyam BK overseas the work of Banke cluster [Banke, Mugu, Bajura]; Bishnu Giri is in charge of
Kaski cluster [Kaski, Gorkha, Baglung].
In order to serve these remote communities, staff often have to move away from family and friends, or make long and treacherous journeys.
BELOW: Buddhi Thapa; Ram Bahadur Sinjali; Bishnu Giri
We are grateful to God for the gifts and skills of our staff, from those working in the community to the managers and administrators. Please pray for the recruitment of skilled Christian staff who are willing to go and work in remote districts.
Please pray that caste barriers will continue to be broken down and that INF will be part of the process of helping people lift themselves out of poverty.
Barriers to Development
There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed towards your brothers and towards the poor and needy in your land. Deuteronomy 15:11
Life in Nepal is a hand-to-mouth existence for many people in remote districts. If they do own a small piece of land, the conditions often mean they can only grow enough food for part of the year. This results in people feeling the need to leave their family and migrate to India, or further afield, to earn money to send home. Migrants are often naïve about the difficulties and some are badly exploited. Women are sometimes tricked into being trafficked for the sex trade.
ABOVE: Neil May and Inge Bauman May; Thomas Meier and family
Girls are less likely to be educated than boys and in poorer communities, tend to be married young. They may well have their first child before they are 16. In some places they are confined to a chhaupadi hut during menstruation. This practice has been made illegal but it takes time for culture to change. Inge Baumann-May, INF’s Maternal and Child Health Advisor says, “I believe that
education and development will be a lot more effective [than legislation].”
Because of Nepal’s vulnerability to earthquakes, landslides and floods, there has always been a need to respond to disasters as part of INF’s work. Our dedicated team for this is led by Thomas Meier. They also help communities to prepare for disasters.
Please pray that our staff will be successful in helping communities to find more sustainable ways of living.
Please pray that women and girls will be valued for who they are. Pray too for better understanding of how the health of mothers
and their children can be improved.
Please pray that more communities can receive disaster resilience training so that they are better prepared when disasters strike.
Community based rehabilitation
When Jesus saw the people with leprosy, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. Luke 17:12
In Jumla, the Sabalata [Ability] Project is aiming to empower people with disabilities so that they have the same access to the benefits of development and services as able-bodied people. This is done by working with disabled people’s organisations, growing their ability to work with and for people with disabilities. The project also works in the community to help people with disabilities directly, and to increase the awareness of others about the kind of support they need.
ABOVE: Dhirendra Rai; Jeevan Giri
RIGHT: Participants in the Sabalata programme
In Raptipari, INF has established Village Disability and Rehabilitation Committees in order to improve the position of people with disabilities. Their members include disabled people, school teachers, and local offi cials. These committees encourage networking so that those who need help can get it.
As a result of this programme teachers have become more aware of the needs of children in their care, facilities were made more accessible, and a number of children were provided with crutches. Families with disabled children have been helped to improve their opportunities to improve their incomes. People are increasingly aware of Nepal’s disability ID card system which enables people to access various benefits such as a monthly allowance, discounts on public transport, or help with tuition fees. INF is actively helping people get their disability ID cards.
The lives of many disabled Nepalis are being transformed. We are grateful to God that INF is playing an active role in bringing about this change. Please pray that there will be an increasing understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities. Pray too for continuing opportunities to make adults and children aware of issues surrounding disability.
On the front line
He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ Matthew 20:7
Prem began working with INF after the devastating earthquakes of 2015. He grew up in a remote mountainous area of Pyuthan District in the Mid-West of Nepal before moving to Pokhara for his education.
He had already seen INF in action so, when he heard that INF was looking for staff for the Gorkha Rehabilitation and Community
Empowerment project Prem applied for the role of Community Based Rehabilitation Supervisor. He is now enjoying serving people with disabilities in ten remote wards in the Gorkha district.
Prem’s work involves modifying or building houses for people with disabilities, and rebuilding or refurbishing schools to make them disabled-friendly for the children. The project also helps by providing assistive devices, supporting income generation activities, and establishing self-help groups.
Prem says, “I am very happy working with INF, an organization with a great history and strong values. I’m particularly inspired when my role takes me to remote communities to work alongside those with disabilities. I feel the weight of responsibility and am encouraged to work harder. Seeing hope and happiness return to people’s lives through our support brings me enormous joy.
“I have always been inspired by how INF has lived out the teachings of Christ in their service to the community. It impacted me personally and I accepted Christ as my saviour ten years ago. Serving through INF is an opportunity to share God’s love, to live out the gospel through work, and obey God’s greatest commandment.”
We are grateful to God for staff like Prem who bring Christ’s love to the people we serve. Please pray that Prem and his colleagues will remain positive and inspired in what can be very challenging conditions.
Bajura and Kalikot
I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. Matt 25:35
INF works in the community by forming self-help groups, and the poorest people are prioritised. Our staff help each group to identify their needs by facilitating discussion, but the members themselves bring about change by using their own skills and resources. Staff provide leadership training so that the group is able to become completely independent from INF within a few years.
ABOVE: Shyam BK oversees the work of the Banke Cluster which includes Bajura
INF also provides some financial resources to the group such as seed capital for income generation. But group members will make a small regular contribution to a group fund which will help to pay for future projects. By the time the group becomes independent people will have learned how to access local resources from local government and the private sector.
Bajura is in the far west of Nepal and one of the poorest districts in the country. INF has established over 100 self-help groups in Bajura. Groups have made a variety of action plans including irrigation of crops, adopting better personal hygiene practices, and improving protection from disasters.
INF is beginning a new project in Kalikot, a remote and mountainous district in the north west of Nepal. It is one of the least developed parts of the country. Unemployment is high, hygiene and sanitation are poor and people find it difficult to feed their families. Literacy rates are low. Many women and babies die during childbirth.
We are grateful to God that the people of Bajura are developing new skills and improving their own quality of life. Please pray that those who can benefit from support for income generation will be identifi ed and receive appropriate training.
We are grateful to God for the opportunity to reach out to people in Kalikot - an area which is new to INF. Please pray for recruitment of the right staff, and that local people will engage enthusiastically with the self-help groups.
Built … with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. Ephesians 2:20
The first INF hospital in Pokhara in the 1950’s became known as the Shining Hospital because of the way the sun glinted off the tin roofs. Now that name has been revived and encompasses Green Pastures Hospital and the hospitals in Banke and Surkhet. The name is a reminder that the goal of our work is to see the light of Christ shine on all who come. The department is overseen by Dr Dipak Marharjan [Medical Director] and Dhaka Ram Budha Magar [Operations Director].
BELOW: Dr Dipak Maharjan; Dhaka Ram Budha Magar
In Nepal, people with conditions such as leprosy, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy and other disabilities are often seen as cursed and actively excluded from society. The goal is for the Shining Hospitals to be Christ-centred centres of excellence for patients with these “cursed diseases”. They will be a leading examples of best practice in patient care and become a training centres for doctors to learn about medical care in the light of a Christian ethos. At Green Pastures Hospital the aim is to care for the whole person. To that end, a chapel will be built where the spiritual needs of patients can be met.
We are grateful to God for the vision of the leadership of Green Pastures Hospital and the wonderful improvements made over the past year. Please pray for the resources to continue turning the vision into reality.
Please pray that the remaining funds needed to complete the building of the chapel will be found.
GReen Pastures Hospital Staff
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3:23
Green Pastures Hospital was begun as a leprosy hospital, but its work now also includes the treatment of people with other disabilities. After the earthquakes of 2015, some of the old buildings were no longer fit for patients. As part of a long-term development, the hospital has undergone major restoration and renovation during the past year, and now has some of the best equipped facilities in western Nepal. A new Development Director, Dr Geoff Ibbotson, will take the lead on all the current and future developments at the hospital. It is hoped that within two years it will have grown from 70 to 100 beds.
Green Pastures Hospital has an experienced team of surgeons and medics: Dr Nirmal Thapa [Consultant Ear Surgeon], Dr Subin Byanjankar [Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon], Dr Suman Tamang [Consultant General Practitioner], Dr Bibek Ranjitkar [Anaesthesiologist], Dr Ramesh Sharma [Consultant Dermatologist], Dr Prakash Karki [Senior Medical Officer], Dr Himal Paudel [Medical Officer], and Dr Prem Bahadur Bhujel [Medical Officer]. Dr Mike Smith also spends sixth months each year at the hospital’s Ear Centre. The nursing team is led by Karuna Tamang Gurung.
The Pokhara Study Centre has reopened with two teachers and 11 students. It provides education for the children of staff and it is hoped this will help attract more doctors.
ABOVE LEFT: Nursing team at Green Pastures
BELOW LEFT: Geoff Ibbotson; Mike Smith
We are grateful to God that Green Pastures Hospital is able to remain adaptable to the changing needs of Nepali society. Please
pray for the doctors and nursing staff
We are grateful to God that Mike now has a visa. Please pray that patients become more accepting of treatment from our Nepali doctors, rather than waiting for Mike’s availability.
Consideration is being given to expanding the school. Please pray that God will make clear what the correct decision is, and that teachers will come and serve.
GReen Pastures Ear Centre and Camps
At the present time your plenty will supply what they need. 2 Corinthians 8:14
The Ear Centre is acquiring a reputation as a specialist training centre in Nepal. It is managed by Eka Dev Devkota.
Due to visa problems last year, far fewer operations were carried out than had been anticipated, but thousands of outpatients were seen.
Eka Dev and his team also run the medical camps for Green Pastures. Medical teams visit areas where people find it difficult to get the treatment they need.
Dr Shirley Heywood runs camps for women with obstetric fistula. Sandra Chinnery has volunteered on these for many years. Her husband James is now seconded to UMN.
Please pray that the families who bring their children to the cerebral palsy camps will be encouraged as they learn how to help them. Pray too that the raw materials needed to make prostheses will be available easily.
Please pray for the safety of staff as they travel to remote districts to conduct medical camps. Pray that many people will experience improved hearing as a result of the ear camps held at Green Pastures by Mike Smith and his team.
Please pray that women will hear about the gynaecology and fistula camps, and that Shirley Heywood’s surgical skills will improve the lives of many.
FAR LEFT TOP: Eka Dev Devkota
FAR LEFT BOTTOM: Dr Shirley Heywood
LEFT TOP: A team en route to a medical camp
BOTTOM LEFT: Sandra with a patient
GReen Pastures Departments
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace. Isaiah 55:12
Khadga Singh Gurung is head of the physiotherapy department at Green Pastures. He provides high quality physiotherapy for patients, and makes sure they are followed up when they are discharged. He is responsible for the twice-yearly cerebral palsy camps. Dhan Prasad Nepali is one of a team of six people who make orthopaedic appliances.
Each artificial limb, brace, or mobility device is custom-made for the person who needs it. Then the rehabilitation team works with the patient to help them make best use of it.
The Social Services team provide education and counselling to patients to help them adjust to their new situations. There is now a specialist palliative care nurse, Purna Maya, who works both in the hospital and in the community.
Patients with disabilities are often very poor. The aim is that the hospital’s Poor Fund will mean that no-one will be turned away because they cannot afford to pay. At the moment the hospital is reliant on external funding, but the ambition is that, with various income generation schemes, it can reduce its dependence on Western donors.
At the moment the farm, coffee shop, and pharmacy are providing some income.
TOP LEFT: Purna Maya
BOTTOM LEFT: Khagda Singh Gurung; Dhan Prasad Nepali
Please pray that the counsellors will have wisdom and be able to provide the right kind of counselling for each person they see.
Please pray for relief from pain for the palliative care patients, and that Purna will be able to help them to find the peace of God which passes understanding.
Please pray for wisdom as the leaders of INF Nepal consider options for increasing the income of Green Pastures Hospital.
Shining Hospital Banke and Surkhet
The kingdom of heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Matthew 10:7-8
Rajendra Sunar is the manager responsible for the Shining Hospital branches in Banke and Surkhet. They primarily treat people with leprosy and disabilities. Staff help patients get specialist support so they can improve their mobility, manage their own conditions and return home to their families. Between them, Banke and Surkhet saw around 14,000 outpatients last year and 300 people were admitted to the hospitals.
LEFT: Rajendra Sunar
Please pray that the hospitals in Banke and Surkhet will have all the equipment they need to provide the best possible care to their patients.
We are grateful to God for the dedication of the staff. Please pray that they will be able to keep their knowledge and skills up to date.
Supporting Government Health Services
The kingdom of heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Matthew 10:7-8
As well as providing care through its own clinics, INF also supports Government health services in other hospitals. In Nepalgunj, our partner organisation SSS, a small group of Christian Nepalis, provide support for patients of Bheri Zonal Hospital and their families.
Shirley Heywood is INF’s gynaecologist and works at Mid-West Regional Hospital in Surkhet. A dedicated centre to treat women with obstetric fistula is being built and it is hoped the first patients will be seen in April.
LEFT: Bishnu and Indira [two members of the SSS team]
Please pray that those cared for by SSS will recognise the love of Christ through their compassion.
Please pray for the success of the fistula centre and that increasing numbers of women will be helped during the course of the year.
DAYS 30 AND 31
Please pray that the health services in Banke and Surkhet will be seen as a vital and integral part of the Shining Hospital.