Holistic Care in Central Asia
In this Central Asian country, the welcoming hearts of the people are as beautiful as the snow frosted, rock faced mountains that cover much of the country, but the road to them accepting the gospel can seem as impassible as the paths through these same mountains.
With persistent demonstration of love for God and love for them, and invitations to read and hear the way of grace from the prophets in the Holy Book, we want to see not only individuals understand Father’s lavish grace in Jesus, but also families and communities accepting His love and gathering to follow Him. Along with simply entering into life with friends and neighbors, the medical work at the clinic allows opportunities to both demonstrate love and sow seeds of truth.
Being the primary referral center in the country for complicated retinal disease opens many doors to sow seeds widely. Patients come from villages across the country. At times we later have the opportunity to go to their homes and villages to visit, sharing stories from the Holy Book and getting to know not only them, but family, friends, and relatives. One of our physicians goes with a team weekly to Gypsy villages and by opening doors through advice on eye and general health problems are able to read stories from the Holy Book. The gypsies are an unreached group known only as beggars and looked down on by the other people groups here. For over a year they have had small groups in two villages reading and discussing God’s grace and love for them and the freedom from shame they can have through Jesus.
Partnering with local churches and leaders in village outreach projects has been another way of reaching out. I still remember one of our first projects – two days visiting a couple villages in the north of the country. In the evening, after giving glasses to over 100 people, four of us were sitting in a room: a woman tormented with fears and nightmares, her relative from the city who was a believer, the pastor we were partnering with, and myself. As I heard this woman’s story and the pastor speak of the love, peace, and hope that Jesus brings, I thought that if 2 days, a 6 hour drive, and 100 pairs of glasses will open doors for even one opportunity to facilitate the gospel spoken into a broken heart that has never heard, it’s a great investment. This woman received God’s love that day and a few months later the pastor returned to the same village with another friend to train teachers in the school and saw several others trust in Jesus.
- The believers like our head nurse, “Kind-Heart”, and administrator, “Star”, being trained in disciple multiplication principles and stepping out in the relationships provided by the clinic to pray, share, and invite patients to take further steps toward hearing the incredible news of God’s grace.
- One of our Muslim medical trainees seeing how different the compassion shown is compared to other places she has worked: listening to patients, taking time to teach them about their disease, and praying with them. After a few weeks she was eagerly asking if we can do studies from the Holy Book on forgiveness, love and other topics she had heard us talk about and was seeing lived out.
- The new guard who joined us in a day of praying for wisdom on resolving an issue with the ministry of health that could close the clinic. He saw the staff praising not complaining, seeking to honor authorities not put them down. Since that day he has been open to beginning reading stories from the Holy Book together regularly and has said he wants to tell them to his wife.
These are just drops compared to the flow of living water we want to see Father pour out into hearts in Central Asia. Pray with us that He will give the love, perseverance, and wisdom to continue living out His character and speaking the light in ways people here can see and understand.
By: Worker in Central Asia