INDIA (INS)—Medical ministries of indigenous missions based in India are providing physical and spiritual healing with compassion to hundreds of needy people.
Peace Ministries India is a newer Intercede International partner mission based in Andhra Pradesh that reaches out to people with leprosy, AIDS and other diseases. PMI started its Leprosy Ministry in 2002. People with leprosy are often stigmatized and isolated. There can be medical help if the disease caught and treated early. However, most of the lepers that come to PMI have lost fingers and toes and are disfigured, explains PMI leader Dileep Raaja Donepudi.
PMI currently ministers to a group of 50 lepers, men, women and children, who wander from place to place without a permanent home. Their need for love and fellowship is just as great as their need for food and shelter. Few have compassion on them. But when the lepers come to PMI they are shown love and concern for their lives. Staff members are not afraid to hug them, for there is emotional healing in the touch, says Donepudi.
Over the years, PMI has conducted more than 100 programs for lepers. At each program, they are given bags of rice, new clothes, a fellowship meal and a small amount of cash for their travel. Despite their disease, they worship the Lord with songs and thanksgiving in their hearts.
Annamma was one woman who faithfully came to PMI leprosy programs. She took the time to talk to the director like he was her son, reports Donepudi. “She would say, ‘Dileep, I am praying for you, I am praying for your ministry. God will be with you and if you stay strong in the Lord, you will see many miracles.’ Annamma went home to be with the Lord in 2010.”
Free Medical Camp Ministry
PMI has conducted many free medical camps in slum and tribal rural areas. PMI also presents free medical camps in areas where there are no hospitals or ambulance services. Without these camps, many would suffer without any medical intervention. For more than 10 years, doctor teams have voluntarily given of their time and resources, to help the poorest of the poor through PMI.
When a natural calamity strikes, whether it be a flood or typhoon, it is the poor people without a strong residence who suffer the most, reports Donepudi. There are about 50 such villages around PMl that are prone to such calamities. PMI arranges free medical camps in the affected areas to prevent the spread of contagious diseases.
On June 6, 2012, PMI organized a special Darkness To Light eye camp for the rural poor on its premises. As a result more than 300 people were tested and 200 villagers—Hindus, Muslims and Christians —received free eye surgeries, and prescription glasses as needed. The cost of this camp was underwritten by Canadian friends and partners.
“Many could only express their joy of receiving their sight with tears,” explains Donepudi. “One Hindu shortly after his surgery said that he wanted to accept Jesus as Saviour and receive baptism. Not only did he receive physical sight but spiritual sight as well. Praise the Lord!
“We have conducted free medical ministries in a local prison with volunteer doctors, which gives an opportunity for our pastoral team to present the Gospel and pray for those who request prayer,” Donepudi reports. “We have also organized free surgeries with the help of Sankara Eye Hospital. Our part is to arrange for the venue, give the volunteer medical team and people that attend a meal, and provide free eyeglasses. I am very happy to say that there are many elderly people able to see the world with their own eyes now with the blessings of the Lord. Usually this is done every five years. The next eye surgery medical program will be in 2019.”
The first cases of HIV were reported in India in 1986. Today more than two million are affected by this disease. “For people living with HIV/AIDS, it is like a living death not only physically but emotionally,” writes Donepudi. “Many face painful rejection from society, even from their own families. As a result, many keep their status secret. PMI is generating a ray of hope in the community to HIV/AIDS patients, by giving their lives a little more encouragement, hope and joy through fellowship, prayer, food and clothing.”
In December 2016, Intercede first assisted PMI with providing help to people with AIDS and children of parents who had AIDS.
“There is no need to buy the medicines as the government is distributing AIDS medicines free of cost,” explains Donepudi. “But we need nutritious food to work with the medicines to extend their lives. Please fill their stomachs and increase their lifetimes by providing food for them. Each program is approximately $1,340 to meet the costs of rice, other nutritious food material and new clothes. Now we are doing this project three times a year as per the availability of funds. We would like to be able to increase the programs to once a month as funding becomes available.”
PMI would like to build a hospice for people with AIDS. “This is very sad to inform you that no one will give their house to rent for AIDS victims,” Donepudi reports. “Even their family members also don’t entertain them in their own houses. If we construct a hospice for HIV and AIDS victims, they can stay there in their last days.”
PMI also has a Widows’ Ministry and a shelter for some widows. PMI provides the widows at the shelter with a loving home, food, clothing and basic medical care.
Testimonies of Healing
Bombay Revival Prayer Band, based in the vast city of Mumbai, runs a medical centre in the slum area of Baiganwadi, about 12 km from its mission office. The centre is staffed by a Christian doctor, nurse and pharmacist, who provide free treatment and medicine to the sick. Clinic staff share Christ and give Gospel literature to each patient. The ministry purchased an ambulance in 2007.
A dedicated team of missionaries goes regularly to the general hospitals in the city to visit sick patients by their bedsides, reports BPB. They present a word of hope, compassion and the love of Jesus, and pray for the healing of the patients. Some are receptive to the Word of God, and receive healing.
BPB also runs a Ministry Among Lepers, in which the Gospel is carried every month to four local leper colonies, in which several people afflicted by leprosy have received salvation.
Besides the medical ministry, BPB missionaries pray for healing for people who come to their churches. Here are two testimonies of healing reported by BPB:
Sister Banarasi Gupta, aged about 45 years, had been a Hindu and a devout one. She lives in Mankhurd where one of our BPB Churches is located. Her husband was sick and a doctor had advised to amputate his leg. In her despair she prayed to her gods and visited various Hindu temples, but he did not get any better. Someone told her to go to church and pray to Jesus. She came seeking to our church, and Pastor Sanjay visited her home and prayed for him. God touched him, and the doctor said that no amputation is required. Sister Banarasi continues to attend Church with her family and she has accepted Jesus as her Lord, and was water baptized. She and her family are having strong faith and standing as a testimony in the face of opposition from her community.
BPB’s Pastor Chandra Kumar reported: “After visiting a village for many months and sharing the Gospel, the family of Wangat opened their house for us to enter and pray for his sick wife, named Lalitha. He himself is sickly, but allowed us to speak to his wife and pray for her. She was suffering from pain, ulcers and wheezing for almost 10 years. The Lord graciously healed her, and now she is free from pain. She received Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour, and was water baptized. Her husband has destroyed all the idols and pictures in his house and given up drinking. The family is attending prayer cells regularly. Praise God!”
Thank the Lord for the opportunities these ministries have found to share God’s love and healing power with the people of India.
Photo: A BPB missionary baptizes Lalitha Wangat, who was healed after BPB Pastor Chandra Kumar prayed for her.