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JL's Journal

November 19, 2014

 

3 WEEKS IN ASIA

Part 5

HOLY PALACE HOSPITAL

Naxalbari, India"

“May God Himself…sanctify you entirely.
May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

(I Thessalonians 5:23)

 
Dr S. S. Rai and the staff of the Holy Palace Hospital.

Dear Ministry Partners,

   The words above by the Apostle Paul could easily summarize the spiritual and medical philosophy of Dr. Suresh Rai and the “Holy Palace Hospital” he founded over 2 decades ago. It also represents our life-long commitment to holistic ministry and missions. That’s because God is concerned about the whole person – not just his spirit or soul. 


Dr. Rai praying with a patient for God's total healing.

   Unfortunately, most physicians, whether in America, Asia, Africa or any other country, only treat part of the person – not the whole person. The medical treatment only deals with the “fruit” of the problem rather than the “root” of the problem. That’s one of the reasons there is so much chronic sickness in people‘s lives. According to Paul’s words through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we are all tripartite beings who are spirit, soul and body. Or to express it more correctly: “We are a spirit that has a soul that lives in a body.”

   Because of that Biblical conviction, I have often summarized our ministry and mission philosophy this way: “We believe in the whole Gospel for the whole man by the whole church to the whole world.”  And anything less than that is a truncated Gospel!

   Properly understood, then, there is no division between the so-called “Spiritual Gospel” and the “Social Gospel.” They are two sides to the same theological coin. Like faith and works, they cannot be separated. One is our “right foot” and the other is our “left foot.” To try and walk on one without the other is to go nowhere fast, but when used in Biblical balance, there is forward and upward momentum.

   I believe that one of the reasons God sovereignly connected me with Dr. Rai nearly two decades ago is because we share this holistic ministry philosophy.  After his dramatic conversion to Christ, he left his successful and lucrative Medical practice in the larger cities of West Bengal and started to minister to the poorest of the poor. To do this more effectively, he sold his tea plantation and bought land to begin his “bush hospital” – where he has been ministering ever since – primarily to the thousands of Nepalis who work the tea plantations in the area. 

   The Holy Palace Hospital is on the outside of a small Indian town known as Naxalbari in Darjeeling, India. At the time he began his medical ministry in this area, it was a hotbed of radical Marxism, Communism and terrorism. The dominant religions were Hindu fundamentalism and tribal animism. In spite of the dangers and constant threats, Dr. Rai stuck it out. Across the years his compassionate holistic medical ministry has earned him great respect among the people – from the high caste … to the low caste … no caste … and outcaste.

 
The male and female inpatient wards at Holy Palace Hospital.


Dr Rai also trains nurses to work as health professionals in other
rural "bush clinics", where they go regularly to hold medical camps.

   Dr. Rai is a Medical Doctor in the order of Doctor Luke in the New Testament.  He has the heart of a doctor as well as that of an evangelist and church-planter.  He is also ordained as a minister.

 
Dr Rai mentors his staff spiritually as well as medically, through
morning and evening devotions and daily chapel at the Hospital.

   Through the years, God has allowed us to partner with Dr. Rai and help him upgrade and expand his hospital facility. We also have helped recruit short-term medical teams from America to go in and work alongside him. 

   Our latest project this past year was to help him build a new Out Patient Clinic. This enabled him to separate outpatients from those needing inpatient hospitalization.

 

 

 

KINGDOM ENTREPRENEURS

   It has also been a joy to see Dr. Rai, his wife Mary, their son, Johny and his wife, Angie, develop various income-generating ministries. Through their pharmacy, Christian Book Store and Craft Store, they are generating funds to help support their medical ministry.

 
Johny & Angie stand in their Christian Book Store.  Johny also serves as
Administrator of the Hospital. At right is pictured the pharmacy that helps
with their self-support.

 
Angie in the new Craft Store that she is developing.

   Once the Out Patient Clinic was completed and dedicated, we turned to refurbishing the current hospital – beginning with the badly rusted metal roofs. In the pictures below you can see the before and after pictures of the roofing project that has just been completed.

BEFORE…

 

AFTER…

 
The new rust-proof-for-life metal we helped purchase. Dr. Rai prays
for himself and his workers as they begin to put on the new roof.

 
Because Dr. Rai's father was in the lumber business, he grew up
learning how to build. So he is a bi-vocational doctor-carpenter!
Doing all of the work themselves saved a lot of money on the
renovation project.

 
The completed Hospital roof in back of the new Out Patient Clinic.


It was a joy to see the completed roof on my visit this trip!
No more ugly rust or leaks!

   After the Hospital Roof was completed, they turned their attention to the 6 Agape Homes we built a decade ago. They too were very rusted because of the long periods of rain and moisture during the annual monsoons.

 
The old and new roofs side by side.

 

 
The roofing project for the Hospital and 6 Agape Homes cost $8,000, generously
donated by a Family Foundation in Charlotte, NC.

   Now that these main buildings have been re-roofed, there are several other buildings that also need new roofs. We are praying for a gift of $3,500 to re-roof these buildings pictured below. Then the Hospital Campus will be completed.

 
On the left is the Hospital Canteen, and on the right is the Isolation Ward.

 
The Staff Dining Hall and Staff House.

SWEATING FOR JESUS

  Because of the failed Tibet trip, I was able to have two extra workdays at Holy Palace. We primarily did some much-needed renovations on the Agape Homes that are used for foreign medical workers who come short-term, as well as for "well to do" patients who want more privacy - which also generates funds to help support the Hospital.

 
Closing in the eaves with wire mesh to keep out the pigeons, and making
screens to keep out flies and mosquitoes.

  
Painting and repairing doors, and tiling the bathrooms.

   We bought some local baskets in the nearby market to use in decorating the Agape Homes. This is where I needed Patt to help out since she has great taste in decorating using local materials!


Buying and using these baskets was especially meaningful to me
since we built a church for these simple basket makers years ago.
They are considered some of the lowest caste people. We
appropriately called it the "Basket Church."

 

AGRICULTURAL MINISTRY

   One of the other important areas of partnership with Dr. Rai and his son, Johny, is gardening. In order to help them grow nourishing fresh vegetables to eat and sell, we introduced the “Bucket Drip Irrigation” kits provided by our friends at Chapin Living Water. It has been exciting to see several gardens on the Hospital Compound developed as I have taught the staff this simple – but revolutionary – method of gardening.

 

 

 

 

FROM PHYSICAL GARDENING TO SPIRITUAL GARDENING

   Because I had expected to be in Tibet on Sunday, I had the unexpected opportunity to worship with Dr. Rai and his staff at the Hospital Chapel. Since building this chapel was one of our early projects with Dr. Rai, it was a joy to preach there again – having had the privilege of doing so a number of times across the years. Dr. Rai presided, Johny led the praise and worship and I preached the Word.

  

 

   The following morning we had just enough time to attend the morning chapel with the staff and nursing students before rushing to the airport for our flight to Kolkata.

 
Jack Franck, my traveling associate, shared his testimony with the nurses and staff.


We presented the nurses with new white hose,
generously given by a friend who produces hosiery in NC.

 
Dr Rai sent us off with the traditional Nepali "Shawl of Honor."


A final embrace before leaving for the airport - reminding us that
building covenant relationships is the essence of our 
calling, because God is a relational God!

CONCLUSIONS

   We covet your prayers and partnership for our on-going holistic co-ministry with Dr. Rai and Holy Palace Hospital. We need your continued financial help to make more renovations and additions to their Medical Campus.

   Also, if you are a Medical Professional and would be interested in going to Holy Palace for short-term Medical Ministry, please contact us. We have nice, comfortable “Agape Homes” for you to stay in. Working alongside Dr. Rai, you would have the opportunity to give much-needed medical help in the love and compassion of the Lord Jesus. And as a result, neither you nor they will ever be the same!

In His Holistic Love,

JL

 

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