Serving a Global Community

I want to share with my readers a recent experience I had in rural India.

Visions for Villages is not affiliated with any religious organization, and we provide our services to communities independent of their religious beliefs. But in 2012, we shared common ground with a local group from my home church – the Sunnyvale Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Although not involved in any acitivities associated with Visions for Villages, this church chose to serve another small, rural village called Mawpun, in the same region of Meghalaya, India.

I am originally from Meghalaya and I had the honor of helping to coordinate and participate in this project with the teams from the U.S. and India, and I personally witnessed the loving and generous spirit of both teams.

Some highlights of the events in Mawpun during the course of our visit were:

  • The hosting of a medical camp where local doctors and a dentist from the surrounding areas volunteered their services over a two-day period to help the village. These doctors worked tirelessly and saw about 700 patients over two days, averaging over 110 patients per doctor per day!
  • Prescription medicines were arranged by our team in India, and provided at no cost to the village residents who came for medical help. This was very much appreciated as medication is prohibitively expensive and would have caused the villagers undue hardship to purchase. 

  • Donated prescription eyeglasses were provided on a first-come, first-served basis. People flocked to take advantage of this service and the number of glasses allocated per day for distribution were gone within the first few hours. 

  • The U.S. team presented health seminars in tandem with the medical camp, teaching adults and children alike about the health hazards of alcohol and tobacco, as well as principles of cleanliness and healthy living.

  • Local government officials from the agriculture and horticulture departments visited for a question-and-answer session with the residents of the village. Discussions included how to optimize the cultivation of paddy, ginger, pineapple, potatoes, carrots and more, as well as how to improve their current pest control processes. As a result of this discourse, the villagers were given a point of contact for future issues and questions. Additionally, the local agricultural department will be providing special hybrid peach trees to these residents, free of charge, to help them bring in additional revenue for their families.

  • The team also fund-raised for the building of a small parsonage which will better enable the pastor of the Mawpun church to continue to serve the community.

  • Each household in the village received a warm blanket and a new Bible in the local language. (This region already has a high Christian population so the new Bibles were much appreciated).

We have received much feedback from the region, and clearly the services provided left an impression of goodwill on the community. This is because the services were given with love and respect for the local people, and without expectations.

Additionally, I cannot say enough of the local team in India who were involved with this project. Some of them spent the cold November nights sleeping on the cement floors of the small Mawpun church, guarding the medicines and supplies that were being stored for the medical camp.

Everyone literally poured out their time and effort on this village, many at considerable hardship to themselves and their families.

As for the other team members and myself, we were blessed by this experience because we truly connected with the local people, and fell in love with them in a way that we never expected.

At the same time we saw the love of God manifested repeatedly through the graciousness and goodness of both the people who were helped, and those involved in carrying out this project. 

I would like to conclude with a favorite quote by Mother Teresa:

“The success of love is in the loving – it is not the result of loving. Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done.”

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