Our responsibility to a needy world

Hello everyone!  I did not have much time last Sunday to share
what I felt I had learnt from last week’s services.  Our minister Shaun led the communion service
in the morning, which I found encouraging. 
He reminded us that all of us fall short of our calling in Jesus, when
we make mistakes, let him down and hurt others. 
He told us that we are now living in the kingdom of God and not live in
dread of future judgement, as each day as we live in the light of Jesus we
recognise what we have done wrong, say we are sorry and move on in faith with
him.  He reminded us that small as we
are, we can make a difference and even more so in the age of the internet.  He explained how he played his part in making
a difference in international situations, when he supported petitions set up by
organisations such as AVAAZ, which appeal for signatures to further publicise
situations such as GAZA, where we were encouraged to call for a ceasefire; and
the election of President Barak Obama, where we were asked to contribute to an
advertising campaign to draw his attention to certain issues.  The latter did make a difference, Barak Obama
included the poor and marginalised in his country in his inaugural speech, which
he had not initially intended to do.  I always
sign up in support of AVAAZ’s petitions in the hope of making a difference as
well.

 

Last Sunday the evening service was a
circuit service, so I decided to go, although I prefer to relax with my beloved
at home in the evening.  It was a very
interesting as we had a Nigerian evening, led by our deacon David Hunt and his
wife Rev. Gail Hunt, who is a minister in Knaresborough; we sang African songs
and we gave our money by going out to the front to put our offerings in the
collection basket, and even danced round the church when we were singing one of
the songs, which was ‘We are marching in the love of God’ I think.  Gail had gone out to Nigeria to work
on a project which their church supported called EDAWU.  It is a mental health care community which
has been set up there to rehabilitate those suffering from mental health
problems; it was terrible to learn that before the centre had been set up those
with mental health problems could have been chained up outside their villages and
fed on scraps thrown to them, rejected by their families or left wandering
around the streets with no home.  Many of
those suffering from mental health problems were in a terrible state of health
when rescued and before they could be helped with their mental health problems
they had to be physically restored to health. 

Gail showed us slides of her eventful
journey to the centre; apparently the bus driver drove them to 20 miles from
the centre and made them get out, as he had to return home!!  He pointed them in the direction of the
bishop’s house and left them to carry their suitcases and equipment with to the
bishop’s, who fortunately was happy to put them up until further transport
could be arranged. 

Gail pointed out how the facilities such as
the water pump at the centre were also used by local villagers.  The villagers were educated about mental
health problems being an illness and helped to understand them rather than
stigmatising them or abuse them.

 

I was thrilled to hear how all those
suffering from mental health could be restored to health, even if it meant
taking medication to keep them well, and often reintegrated with their families
and home villages.  A psychiatric nurse
would go round villages administering medication to those who needed it.  Even those whose families could not be found
had a settled home at the centre helping new patients as they arrived and
helping teach them skills for survival. 
I feel I am fortunate indeed to have had a breakdown in this country,
which provides so much help and support to me to restore me to health and
enable me to work again.  I am so glad
that now mental health patients have begun to get the help they need and
deserve to lead a more normal life with their families and contributing to the
life of the villages.  The former
patients are trained and equipped with skills to enable them to earn their own
living.  It was also explained that such
projects have a partnership and links with the NHS, which allow NHS staff to
contribute to improve healthcare in such countries.  Such links motivate staff to enlarge their
experience, sharpen their skills and help retain them within each country’s
National Health Service; the benefits are clearly felt by both English and
overseas partners.  It is so important, I
feel to work with local people to lead them to become self sufficient in their
country, so that they can continue to treat, rehabilitate, and restore those
with mental health issues to a productive life with their families in their
villages.

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