Pauline and Ian Jepps from Horsham are volunteer speakers with The Leprosy Mission. As the Mission thought it valuable that speakers should have a first- hand knowledge of what happens in the field, they travelled to Nepal last autumn
ALONG WITH JENNY Hawke from their church, Ian and Pauline joined a group that flew out to Kathmandu to be based at Anandaban Hospital. Anandaban means ‘Forest of Joy’ as the hospital was allocated a forested site on a steep hillside some distance outside the capital at an altitude of 5500ft, a climb of 354 steps! Ian explains, “The remote location reflected the stigma that leprosy attracted and that is still present in many parts of the world today.”
Each day started with group prayers before the climb to the hospital, no mean feat as many of the group were in their 60s and 70s. A day of meeting and serving staff and patients followed, listening to their stories. The hospital provides reconstructive surgery on hands, feet and faces damaged by leprosy as well as general treatment for leprosy related problems. Some members were privileged to watch operations involving state of the art surgery.
For visitors from a UK church, it was exciting to see Christianity spreading through care and compassion. Ian commented: “It was evident that the love of Jesus shown through the selfless care of the staff has drawn many into the Christian faith. Nepal is said to have the fastest growing church in the world!”
Pauline and Ian would welcome invitations to share their experiences with church and non-church groups. Please call the office at Brighton Road Baptist Church for contact details on 01403 211150.