“Can you help us?” Jonathan, the project coordinator for Oon Jai Foundation, asked me. “In our location,* hospitals are a place where people go to die, not to get help.”
He explained how they had recently lost two friends to cases of asthma and hives—easily-treatable conditions.
“We have people who are willing to be trained to help those in their villages. Natural remedies would go a long way in saving lives there,” Jonathan continued.
So, a team of Hartland students, staff, and alumni partnered with Oon Jai and ASAP Ministries to plan an intensive health blitz for December 2019. While there, we trained 27 students from many different villages in massage, hydrotherapy, home remedies, CPR, and prenatal nutrition and lifestyle. We were also able to treat some of their immediate needs as we taught them. It was so rewarding to see their eagerness to learn!
“I will take this to my village and use it to help my neighbors,” each one responded. Several of them are the only Christians in their villages or families, so we know this will be an opening wedge for the gospel.
I realized something important during this trip: The most powerful impact resulted, not from what we did, but from the spirit with which we did it. We couldn’t preach because we were in a closed country; yet a Buddhist friend later reported, “We couldn’t speak each other’s languages, but they spoke to me with their eyes.” Jonathan also told us, “Out of all the groups that have come and helped us, nobody has connected so much with our local people as your Hartland team. The people felt you truly cared for them.”
On Sundays, we taught English and simple natural remedies to children in a nearby village. Later, a 19-year-old boy who participated in these classes sent Rachel a message on Facebook: “Teacher, what are you doing?” She told him that she was studying the book of Daniel and learning to see Jesus throughout it. “Can you tell me about Jesus sometime?” he asked.
We can’t share openly about Jesus in our project location, but through social media we can share a lot! I pray that God will turn the connections we made into more opportunities to share about Him.
We are already planning a follow-up trip for December 2020. Please pray with us for God’s continued blessing!
*To ensure the safety of Oon Jai’s work, this country cannot be identified.