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Bringing Holistic Care in India

It was an average day in a slum clinic in India. Patients came to be seen for various ailments, most of which comprised of  diarrhoea, upset stomachs, low weight, poor nutrition and worms. That is until one woman walked in with her daughter and sat down in front of me. The mother told me that their problem was that they were too big and needed to lose weight. Although it was a true case of obesity, the condition that made my heart go out to this woman was the huge amount of shame that she was not only carrying herself, but passing onto her daughter as well. Because healthy food is often expensive in India, most slum communities survive on a diet of mostly rice.  It can be tough to get variety in the diet, but not impossible. I was able to educate this woman and give her some strategies of how she could adjust her diet. However, I knew the education alone wouldn’t help heal her hurt and broken identity. I asked her if she thought she was beautiful, and she laughed at me and said “No.” So I began to tell her about the beauty I saw on both the outside and inside of  her and her daughter. I went on to tell her what Jesus would say to her about her beauty. It was a privilege seeing both of them smile genuinely as they listened to me and heard the truth. After they left, the pastor that was hosting us came up to me and told me that the woman had asked if they could take me home.   I was reminded of the light, truth and hope each of us carry into these environments as health care workers who love God.  Why wouldn’t people want to take the light they see in us into their households? The light of Jesus is so beautiful, and we get to represent  him every time we do these clinics.

(A story from Vanessa Brown, a past student of the Medical Missions School)