“I see lots of people suffer and die because of various kinds of sicknesses,” says pastor Ganesh, who serves in an area surrounded by rural villages in great need of medical help. “Most of the people where I work are from very poor families.”
During his more than 13 years of serving the Lord, Ganesh became intimately acquainted with suffering. He sat by many deathbeds. He prayed over many people desperate for healing. Seeing men, women and children made in the image of God but crippled by sickness burdened the pastor’s heart. He knew that many of the illnesses rural families suffered were treatable, even preventable. He wanted to help those in the surrounding communities live longer, healthier lives. He wanted people to live long enough to hear about the new life offered in Jesus.
Health Care Out of Reach for Rural Poor
Where Ganesh serves, remote villages are scattered about, loosely connected by crumbling country roads. These villages, separated by a patchwork of farms, do not have any medical facilities. The nearest health center is 12 miles away, and the nearest hospital is 40. The primary mode of transportation for these villagers is walking. Most residents are too poor to own a vehicle, and public transportation on these back roads is unreliable and expensive, costing up to one third of a day’s wage. So most people just don’t get care when they are sick.
Transportation is not the only hindrance to the sick seeking medical treatment. Most people work as day laborers. Missing work means missing that day’s pay—and maybe that day’s meal. And if someone finally goes to a health center? The doctor visits and medications must be paid for out-of-pocket. Selling land or farm animals to pay for doctor visits and treatments often sinks a family into greater poverty.