Saturday, January 28, 2012

Peter in Chennai!

Have been in Chennai for the last one week getting a hang of the world of IV drug abuse at the TTK hospital.
Amazing experience it has been.It's like getting into a whole new world which you did not even know existed.
TTK itself is a story of courage of a young women who lost her husband to alcohol and went on to get herself trained in United States in the field of de-addiction and pioneered this work in Chennai.Backed by the industries, owned by the family she built the infrastructure which does research,trains and is a blessing to a steady stream of individuals who avail the services.
We were being trained to be trainers for the medical staff in the NACP owned TIs all over the region.The lectures we attended were engaging with amazing participation from the trainees who face this problem every day of their lives.There were a whole chunk of people from the northeast where the IV drug abuse is a major problem ,Mumbai,and the central India.
One thing that was very cleverly outlined was the trend of drug users in the city of Chennai.There was a lot of referance to the Heroin story.The heroin market in the city according to them, was predominantly monpolised by the sri-lankan Tamils.Immediately after the assasination of Rajiv Gandhi, when the LTTE went underground,the heroin  dissappeared from the market in Chennai and the hospitals were flooded with heroin addicts coming in with withdrawals.This was the time when huge number of these addicts were placed on oral substitution which is slowly gaining credibilty with the national programme as well.Amazing story I thought.Today,while visiting the only TI in the city of Chennai,the counsellor was telling us how IV drugs are no more a problem in the city eversince Rajiv Gandhi's assasination and I was thinking to myself that things are never as simple as it seems .
We saw drug users running the programme successfully.Some of the peer counsellors were drug users themselves.One of them came up and introduced himself to us in a drug haze.He was  thirty five year old Peter.He had apparently done his DTh in Uttarakhand sponsored by YWAM.He told me he is on cannanis currently.I wondered loudly to my colleague as to  how  people who had been through these courses be so wayward-she told me,Bible is something that is taught by the Holy spirit,one cannot internalise it truly through courses as one does with other subjects.It made me think hard.
To me, the entire time, I saw a picture of brokenness....and efforts being taken towards restoration..everyone getiing engaged in the mandate in one form or the other.Some making a living out of it...some thriving on it...some engaged deeply in making something out of it...aweful waste of resources in restoring something which was never meant to be broken ...that is what it all seems to be about..this entire thing called living ...either you are in the process of being broken , breaking or you are one with the mandate of the Creator ,working towards restoration of the broken humanity towards His perfect image.Even the breaking  have the right to be part of the mandate..in that it was a beautiful picture...the sight of Peter counselling his peers...not much different from Simon Peter.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

-Excerpts from the sharing in CMC Ludhiana’s EHA sponsorhip candidates’s meet in October 2011.-“A Called Person”

I am from Sikkim ,a place called Mangan which is in the news at the moment . I was born in a Christian family and have always aspired to be a missionary doctor since childhood having been fascinated by the biograpies of David Livingstone and Albert Sweitzer.Personally committed my life to Jesus when I was eighteen after my high school.Did my medical studies from Bengal,after my internship did not know how to be a missionary but had always aspired to become one. Was lead to join Christian Fellowship Hospital as a post-graduate in Internal medicine which was the beginning of the ground work for the years ahead. Joined EHA after my post-graduation in a unit in the Palamu district –Nav-Jivan Hospital where I worked for nine years is a hundred bedded hospital.Palamu is in the naxallite belt of Jharkhand . My time in Palamu were the intense years of my life.The hospital is a hundred bedded hospital,a tough place no doubt but the place has enough character to leave an indelible impression in your life,once you pass through it ,I left Palaumu when the danger of my vocation doing a paradigm shift started becoming a possibility.If I had stayed longer the chances were that I would have become a social activist and so I had to step back , reassess my life and take some deliberate steps to realign myself. Have been in Herbertpur Christian Hospital for the past one year in a capacity as a clinician and looking after the post-grad training programme. What according to me is a called person. The other day I was sitting down in my couch meditating in my morning quiet time.Something came forth afresh –a reality we often miss out on. It was the picture of the perfection of the fellowship of the trinity where we have God,the father-the son Jesus Christ and the Holy spirit. The realisation as to how God loved you and me enough to tear apart that perfection so that you and I could be part of that fellowship came afresh. Firstly,he denied His son so that we might be restored,secondly the son sent the Comforter to be with us even as he resurrected.This spirit that Jesus sent forth is the spirit of the God,the father-and Lord Jesus ,the son.We are called to be part of the this divine fellowship,healed by the stripes of jesus,with indwelling of the Holy spirit to fellowship with the Father himself.We are called to be embraced into the intimacy of the trinity. This is what we are called to and for. To me a called person is someone who walks in this reality with his/her head towards Jerusalem. What I am as a called person does not go beyond this territory. Do I live in the reality of this Truth always -No,I forget time and again,often in my life I am way out but the Lord is good and He leads me ,he comes after me and restores me every time I lose my way. Only thing of value,things that really matter flow out from this reality…..rest of it I guess will go down into the dust-bins of eternity. When I was in Palaumu I used to see the local tribals dance the tribal dance which was beautiful if not frightening.As soon as the drums started beating one would know immediately as to who was a local and who was not because all of them would start swaying to the beat of the drum.That is how we are called to be.We are called to sway to the rythmn of the Holy spirit who will take us into all truth. I have been through where you are now and am only too aware of the challenges and choices that lie before you.Everyday there are different voices that try to pull you towards different direction.Only the other day I was reading a book that was illustrating in so many words how much money goes into research for even a simple children’s programme that looks relatively harmless.How cleverly the producers work on it to catch the eye of the kids.That is how thought and value insertions take place and they do it strictly for profit and the TRPs.Someone else decides what is the ‘in thing’ and what is ‘cool ‘and the mass follows it blindly making everyone but the consumer rich.This is what the world is about, lies and more lies. One fine day you will wake up to see that you have been living a lie all this while. That is why it is mandatory that you to take time out to listen to the man who said ‘I am the way,the truth and life and no one will go to the Father but by me’.He has already spoken.(Bible) I would like to encourage you towards this end.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mothers and sons!

A lady was ushered into my OPD.She was in her early forties and she was in her pits.Wearing a woollen cap and covered with a thick woollen shawl ,her face was an absolute blank.Her husband came along and put it in so many words that she was depressed.I sat with her to talk through her mood.She was well educated,a Bsc and expressive.She started wailing as she poured out her pain.
She had lost her nineteen year old son just six months ago,one of the twins of the four children she had.Closest to her,working with her in the school,literally walking in his mother’s shadow and one fine day had overstayed in the school compound to work on some files and was found late that evening in the same posture, lifeless.He was brought to the hospital where doctor found no external evidence of the cause of death.
Henceforth the family life had literally become hell.One of the children always had to keep a watch on the mother who refused to come out from her son’s room,stopped going to school and the daughter who had been pursuing her studies in Bangalore had to cut short her course and had got a transfer nearer home where she could commute from home everyday.
I sat with her humbled,only too aware, that I would never be able to understand her pain…and yet I tried with what little experience I had to share in her struggle.I shared the Word,instructed her to read the psalms for the starter,keep a diary…do something uplifting in memory of her son..she herself suggested adopting an orphan.I prayed a simple prayer only too aware of my inadequacy.
The second lady who was ushered in for counselling to my OPD today was another lady who had presented with somatisation.She was from the hills,uneducated..she had lost her only son too,all of twenty three years……in the Kargill war.She started weeping as soon as the son was mentioned and I found myself weeping with her …….she started talking…it has been ten years since she lost her son on that fateful day and everytime the other boys who have grown with her son from the village come home from the army she thinks to herself that her son would have been one of them had he been alive.
I find it difficult to get through to the hill people because of the language barrier.I could only catch her hand and thank her for her sacrifice and the life of her brave son because of whom we are safe……Although the cause for which he died was questionably a man-made agenda,a lie but I guess the lord looks at the heart , it struck me and I continued to talk to her about a similar sacrifice made in the hills of Golgotha,2000 years ago…for my salvation and hers.She gave me a blank look ,we prayed together.
I felt absolutely inadequate again but knowing from my past experience,it is when I am inadequate that the Lord does His perfect work unhampered.

Calling of Samuel!

Hannah wanted a child.An intense woman who goes after what she wants.Not only that ,she also dedicates the child even before he is conceived for the service of the Lord.So Samuel when he is born is a Nazerite.
When he is weaned ,Hannah dedicates him to the temple as she had promised.Visualise a weaned Samuel,a small child dedicated to the Lord helping the priest in his temple duties.A mother whose desire to birth a child burned all the way to the most Holy place to make way for a great man of God.Did Samuel have a choice?No.
So much so that it really touched my heart once more to read the porton where the Lord calls Samuel the first time.He has learnt all his life only to listen to Eli and he thinks it is Eli who is calling him.It is Eli who finally discerns that it is the Lord who is calling him and teaches him to respond and he says the exact thing Eli teaches him.
What an amazing mother Samuel had!
It must have been tough letting go of Samuel especially when he was a much desired child .She had to walk the tough path of separation from something she had desired all her life and had asked of God.She stands faithful,pays the price and makes way for a man of Samuel’s stature who goes on to play one of the most vital parts in the history of Israel and this is the same Samuel who could not even discern God’s voice when he was spoken to.
What amazing things God does through the lives of people who are sold out to listening to the Lord and how we are so quick in forgetting the sacrifices of those who have facilitated the process.Today even as I meditate on this portion my intense respect for Hannah and the tough choices she made for her son is only exceeded by my compassion for the innocence of the boy Samuel even as I see him in my mind’s eye….helping out in the temple,running to Eli when the Lord calls out to him and finally responding to the Lord as Eli teaches him to…..
Samuel came about because of Hannah and later Eli…..
Do we have Hannahs and Elis in our midst today,people who discern the calling of the Lord in other people and facilitate them to the fulfilment of their calling?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."-Luke 19-vs 40.

(Excerpts from the message preached in Mangan church on the 15th of January 2012.)
If the stones were to cry out what would they say?
The stone that was picked up to stone the woman found in sin would testify that Jesus was a compassionate and a merciful God,
The stone which was offered to Jesus to be turned into bread in the wilderness would testify that Jesus was sinless,
The stone that made the well of Jacob where Jesus met the Samaritan woman would say that Jesus breaks bondages and sets people free,
The stone at Golgotha on which drops of blood dropped from the crucified Christ would testify that he has covered us with His blood
The stone that covered Jesus’ tomb would testify that –“Jesus is risen”
There is one more stone,a rock on which Christ says he will build his church and the gates of hades would not prevail against it,that rock would testify that Jesus is Christ,the son of the Living God!

AMEN!