Mission Nepal:Service or Religion?

The Baptist Standard has a post on an American couple who started a charity organization in Nepal.

“The Ackermans of College Station launched HELP in 1999, but it didn’t really take off until after the couple exhausted their savings and returned to the United States, they recalled. But they were not especially troubled when they left Nepal, because they sensed the Nepalese leaders they had developed were ready for the task.”

The organization works with rural communities where health care and education services are often beyond the reach of many.

“One woman became a Christian and was ostracized,” Lani Ackerman said. “She went to a literacy class and learned of the traditional birth assistance class. When she came home from the class, before the night was up, someone came to say a woman was dying in childbirth.”

The woman went, prayed over the woman, and then put the skills she had learned to work, saving the lives of both the mother and baby.

“Overnight, she went from being one of the most despised people in the village to being the hero, and it gave her a platform to share the gospel that was phenomenal,” Lani Ackerman said.”

This is where things get questionable. It is a great service to reach out to the people who need most and offer them help. This couple spent their own money-and they are hard working professionals, to set up this charity. A wonderful sacrifice indeed.

So,why bring religion into service,isn’t their sacrifice and dedication admirable enough to boost the project? Why push religion and then alienate large section of population?

Also, it is uncomfortable and frankly hurtful for a Nepali to read through this post, which preaches-well almost, that since we are so poor and backward it must be our religion or culture (whatever that may be).

Forcing religion into social service, that too this blatantly defeats the whole purpose of service. Aren’t you supposed to love and help, no matter what religion, nationality or ethnic background? Being this judgmental about other people, I wonder whatever happened to “those without sin cast the first stone”.

If the purpose is to help needy Christians only, fine. That is noble too.Huge section of Nepali population lives below poverty line and some of them happen to be Christians. They do face discrimination, not denying that. But why push their own religion onto them by pushing them to “grow their faith”? Can’t they decide for themselves how religious they want to be?  O wait, is it because they are poor and un-educated and cannot be trusted to judge for themselves?

It is sad when hard working people like this couple who started HELP get side tracked and forget the other important things and focus just on religion.

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