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March 2015

The Apostle Johnís words of blessing: ďI pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along wellĒ (III John v2) is such an intrinsic vision of holistic and radical development that the Gospel brings into oneís life. It is with this same prayer and vision that IGLís ministry reaches out to the people of South Asia.

The health of a community, its literacy level and economic development are interrelated in a cyclical and complex way. Along with other factors, it is proven that improved health is a result of development which is accomplished through higher income, the possibilities of which are increased through education and acquiring of skills for employment. Unfortunately, the rural villages of India lag behind as these issues are not adequately addressed. I firmly believe that the spiritual darkness that overshadows the masses, superstitious beliefs and practices that still continue to hold them captive are significant contributors to the lack of progress in these areas.

The majority of deaths in India are on account of easily preventable diseases. A significant number of people living in rural villages have to travel more than 20 miles to avail of even the barest of health care and basic medical facilities. This distance is greatly magnified, considering the fact that it has to be covered walking or using other primitive means of transportation. In other words, whole masses of the population of India are literally left without access to health care.

IGLís medical work is very much a part of its holistic outreach into these rural villages meeting both individual as well as community needs. In regions where IGL has established a Christian witness, we have pioneered in many ways in community health. This has been accomplished through the training and equipping of rural health workers and aggressive community development efforts implemented through its Life Centers. In the entire district of Salem, IGL was the first to establish a cancer center with facilities for diagnosis and care, reaching out as the only such facility for more than 3million people. Right now we are once again pioneering in the field of tele-medicine, actively striving to connect the rural masses with basic health care using an indigenously manufactured device. Scores of IGLís Life Centers built in remote areas nationwide provide great possibilities to set up these simple units and connect them online to the Sharon hospital base in Salem or in fact anywhere in the world. The immediate potential we have now to bring about a huge transformation in rural health care is truly incredible.

Specialized training in tele-medicine is currently included along with nursing, community health, lab and x-ray technology in IGLís training college in Salem. We envision such training programs established in several locations of India and Sri Lanka over the next few years. Graduates going out of these centers will be able to bring health care to the unreached rural areas. Thank you for sharing the vision of holistic development brought to these nations as the Gospel is proclaimed and the Church moves forward. Together we can make a huge difference.

Sam