Indiana Couple Aids Small-Church Outreach in India

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Operating health clinics for 12 days in southern India reminded Jim and Debbie VanSchepen of God’s goodness.

The VanSchepens, members of Pathway Christian Reformed Church in St. John, Ind., joined a Partners in Christ International mission in January to support indigenous churches by offering health clinics in their communities.

Supporting small churches is nothing new to the VanSchepens—they are volunteer ministry leaders in their own congregation, a church plant with about 45 families.

The congregation, in turn, prayed for the VanSchepens, supported them financially on their trip, and posted Debbie’s trip blog on the church website.

While in India, Jim VanSchepen distributed reading glasses to elderly people—which made him quite popular.  “The smiles on their faces when they could actually read something was incredible,” Jim said.

Debbie, who has a background in pharmacology, distributed medications prescribed by the doctor on their team, many of them for intestinal parasites and respiratory infections. She did the same on a trip two years ago and found that many more people came to the clinics this time because of positive word of mouth.

“It's humbling to know that after we're gone they continue to think of us and pray over us and our safety so we can return!” she wrote in her blog.

“Offering a cup of cold water in the name of Jesus is what we’re all about,” Jim said. “We encourage anyone who gets a chance to go on these types of trips to do so. It's a chance to celebrate the unity we have with other Christians throughout the world.”

About the Author

Roxanne VanFarowe is a freelance writer who lives in the woods with her artist husband James and their five children in Hillsborough, North Carolina. They are members of Blacknall Presbyterian Church in Durham.