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Ted Wilson makes lightning visit to Nepal

Adventist Church president encourages local members and tours Scheer hospital

Ted Wilson makes lightning visit to Nepal

[Photo credit: Andrew McChesney]

Ted N.C. Wilson encouraged the small band of Seventh-day Adventists in Nepal to be faithful ambassadors for Christ during the first visit by an Adventist world church president to the mountainous country in three decades.

Wilson spoke to about 120 local Adventists gathered in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, at the end of a lightning tour that included an inspection of Scheer Memorial Adventist Hospital and a celebration of the 30 th anniversary of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency in Nepal.

“You are ambassadors,” Wilson, wearing a traditional Daura Suruwal outfit and a Dhaka topi hat, told the packed Banepa church. 

“Maybe you don’t feel like ambassadors because you didn’t arrive in a limousine today,” he said, looking at the assembled church members, who mostly rode scooters and motorcycles to the event. “But I want to tell you that you are all ambassadors no matter how you arrived.”

Opening his black Bible, Wilson read from 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, which says in part: “God … has given us the ministry of reconciliation. … Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (NKJV).

“We have been given this work of reconciliations, bringing people together in love to God,” Wilson said. “Because of that, we are now ambassadors to Jesus.”

Only 5,630 Adventists live in Nepal, an impoverished country of 29 million people, 80 percent of whom are Hindus. Wilson is the first world church president to visit since his father, Neal C. Wilson, who served as world church president from 1979 to 1990, came to Nepal in the late 1980s.

The Nepal stopover comes as Wilson and his wife, Nancy, make a whirlwind trip to five countries in two weeks. At the start of the trip, Wilson visited the Adventist Church’s media center in Germany and attended a church leadership summit in Portugal. Meetings in India and Uganda are also on the itinerary.

In Nepal, the Wilsons and a small team of church leaders arrived at the Kathmandu airport at 11 p.m. Feb. 11 and made an hour-long drive to Scheer Memorial Adventist Hospital, where they stayed in guestrooms. A few hours later, at 7:45 a.m., Wilson led a morning worship with hospital staff and toured the facility before eating a breakfast of banana muffins, tofu, and papayas and bananas in the home of Dr. Dale M. Molè, Scheer’s chief executive officer.

Hospital Miracle Story

Molè, 68, a retired U.S. Navy emergency doctor, marveled at God’s leading since he took charge of the 60-year-old mission hospital in 2014.

“The first week I was here I saw more miracles than I saw in the last decade,” he told Wilson.

Speaking later in an interview, he recalled an 11-year-old boy with untreated typhoid fever who suffered complications from a bowel perforation. The child was admitted in septic shock, which is often deadly. Making matters worse, the boy developed a serious lung condition after an emergency operation.

“I thought, ‘There is no way that this kid is going to make it,’” Molè said.

Relatives wept around the boy’s bed in the intensive care unit. Molè gathered his team to pray.

But he acknowledged that he feared the worst. “I fully expected that the next day, when I came in, that the bed would be empty,” he said.

Instead, the boy began to improve and, in just three days, was sitting up in bed and smiling in the children’s ward.

“From a medical standpoint, this kid should not have survived or recovered as quickly as he did,” Molè said. “So, to me that was a true miracle that I had just witnessed. That was one of just a number of miracles.”

Good Word-of-Mouth

Scheer enjoys a good reputation in Nepal, and its influence appears to be growing, two Wilson team members told a morning meeting at the hospital. The two members — Gerson P. Santos, associate secretary of the Adventist world church, and P.E. Selvin Moorthy, treasurer of the church’s Southern Asia Division, whose territory includes Nepal — described how Nepali physicians seated beside them on the flight into Kathmandu the night before had spoken about the hospital in glowing terms.

“When I told the doctor where I was going, he said, ‘Oh, I know Scheer. It’s a good hospital!’” Santos said. “I believe the hospital has a bright future.”

Dr. Jonathon Thorp, Scheer’s chief operating officer, emphasized that the hospital strives to follow the biblical principle of Proverbs 19:17, which says, “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given.” In 2017, he said, the hospital provided charity medical care worth U.S.$150,000, an enormous sum in Nepal.

A portion of the morning meeting was devoted to a video and presentation celebrating the 30 th anniversary of ADRA’s work in Nepal. The agency funded projects worth $4 million in 2017, said Dr. Josue Orellana Guevara, ADRA’s country director and a native of Bolivia.

The Adventist leader for Nepal, Umesh Pokharel, welcomed Wilson to the Banepa church in Kathmandu shortly before escorting him to the airport at noon.

“Your visit shows that we are a worldwide family,” Pokharel said. “Your coming to Nepal has renewed our commitment to the Lord.”

Church members enthusiastically accepted Wilson’s challenge to be ambassadors of Christ in their communities.

“You don’t have to be well educated or have many talents to be an ambassador for Jesus,” Wilson told them. “Work together in harmony to be reconciled to each other and to God.”