Imagine this is your child….now imagine if she was ill….
You would want to do anything for her….
Wouldn’t you go to the ends of the earth and spend whatever it cost to make her healthy again? Parents in India are like parents in any other part of the world and do the same thing. They even seek a higher powers, a deity….man made gods, local healers. Again going to the extremes of whatever it costs to try and heal her, going to the ends of “their” earth.
Sadly it leads to this…..
The wound seen here is called “branding” and is carried out by heating rods or bangles red hot and then laying them on the child’s skin. The belief is that whatever illness the child is suffering from will be released through the area that has been burned. Often times the child will suffer a secondary illness due to infection at the site. Often times they will also suffer from diagnosis of Hepatitis and/or HIV after receiving these due to the equipment not being cleaned properly or dung and ash being put on the wound post branding. This type of healing is often times done in the poorest of the poor areas because they can’t afford to take their children to the expensive hospitals and doctors, it is also the type of healing they know because it was most likely done to them. Much like the way we operate in the United States, following what our mothers taught us, they do the same here. With that being said there is a good chance that there is a long family history of “branding” with this child.
Before her injury, Pushpa* was suffering from sadness and would not eat according to her mother. As seen in the photo here the branding must be working, again according to her mother, because she is smiling, laughing, and has been eating. It could by no means be because she is scared out of her mind if she shows an ounce of fear or sadness, that this pain may happen again to her other arm or some other part of her body. We have been keeping a close eye on the wound for 3 weeks now and although it is horribly infected she has not been running any fevers that we have witnessed and her mother appears to be applying coconut oil to the site which does have great healing properties.
This act is an outrage and we can easily say “How dare this mother?”, but I point you back to the start of my entry…Imagine this was your child…now imagine she was ill. This family knows tragedy and illness first hand. In the last year they have suffered the loss of one son burning himself to death because he was drunk, another son suffers from heart issues and asthma, and now this daughter is ill with depression and lack of appetite. They don’t need our scolding they need Jesus! The gospel has been shared many times with the family through us and others here in the area. Yet they continue to rely on the gods of India and the chance of karma.
I share this report with you not to make you sad or outrage you but to show you the disparity between our beliefs held in the west and the beliefs held here in India. Please pray for Pushpa and her family; pray for healing and that they will ultimately come to know Jesus as their savior.