Smiling through pain

Kay serves as a nurse on an Indian Ocean Island. There, the local religion plays a key part in dictating how suffering is viewed.

I work on a small island of around 40,000 people and live in a village of about 500. Our clinic serves 2 villages (in total around 1,500 people). The town has a strong community feel – it’s made up of a few key families with most related or connected to one another in some way.

People here are taught that everything that happens is Allah’s will and pleasure, and that our lot in life, whether good or bad, shouldn’t be questioned. But then pain comes – someone gets sick or dies, there’s no money for food, their partner is unfaithful or abandons them altogether, or their shame is exposed – where can they turn? If they voice their true feelings, they risk further shame. Their worldview doesn’t allow them an avenue to effectively express their grief, pain, anxiety or struggles and to receive the care and support they crave and need to help them through these tough times. Instead, they often try to cover it up, put on a brave face and muddle along, but ignoring it is costly.

…in the last couple of years, two women have become believers. 

Working in healthcare in a small village has given us a unique position of trust, both at work and in our visiting. We have been privileged to walk alongside people in all aspects of life; being there at births, right through to grieving with them at funerals, and all manner of hardships and joys in between. Islam is deeply embedded in every part of daily life and most hearts remain hard and bound from hearing and accepting truth. However, in the last couple of years, two women have become believers. 

At the clinic we see many people in pain, sometimes physical, sometimes emotional, or both, as physical symptoms present from the turmoil inside. Pray that we would know how to help, how to teach our Island brothers and sisters that while God allows suffering, he doesn’t delight in it or remain at a distance, leaving us to smile through it. Pray that they would know that he longs to walk with us, to bear and carry us, and he desires we do the same for each other. 

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