A CORCRAIN pastor has returned from a two-week missionary trip to Nepal where he witnessed some heart-rending scenes in the slums of the country's capital Katmandu.
Pastor Scott Hynds, who preaches at the Pillar Christian Church in Corcrain, spent 14 days in the largely Hindu populated country promoting Christianity, as well as visiting two Nepalese pastors who receives donations from the Portadown church.
Pillar Christian Church was established three years ago and since then it has sent funds to assist two Pastors Reuben Rai and Biendra Kisku in their mission to preach Christian teachings and help the homeless and street children in Nepal.
Pastor Hynds said he made the journey to the Asian country earlier this month to witness first-hand the progress of his Nepalese counterparts.
“Our role is to support and encourage the development of the Christian Church. Only two per cent of the population are Christians so it was an opportunity for me to speak to people who have never heard of The Gospel before,” he explained.
A poverty-stricten country, Scott witnessed a group of children, including a four-year-old, risking their lives and health by glue-sniffing – a sadly not uncommon sight in Katmandu. “It was heartbreaking to see. They sniff glue because it removes the feeling of hunger. I bought them breakfast which only cost 70 pence,” he said.
“I mean, here we think nothing of going to McDonald’s and buying a value meal for 3.20 or something like that but I could feed them for less than a pound.”
Given that it was his first visit to Nepal, Pastor Hynds says it was at times an “intense” experience.
“In Katmandu I was approached by street kids and beggers – often offering drugs,” he explained.
“I also met a woman who lived in a house that was no bigger than a jail cell.”
The Portadown preacher also visited children living in an orphanage being run by Pastor Rai with help from his wife Rita and two children, Rosanna and Reuel. “There were between 10 to 15 children sleeping on the floor so I bought them two bunkbeds. It was a small thing to do but it did bring them joy.”
Scott also visited east Nepal where Pastor Reuben is hoping to errect a football academy which would enable street children to receive an education. “He’s hoping to receive land from the government. It would also be somewhere Reuben could distribute Bibles to street kids,” he revealed.
Despite Pillar Christian Church being a ‘young’ local church with a small congregation, Pastor Hynds says it’s already gaining a reputation on the international religious scene with one of his sermon podcasts attracting attention from America.
“We were contacted by Joyce Gilpin who is chaplain in one of Florida’s biggest women’s prisons. She had heard one of my sermons online and it seemed to have connected to her.
“She runs a Church service every Thursday for inmates on death row. These are women who are ‘lifers’ and will never get out of prison,” said Scott.
Joyce was so impressed by Scott’s sermon it was played to the inmates, who subsequently sent him a cross made of their shoelaces. The transatlantic connection may also lead to Pillar Christian Church extending its Christian outreach programmes to Haiti – the Carribbean island devastated by an earthquake last month.
“Her sister, Joyce Foster, is currently working as an missionary in Haiti and is at the minute trying to help 50 to 100 orphans. She’s also asked me to speak at a Christian event in September – that was before the earthquake so who knows now.
“We get emails from people all over the world every week asking for help but the sad fact is that you can’t help everyone not matter how much you want to.”
However, the Corcrain man is keen to stress that Pillar Christian Church is working hard to improve the local community. “We’re trying to build a bridge into the Corcrain community.
As a church which has only been going for the past three years, we’re still at that embyronic stage and as a church you have to establish a level of trust with the community around you.
“People are now starting to realise that we’re here for the long haul. We don’t want to be seen as a church that is secluded. We want to engage with young people in the area, particularly after the anti-social behaviour which happened in the area last year,” he explained.
Pastor Hynds is holding a talk about his experiences in Nepal at Corcrain Community Centre on Sunday at 7pm. Everyone is warmly invited to attend.