A place of hope

There are many words to describe the feelings you have when you visit, volunteer or work at Bethany Home in Malaysia, but for me the one word that is evident in the lives, in the words and on the faces of people, is ‘hope’.

There can be a sense of hopelessness for many people struggling with disabilities (their own, or those of their child). Bethany Home is truly a lighthouse in a dark world, offering hope and the love of Jesus to those people whose lives would otherwise be dark and despairing.

Bethany Home was established in 1966 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Malaysia (ELCM). Mr Jayasingh Rajah serves tirelessly as director, together with his deputy director Ms Chandra. During these years Bethany has grown to be ‘lighthouse’ in a dark world. Today 180 children and adults with a wide range of physical and mental disabilities receive an education, life and work skills, prospects of employment, and the opportunity to be inspired and challenged to achieve great things. For some, this has even meant climbing the highest mountain in South East Asia – Mt Kinabalu, or participating in the World Disabled Games. The opportunity to be part of the service given at Bethany is open to all people of all faiths and circumstances.

Most of the people who are supported by Bethany Home do not live-in but are picked up in buses or brought there each day by family or friends. Fifty six staff work at Bethany in a wide range of supporting vocations. Each year these staff are also supported in their roles by volunteers who come from countries such as Germany, Korea, Japan, Australia and more – offering their gifts of service and love. (You too would be warmly welcomed as a volunteer at Bethany). The ‘footprints’ of Australian volunteers are visible in many parts of Bethany Home.

Bethany has grown to offer a wide and varying range of programs including early intervention, day school, physiotherapy, camping, ‘Lighthouse’ sheltered workshop, work skills and supported week-day accommodation (for some of the people) in 9 group houses located in areas nearby to Bethany. There are no permanent residents at Bethany, as the philosophy has been to help these children and adults as much as possible to remain in family situations so that they retain a level of normality and don’t become part of an institution.

Very recently a block of land has been purchased closer to the town of Telak Intan with a vision to build a soccer field, a work skills service for people with special needs and an integrated retirement village for the local community and those with special needs.

Bethany Home is truly a lighthouse in a dark world, offering hope and the love of Jesus to those people whose lives would otherwise be dark and despairing.

If you would like to consider the opportunity to serve as a volunteer in mission, serving in practical ways, teaching English, teaching in the seminaries and institutions of our partner churches, or in local churches, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email nevin.nitschke@lca.org.au. For more information, go to http://www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/volunteer/

Read more stories about volunteering at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/join-gods-mission/volunteers/