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On Call

On Call

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THE LIFE OF VAL INCHLEY OBE, WHO WAS A MISSIONARY IN NEPAL DURING A PERIOD IN WHICH THE CHURCH GREW 1000-FOLD.

Born in the middle of an air raid, Val’s life began with a bang, and she has been living in the fast lane ever since. Aged ten, she became a Christian at a beach mission, and then at twenty-one she committed the unforgivable sin (as defined only by her parents on that occasion). In 1967 she graduated (with honours) in Medicine from the University of Liverpool and the following year God called her to work in Nepal. Scared stiff of spiders and hopeless at languages, she was an unlikely mission recruit, but – to everyone’s great surpise – in 1996 Val was awarded an OBE for ‘services to the British community and health care in Nepal’. During 43 years in that amazing country (many aspects of which are described in the book), she filled a multitude of medical roles before starting Bible Yatra Nepal, a Bible training organisation, and then pioneering work amongst Nepali migrants, especially in SE Asia and the Middle East. Now ‘re-tyred’, she lives in Sutton Coldfield, UK and is involved with Nepali migrants and her local church, whilst also remaining in touch with many Nepali friends.

Her love for and connection with the people of this nation are so strong that her African friends and colleagues consider she has a Ugandan heart inside a white body – the highest of compliments.

“…an inspiring story of a life of Christian service and sacrifice…”

Venerable Bob Jackson

Author

About the Author

Val Inchley OBE

Val Inchley OBE

Former Missionary

In 1996 Dr Valerie M. Inchley, known in Nepal as ‘the running doctor’, was awarded an OBE for ‘services to the British community and health care in Nepal’. Her 43-year ministry as a medical missionary and international Bible teacher is described with humour and humility in her autobiography, “On Call”.

Author Events

Endorsements and Reviews

Anne Le Tissier, Author

Val’s gentle, gracious humility – so true to her as a person if you ever get to meet – shines through the pages of her fascinating autobiography, the story of her call to, work in, and return from Nepal.

Val writes with a delightful light touch, weaves in her fabulous humour, and cuts to the core of what it means to love and serve Jesus, no matter the circumstances. Proselytism, as she explains early on, is very different from “living a life that attracts people to Jesus, telling them about him, and offering to pray for them when they are in need”. Val has certainly led that life.

Enjoy her rich descriptions of living in Nepal and laugh-out-loud anecdotes; feel exhausted but enthused by her relentless schedule and responsibilities; learn from her depth of wisdom and spiritual insight; be challenged by her honesty, vulnerability and integrity; and be inspired, to press on to pursue all that God has called you to be and do.

Anne Le Tissier
Author, writer, speaker, with a passion and call to disciple others in their ongoing walk with God

Venerable Bob Jackson, Author

Val Inchley captures perfectly the feel of life and pace of change in Nepal over her 43 years of ministry there. And she captures the reality of being a medical missionary, with all of life’s ups and downs honestly and graphically described.

This is an inspiring story of a life of Christian service and sacrifice, but also of the joy and wonder of living in such a fabulous land serving such a marvellous people. This is a personal story that is also the story of how God has been at work in Nepal over many years. Reading Val’s account just makes me want to go back to Nepal again!

Venerable Bob Jackson
Author of Higher than the Hills & many other books

Dot Evans, Former Colleague

My first memories of Val were at the Himalayan Helper youth camps. Little did I know then that one day we would share a room at missionary training college (Mount Hermon that was) and be on the same team for local evangelism/church purposes.

During those days I was often asked the question, “Do you think that in 20 years’ time she will still be running?” I can assure you that in more ways than one Val was still running then, and I am sure you will be convinced as you read this book that nearly 50 years later she still is. (Perhaps not at the same rate!)

Val has faithfully “run with perseverance the race marked out for [her].” Where others might have given up she stuck at it during difficult days.

Val was able to be faithful because the word of God says, “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”

Dot Evans
Former colleague

Steve Aisthorpe, Former INF Director

Dr Val has written an honest account of her adventure in faith. It is light and yet profound, humorous yet moving. The astonishing development of the Nepali church from mustard seed beginnings to global burgeoning is observed from within.

Above all, this is an account of God’s faithfulness and transforming power – in the midst of the Nepali people and in the lived experience of someone who was willing to be On Call.

Steve Aisthorpe
Former INF Director;
now Mission Development Worker with the Church of Scotland

Joan Kearney MA BD, Former Colleague

In ‘On Call’ Val describes with honesty and humour her experiences doing medical, administrative and teaching work for 43 years in the beautiful country of Nepal.

Her book is a fund of information and should be required reading for anyone going to work in Nepal or indeed in any developing country. It is also a challenging read to any committed Christian for two reasons: one is Val’s example of obedience, unflagging energy and long-term commitment; the other is the example and vitality of the Nepali church which, in spite of persecution, has multiplied a thousand-fold in the last 50 years.

Joan Kearney MA BD
Former colleague

Judy Crook

A unique missionary autobiography.

For 43 years ‘On Call’ letters brought news of Val and Nepal, and I was happy to distribute these for 25 years. I am so glad that ‘Inch’ has completed this comprehensive story of her life and work herself. Written in her own inimitable style, she weaves a wonderful picture of the beautiful land of Nepal – its geography, history, language – and of its resilient and hospitable people whom she was called to serve.

Judy (Judith M) Crook

“…be inspired, to press on to pursue all that God has called you to be and do.”

Anne Le Tissier

Author, Speaker

“…light and yet profound, humorous yet moving.”

Steve Aisthorpe

Former INF Director

“…a fund of information and should be required reading for anyone going to work in Nepal.”

Joan Kearney

Former Colleague

“…[Val] weaves a wonderful picture of the beautiful land of Nepal…”

Judy Crook

The Running Doctor Tells Her Story

The Running Doctor Tells Her Story

In 1996 Dr Valerie M. Inchley, known in Nepal as ‘the running doctor’, was awarded an OBE for ‘services to the British community and health care in Nepal’. Her 43-year ministry as a medical missionary and international Bible teacher is described with humour and humility in her autobiography, “On Call”.

The growth of the Nepali church is a modern mission miracle. There were approximately 1,000 Christians when Val arrived in 1970; today there are over 1,000,000. Until 1990 it was costly for a Nepali to be baptised – they could go to jail or be disinherited – but this gave the church strength and spiritual depth. Proselytism was also punishable with imprisonment, but Val realised that “converting” someone is different from ‘living a life that attracts people to Jesus, telling them about him, and offering to pray for them when they are in need’.

Aged 26, with limited language skills and no salary, she travelled to Pohkara to serve in the International Nepal Fellowship (INF) as a doctor. Her book describes the challenges she faced – cultural, religious and often language misunderstandings (such as the man who thought he must stand in a river every day to take his tablets ‘in water’!) Cases she treated include ‘catastrophic haemorrhages after childbirth; burnt and charred babies; men with bellies so swollen from bowel blockages that they looked like pregnant women’.

However, Val’s commitment to the language and people meant that she was soon reading scripture and leading prayer meetings in Nepali. She also found that ‘the possibility that there might be something better [than karma’s fatalism] made the positive teaching of Christianity particularly attractive, especially to low castes and “lepers”, many of whom gained hope and were radically transformed by Jesus.’

In the mid-70s the government decided that Pokhara did not need two hospitals, so INF began to concentrate on tuberculosis and leprosy work. Val became the Regional Leprosy Officer in Ghorahi, developing the clinic there and supervising surveys in several Mid-Western districts. Nepalis called her the ‘running doctor’ because of her unbreakable, but un-Eastern, habit of doing everything “at the double”. In one town she treated 186 patients, visited officials, lectured at the college and taught the hospital staff – all in 5 days!

 

In 1979 Val returned to Pokhara. The closed INF hospital had become a community health and tuberculosis centre, where she worked as Medical Coordinator until 1983. Then she served at the government hospital, helping to equip its 150-bed extension whilst working in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department. She even escorted the Queen of Nepal around the new buildings during a royal visit.

 

Having heard, in 1987, that her mother had been taken to hospital, she returned to the UK. During that time, she attended a “Walk Thru the Bible” (WTB) seminar – an experience which would shape her future ministry. The following year, when she returned to Nepal, she first served as Acting Personnel Secretary, even becoming Acting Director for three weeks, and then as Health Projects Director for 7 years. With permission, she translated the WTB material into Nepali and developed it further, calling the new course “Bible Yatra”. She initially taught this within her ladies’ fellowship. Then, Nepal’s Revolution of 1990 enabled expatriates to offer greater support to the Nepali church, so she began to give seminars in several churches and Bible training centres.

 

In 1990 she became INF’s Medical Director, and also later the director of their Health Services Partnership. Then in late 1997 she sensed God calling her to ‘move outside the security of a mission visa’. She resigned and explored the option of staying on in Nepal with a campus visa to study Nepali, whilst further developing Bible Yatra. This proved timely; in 1998/9 the government clamped down on ‘extra-curricular’ activities and some INF expatriates were expelled.

 

Val completed the handbook for the Bible Yatra course, whilst obtaining a Diploma of Higher Education in Theology, and then went on to research thousands of Nepali proverbs, gaining a master’s degree in “Global Issues in Contemporary Mission”. Later, as part of the Great Poet Devkota Centenary Celebration, she was awarded for her ‘continuous dedication to promoting Nepali literature and … tireless efforts in taking Nepali language to the international arena’.

For 13 years Val survived on study, research and business visas, until she had fully handed over the Bible Yatra ministry and it was officially registered as a Nepali NGO. She and the teachers she trained had taught the course at ~1,000 seminars to over 20,000 students, including in the Nepali diaspora. Her faithful work continues to support the Nepali church and Nepalis in the diaspora today.

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