Being back from India only a short time, I am reflecting on this extraordinary trip the Lord led us on and my mind reflects on the colony of leprous people that we visited. I have visited several colonies on past trips, 3 to be exact. I remember the moment I realized that leprosy still existed. I was watching a documentary on TV, which was describing the multitude of people who are still plagued with this horrible disease. My naive self was so shocked. I had no idea that people across the world were still battling this biblical disease. I immediately felt the need to try and help these people! This need became the catalyst for my adventures in India. Towards the end of our most recent trip we visited a colony that I had not visited before. This one is near MCH, (Mercy Children Home), where we minister to the orphans and widows with Brother Praveen, the overseer. Due to donations, Brother Praveen now has enough extra money to begin, and I stress begin, helping the leper colony a little. When we arrived at the colony we introduced ourselves and let them know why were there. Next we gave a message about Christ and encouraged them in the Lord. Following that, we handed out a month’s worth of the grain they eat and envelopes with a small amount of money equivalent to a couple of bucks in US $. As their name was called they would try to stand up on the nubs they had left for feet. The nubs are due to the taking most of their hands &/or feet away. The men and women would hobble over to us and thankfully take their provision. I began taking the envelope to where they were sitting so they wouldn’t have to stand but they insisted on standing and paying respect to someone helping them. Man, that so gets to me! With each exchange, my heart would melt inside my chest and I would feel the tears coming on. It required all I had in me to fight back those tears and maintain composure. As we visited with the people there, we were told that they go into the city near the Hindu temple to beg for money in order to survive.
The money given due to our visit has now enabled them to only have to beg half of the month and not every day. I wonder how they even get to the town to beg for their provision? Most people can find a way to survive. If someone is hungry there are ways: hunt, fish, even scrounge for food in the garbage. But for these leprous people, if they have no hands, what can they do? If they are missing feet, what can they do? Their total existence depends on receiving handouts. What a hard life, a life that we as Americans can’t really even imagine. I was also struck by their living conditions. Although I am getting used to seeing how the poor live in India, I just want to get them fixed in a nice home. And by “nice home” I don’t mean the American standard of nice, I mean giving them a floor made out of concrete instead of dirt, a roof that doesn’t pour rain into the house during rainy season, clean water, and a hole for a bathroom. They are precious in God’s eyes and mine. I love them and I want to make life better for them.But the need in India can be so overwhelming. I can’t help everyone but I can help someone. As the team got back on the bus my tears gave way. The thing that pushed me over the edge of tears flowing freely was the team: A few of the team members were so moved by what they saw that day, that they also wanted to help the helpless, and they did help. Some gave them extra money to alleviate the begging at least for this month. One gave to go towards the roof repair. One saw the need of a man with no legs from the knee down and gave for shoes of some sort to go on the end of his knee. He was walking on rubber scraps tied to his nubs- WOW! They felt what I had been feeling. I was so thankful to God for the awesome team that came with us to India. I’d like to recognize everyone on the team because they each contributed in one way or another to make God’s mission, for us, a reality.
God gave me this scripture years ago and now I am seeing it come to pass. I have read it in several versions but The Message makes it really clear…
I form you and use you to reconnect the people with me, to put the land in order, to resettle families on the ruined properties. I tell prisoners, ‘Come on out. You’re free!’ and those huddled in fear, ‘It’s all right. It’s safe now.’ Isa 49: 8, 9
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col 3:17