Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Leprosy Hospital

Probably the most moving experience during our trip was when we had the opportunity to visit a Leprosy Hospital. Living in America, many times I forget that leprosy still exists. We never see this in our country and certainly not in a hospital dedicated solely to the care of those infected with this crippling disease.

leprosy has taken this woman's fingers and all her toes as well

The hospital was set up somewhat like a compound there were grounds with outside space and different buildings each one holding about 12 leprosy patients many of which had been in the hospital for decades. One man we met had been there since 1945, can you imagine being in the same place for over sixty years never to leave? He would surely die there and his only joy would come from his caretakers and fellow patients. Many of these people no longer had leprosy but their bodies were so damaged it was obvious by looking that they were once sick. And in their culture that is enough, they are not welcome in the outside world. Their families do not visit them and they are confined to a bed. It was overwhelming to meet men and women who were happy under such circumstances simply because we came to visit and share a simple gift and some lunch. The saddest part however, is that the majority of the patients are buddhist, muslim and hindu. In fact we only met two Christians in the entire community.

...but there is hope, Bethany Church is serving this community on a regular basis! How awesome that they are bringing the love of Jesus to these people, sharing the only hope of healing and a future. Bethany works hard to bring the service and love of Jesus to this hospital in order that they as Christians are set apart. By loving, serving and praying for these patients their hope is that the patients may see that our God is different than other gods and he brings the only hope of true healing.

One particular woman I felt the nudge to pray for. She was asking for healing, as I prayed for healing I felt God communicate to me that He was the only hope of healing for her and that it would most likely look like healing through death and new life in Heaven. This woman was a Buddhist, she did not believe Jesus was the way to Heaven. God revealed to me I had to share this with her.... who else was going to? I asked her if she believed in Jesus and told her that if she chose to worship God over all other Gods then she would receive a new body and be fully healed in Heaven after this life. She gave a reluctant smile and did not choose to receive Christ, but at least she has now heard and I will continue to pray that she accepts Christ before she dies. In this situation it is easy to be discouraged, but remember it is not our job to carry the weight of whether someone accepts Christ or not, only to make sure that we share. Our job is to share the story of Jesus, He will do the work of bringing people into the kingdom. May God bring salvation to that woman and every soul at the Leprosy Hospital.  I am beyond thankful that Bethany Church will continue to serve this hospital and love and pray for these patients. The women at Bethany Church understand what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I pray that I will continue to learn and be challenged to serve others in this way.

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