The lepers came to us this trip. They set up a tent and sat out the tables of rice. The 4 trykes we bought were there, these things were amazing. They are a large tricycle with a crank on the side instead of pedals. There is a flat bottom that allows the leper with no feet, and useless legs, to crawl onto the seat, independent and free of assistance. It helps to restore their dignity. We visited with them, and I shared a letter written by my friend Mary. The letter told them that she prays for them. They just soaked it in, so in awe that someone in America would pray for them and would want to know them by name. I shared with them in 2 Kings where the Lord used the lepers to discover how the army had fled and they took news to the king that there was food and provision after the long seige…I told them how the Lord picked them, for their bravery, as they had nothing else to loose, and they saved the city. They loved the story, and kept raising their hands in praise and to shout “hallelujah”! I encouraged them how the Lord can still use them in their city, and how brave I thought they were. They are my heros! Michelle and Heather also shared with them. They shared how much the Lord loved them and we tried to encourage them the best we could.
Many of them were very happy. They were beaming with smiles when we took their photos. A few others sat very quiet and did not respond much. Some had no fingers, and hardly any hands, no toes, feet or noses. And yet, I saw joy. I saw it when they praised the Lord. I saw it when they prayed. This group of people have been praying for me, my family, friends, and church going on five years. Don’t you think the Lord lends a special ears to these Saints prayers? And now I finally met them and we became friends. We hugged and visited and cried together. We provided them with rice and gave them a love offering. Most of them live by begging, and by the offering and rice given monthy by Pastor Matthew and his family. It was so amazing to bless them with an offering that was large enough to provide them fresh food and some clothing. And to see their faces light up to get on the trykes and try them out…oh joy, it was remarkable. It was quite sad to leave them. You can be sure that when I am able, I will be sharing with you their photos.
A highlight of our adventure was when we were driving down the road in a auto later. We actually passed 2 of the lepers riding down the road. It really takes two to use tryke, one pushes from behind if they are too weak to use the crank. Then, once it gets going, the one on back sits on a platform. It was quite hillarious to see this man just flying down the road, embracing his new found freedom. Close behind, you could see his wife, who still has the use of her feet, running with all her might to keep up with him. We pulled to the side to wave and take photos of them. They beamed with pride to be seen on their new trykes.
And if you would like to know what impacted me most about the lepers is the fact that they can receive treatment. Around $150.00 will cure a leper. It is true, only $150. If caught soon enough, it will stop the flesh eating condition before it renders them immoble. If they receive treatment afterwards, it will stop it getting worse. They recieve a daily shot, for 6 months to a year.
Rajesh has gone to medical school. It is his heart to start a free clinic for the treatment of lepers, as well as villagers who are sick. He wants to minister to his people and help heal them. Providing medical help also opens a door for prayer ministry and introducing the gospel to those seeking help. I plan to stand by him with this vision. I am excited to see how this could get started. I am floored to think that for such a small financial amount, one of these dear souls can recover from this terrible desease.
I also have to mention a little girl living with them. She does not have leprosy now, but I am concerned that if she stays with them long enough, she may contract the disease. She and her mother are staying with the lepers because she had polio. It has rendered her feet and legs useless, leaving her a cripple. They live there because there is no where else for them. Her eyes were amazing and spoke of a pain that says this is all there will ever be for her. Then they set her on a tryke. She had a spark about her. I pray this spark remains and catches on fire as she grows up and learns that there is a loving Jesus who will one day make her whole again.
I was not sure about leprosy being contagious, but the Pastors son, Rajesh, explained it to me a little better. It takes around 3 years of living around leprosy to be at high risk. The bacteria will get into the soil. It is rare that a white person would ever get leprosy as it usually only will affect a dark skinned person. He said to just be sure to wash our hands and feet afterwards. Which I did, quite thoroughly.
That is an overview detailing our experience with the blessed lepers. I am sure I will see them again. I don’t know how I can not. They are a part of me now. They pray for me, I pray for them. They are beautiful.