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Once he was healthy, working hard as a farmer in


Jamaica. His family cared deeply about him, and he had a deep love of the Lord.


Then one day,George McPhee glanced into the


mirror and saw bumps on his face. Skin tingling and going numb, his eyesight failing,


he knew something was dreadfully wrong. At a doctor’s visit, he received the news. At age 32, he was diagnosed with leprosy.


Like Job from the Bible, George had a good life


and suddenly everything was stripped away. He became an outcast. People ran away in horror when they saw him. Men and women recoiled in disgust from shaking his hand because they feared contracting the disease. Leprosy stripped him of human contact and isolated him in a lonely world.


But leprosy did not strip his faith. Instead, he grew


closer to the Lord. Faith became his shield and his strength.


Leprosy victims lose sensation in their hands, feet,


eyes, and even their noses. Unlike the myths of old, most people have a natural immunity to leprosy and it is the least contagious of all the infectious diseases. George eventually went blind and partially deaf. His face was blotchy from the ravages of this ancient illness. Leprosy even destroyed the fingers on his hands. Yet through all his suffering,George never hesitated in praising God.


“I always say, the Lord knows best,” he said. “This


is for the saving of my soul, that is what I always say.” With the stump of one hand,George gripped his


harmonica and played enthusiastically at St. Monica’s Home, the group home where he lived. With a strong, robust voice, he recited poetry about God’s great love for us all.


He was always quick to point out that he accepts his


condition and does not worry about it, despite the great prejudice against lepers.


“In Jamaica, there is a stigma where leprosy


is concerned. It affects you mentally too, because neighbors have a lot to say about it,” he said.


To be afflicted with leprosy is one of the worst social stigmas... one feels ugly, rejected and ashamed.


24


Many lepers are forced to be kept shut inside, or even cast out of their homes in fear of the disease spreading. Some lepers are chased away or locked up in group homes, cast out from the rest of society. To be a leper is usually a lonely, solitary existence. Many count on God as their only friend. Our generous and caring donors have helped many such outcasts like George, with loving hearts like Christ, helping lepers who are shunned by many others.


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