P u t t i n g F a i t h I n t o A c t i o n S i n c e 1 9 5 9
There’s Always Room at This Table
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, …nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:35, 38-39
Dear WME Partners and Supporters,
Imagine you are a six-year-old child with a younger sibling. Your family is so poor that you often go hungry and wear the only set of clothes you own. Though you are bright and friendly, you are shunned by those around you. And it is simply because your parents have an ancient disease that slowly ravages their bodies. You are the child of a leper; and when you cry out for help, the world ignores you…
LEPROSY (also known as Hansen’s disease) is a chronic malady that existed in Biblical times and still afflicts thousands today. According to the World Health Organization, there were over 208,000 new leprosy cases reported by 159 countries in 2018, and nearly 58% occurred in INDIA. Leprosy causes progressive and permanent damage to nerves, skin, eyes and limbs. Left untreated, it can lead to blindness, ulcers, paralysis and amputation.
On the upside, medical treatment with multidrug therapies can effectively cure the condition and stop its spread. Early diagnosis prevents disabilities. The downside is leprosy mainly affects the poor in India who have limited access to medical care and intensely fear the stigma associated with the disease. This causes them to delay seeking the very treatment that will cure the sickness attacking their bodies.
Why so much fear? Basically, a leper is treated like a “dead man walking,” seen as cursed by fate to endure a slow and painful end. Quickly shunned by friends and neighbors, they are banished and forced to relocate along with close family to leper colonies. For many, begging on the street provides the only income available. Lepers with visible bandages or missing limbs are often chased from public areas by people who refuse to be near them. Even those treated and no longer contagious are still despised because of the condition and any resulting disfigurement. This often leads them to remain in leper colonies for the rest of their lives.
A WME worker providing food and compassion, along with acceptance and prayer, for a man crippled and disfigured by leprosy.
P.O. Box 660800 Dallas, TX 75266 www.wme.org
Let me ask you something — Have you ever felt like you were on the outside looking in? Have there been moments when it seemed you were utterly alone, abandoned, rejected or ashamed? If so, then you have a small window into the emotional pain faced by people with leprosy, and you can understand how they quietly suffer as the world just passes them by.
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A child from a leper community standing in front of our Bhubaneswar Medical Clinic in India.
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