April 23, 2015

Offering Hope to Society’s Outcasts in India

Rachael Athearn, Staff Writer 

Most people probably think of leprosy as an ancient disease that’s mentioned only in Bible stories and age-old folklore. 

But the painful bacterial disease is very much a reality today for people like Marimuthu, who we met recently in India, as well as many others around the world. 

In leprosy’s early stages, small areas of the body become numb and prone to injury and secondary infection. Instead of part of the body falling off—like many myths have portrayed—a person with leprosy suffers through a long process of injury, infection, pain and amputation. 

But what’s even more devastating is dealing with the incredibly harsh stigma associated with the disease because it’s so misunderstood. 

People are afraid that if they have any contact with a person who has leprosy they’ll catch it—even though most people have a natural immunity to the disease. And in India, to contract leprosy means you’ve almost instantly become one of society’s outcasts. 

That’s why it touches them so much when someone is willing to reach out and offer them hope. And tucked at the base of a pristine tropical mountain range in Coimbatore, India, we partner with Embrace a Village to do just that. 

That’s where we met Marimuthu, who came from a nearby leper colony to receive medical care for his hands and feet. Because of their condition, both he and his wife made a living begging on the streets. 

Two years ago, his wife went into the city to beg and never returned. Sadly, he has no idea what happened to her. 

This sweet man with a radiant smile now comes to Embrace a Village to receive medical care, as well as rice for himself and his son. 

Marimuthu is just one of almost 3,500 leprosy patients who are being cared for weekly as we clean their wounds, feed them, provide care for their children during the day and even bury them when they pass away. 

And all along, we are sharing the Gospel with them and seeing many lives transformed by His unconditional love. 

Thank you so much for helping us share Christ and love these beautiful people in India.

Hand of Hope is the missions arm of Joyce Meyer Ministries. Our goal is simply to help as many hurting people as we possibly can, to alleviate human suffering and to help Christians grow in their faith.

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