“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
In Luke 5:12-14 we have an amazing encounter between Jesus and a man suffering with leprosy. The man falls on his face before Jesus, and implores the Savior to heal him. Although the man is unclean, and Jewish law dictated that he stay away from others shouting, “unclean, unclean,” what happens next is incredible. Not only does Jesus not avoid him, but He reaches out and touches the leper. “I am willing; be cleansed,” He tells the man, who is immediately healed of the disease.
What an incredible act of love and compassion that was! Can you imagine what that touch meant to the leper, who in all likelihood had not been touched by anyone since he became sick with leprosy? I am sure he had been shunned by everyone else in his community. Jesus’ compassion to the leper broke accepted norms and likely shocked the crowd watching the encounter. That desperate leprosy sufferer had his deepest needs met when he encountered the Great Physician. As a result, he was healed spiritually, emotionally and physically.
With the help of our donors, AMG International has been following Jesus’ example of meeting people’s deepest needs for over 75 years. One way we do that in India is by ministering to leprosy sufferers who have to deal with the stigma of the disease. Their families and neighbors avoid them because of the predominant religious beliefs that still exist today. Thus, the only means of survival is by begging in the streets, while sacrificing their human dignity. But, when we serve and minister to them, their hope is restored. They are able to live in safe places, do constructive work, and learn about the love of Christ.
One of the most memorable moments of my last visit to India came about when I put my hands on and prayed for some of the more than 5,000 leprosy sufferers under the care of AMG India. I wish you could have seen the joy in their faces. I, too, felt incredible joy as I watched them sing hymns and praise the Lord for His love.
Many of those I met had disfigured hands, feet, and faces. You see, leprosy affects the nervous system, and that’s why leprosy victims cannot feel pain. They get blinded by cataracts, burned, cut, or even chewed by animals on the street and they cannot feel it. That is why there are many with missing fingers, toes, or other extremities. While leprosy can be treated and cured, any damage done is permanent.
The good news is that new cases of leprosy are now being diagnosed quickly and treated promptly in India. However, the thousands who have been permanently scarred will need special care for the rest of their lives.
It is our privilege to follow the example of Jesus by providing lepers with food, clothing, drug treatments, and cataract surgeries to restore their eyesight. It is only through your help that we can do that. Together, we can follow the example of Jesus and touch the untouchables of our day. Will you prayerfully consider joining us in reaching out to leprosy sufferers in India?