By: Todd Matthews

Love Conquers Leprosy 

 September 14, 2016

How one man’s daughter (and granddaughter) bring joy to his heart—as well as to a community

Dear Friend of His Feet International,

Grandchildren are a joy and a comfort to most grandparents, but few elderly leprosy patients ever get to experience that pleasure. That’s because so many feared catching the dreaded disease prior to the introduction of effective medicines in the 1970s (and irrational fear and superstition still keeps many away). And that’s why patients were exiled to remote colonies, usually atop mountains. If married prior to infection, their spouses usually divorced them, taking the children; if single, government policy prohibited marriage and reproduction, violation of which brought severe punishment and shame. Hopes for a family and offspring were usually dashed, and visits from family members rare—if at all.

Bojing, at front left in the white hat, with other residents of his remote leprosy community

Fortunately for Bojing (a fictitious name used to protect his identity), his story is a beautiful exception to the rule. Despite the fact that Bojing has been in his current “rehabilitation village” for 57 of his 70 years, and was deserted by the woman leprosy patient who bore his child, this humble gentleman has been blessed with a devoted daughter. But after being left as a newborn to be raised in a nearby village by her grandmother, she never again saw the mother who forsook her. Over the years she did, however, return to visit her father Bojing with faithful regularity. Even now as an adult, married and working in a distant city, she brings her lovely daughter—Bojing’s granddaughter—to visit him every summer, staying for a few weeks at a time—much to Bojing’s delight.

At left, the contagious smile of Bojing; at right, Bojing’s granddaughter (enjoying an ice cream treat), the apple of his eye

This example of family devotion blessed us during my visit to several leprosy villages last month. This particular village also has the devotion of pastor Paul Fang who grew up in a nearby community. Though he had been brought up hearing warnings to never go near the leprosy village—nor eat the fruit off its trees or drink of the water from the stream flowing through it—his heart was drawn to the needs of its rejected residents after he met Jesus Christ. Seeing their misery, he asked how he could help, to which they replied, “We are hungry.” Thus began the provision of many distributions of food which has now grown into over a dozen leprosy colonies.

We’ve also helped leprosy communities install solar water-heating and distribution systems, constructed irrigation canals for their fields, provided medical care, and supplied wheelchairs and concrete ramps to facilitate movement. And we’ve sought to encourage each one, making certain they understand God’s love for them by showing them the Jesus Film and through teaching, preaching, and distributing Bibles and resources (this sometimes is a challenge due to tight government surveillance).

Thank you so much, HIs Feet International contributors, for allowing yourselves to be used by God to provide relief and comfort to these leprosy-afflicted brothers and sisters who are so close to the Father’s heart.

If you want to help us spread the word about the ministries of HIs Feet International please tell those you know would be interested. We are always willing to come and share at churches or any group, and to meet with people individually as well.

Grateful to be His Feet

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