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April 5, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by K.P. Yohannan, has been the model for numerous charities like Gospel for Asia Canada, to help the poor and deprived worldwide – Discussing the pain of leprosy patients, the suffering and isolation, and the healing and hope brought through Gospel for Asia Sisters of Compassion.

As Chablis awoke for the day, pain bloomed in her legs. Weighed down by both the pain and exhaustion, the 75-year-old woman slowly rose from her bed. Should she go to the train station today? Or maybe one of the bus stands? But each step Chablis took reminded her how much her wounds hurt. She wasn’t going to make any money today.

The Pain of a Leprosy Patient

Discussing the pain leprosy patients, the suffering and isolation, and the healing and hope brought through Gospel for Asia Sisters of Compassion.
Sisters Prima and Serana, like the Sister pictured, cleaned the leprosy patients’ wounds and offered words of encouragement and love to the struggling men and women.

Chablis suffered from leprosy, a chronic infectious disease that primarily targets the skin and nerves in limbs. Unable to see a doctor, Chablis bore constant agony from her festering wounds. If she would have seen one, she might have been able to stave off the disease—leprosy is easily curable if treated early enough.[1]

The older woman lived with 40 other leprosy patients in a small colony, separate from the rest of society and shunned for their disease. The only option for survival was to beg for alms.

Train stations, bus stops and other public places were the typical areas Chablis and her fellow leprosy patients roamed, hoping passersby would take pity on them. But Chablis was often unable to walk because of the pain in her legs and couldn’t go out to beg. At times, she couldn’t leave her bed. She had nobody to help her, nobody to look after her.

Bringing Healing, Hope to Leprosy Patients

The leprosy colony rarely received visitors, but one day, a pair of women clad in simple white robes came walking in. Then the women did something even more strange: They helped the residents by cleaning their homes, preparing food and—most surprisingly—cleaning their wounds.

That was the day Chablis met two GFA World Sisters of Compassion. Sisters Prima and Serana worked in the colony for the next year, spreading God’s love among the leprosy patients. Prima and Serana prayed for each resident, hoping to bring emotional and physical relief in whatever ways they could.

The Lord Listens

Chablis, touched that these women cared about her, shared about her health and the pain she was experiencing. Prima and Serana listened and offered to pray for her. Every time the Sisters visited the colony over the next few months, they prayed for Chablis, asking God to intercede and relieve Chablis of her pain.

After four months of unceasing prayer, the Lord answered, and the pain Chablis had lived with for so long was completely gone. It was a miracle! She could walk. She could work in her home. She could take care of herself now.

Chablis’ healing introduced her to the love of God and the knowledge that He truly cares for people like her. Her heart desiring to know more, Chablis began attending the prayer meetings the Sisters held in the colony. Some of the other residents, having heard of Chablis’ healing, invited the Sisters to their homes for prayer in hopes that they, too, could find healing.


You can help change lives like Chablis’. Click here to see how you can actively touch the lives of leprosy patients through GFA World’s leprosy ministry.

[1] “Leprosy (Hansen’s disease).” World Health Organization. 29 December 2020. https://www.who.int/health-topics/leprosy#tab=tab_1

*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are Gospel for Asia World stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.


Source: Gospel for Asia Field Reports & Updates, Praying Away the Pain

Learn more about the Sisters of Compassion, the specially trained women missionaries with a deep burden for showing Christ’s love by physically serving the needy, underprivileged and poor.

Learn more about the GFA leprosy ministry, or the Reaching Friends Ministry, helping remind people affected by leprosy that, despite the stigma of leprosy, they have dignity and are valued by God.

Read more on Sisters of Compassion and Leprosy on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

March 24, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by K.P. Yohannan, whose heart to love and help the poor has inspired numerous charities like Gospel for Asia Canada, to serve the deprived and downcast worldwide, issued this Special Report update on the worsening hardships of leprosy patients amid the COVID 19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Causes Setbacks for Existing Leprosy Patients

As authorities struggled to know how best to respond to the COVID-19 crisis in the first part of 2020, it was all too common to find those who contracted the virus likened to “lepers”—a fear-mongering and dehumanizing reference to those with leprosy (Hansen’s Disease).

For example, when Italy began looking to reopen after a significant lockdown prompted by a high coronavirus death toll, the country’s foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio, commented, “If anyone thinks they can treat us like a leper colony, then they should know that we will not stand for it.”

Photo by Presidenza della Repubblica

In Australia, former television presenter Sam Newman commented that people in Melbourne, which introduced some of the toughest COVID-19 restrictions in the country, were “living in a leper colony.”

Meanwhile, in England, when television doctor Hilary Jones was asked whether it was safe to visit Birmingham, a city where cases had spiked, he answered “‘it’s not like a leper colony or anything.”

While such comments reveal some of the deep-seated alarm still aroused by the disfiguring condition, it’s also been suggested that lessons learned from the coronavirus could lead to leprosy rates being drastically reduced in South Asia—one of the areas where it remains most prevalent. During the pandemic, wealthy people in cities wouldn’t allow domestic help to come to their homes from where they lived in the slums for fear of COVID-19 infection. It is hoped that this dynamic will further expose the health disparity between rich and poor, maybe prompting a renewed effort to end the inadequate living conditions that incubate the disease.

People with leprosy have to deal with two crippling challenges— the lack of pain caused by deadened nerves that results in deforming injuries and the unseen internal pain they experience because of prejudice.

First, however, there will be a need to overcome the setback for existing leprosy patients caused by the pandemic. The lockdown across Asia meant many patients were not able to access the regular treatment required to treat them successfully, according to one group of researchers. Another study found people with leprosy were at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, in part because of the difficulty they had in maintaining personal hygiene due to deformities and lack of money for soap and sanitizers.

Dr. Mary Verghese
Dr. Mary Verghese,
Executive Director of The Leprosy Mission Trust India (TLMT)
Photo by The Leprosy Mission

The pandemic impacted leprosy patients more than any other vulnerable group, said Dr. Mary Verghese, executive director of The Leprosy Mission Trust India (TLMT). According to Dr. Verghese, “People affected by leprosy are one of the most marginalised sections of society.”

60% of those disabled by leprosy who were surveyed felt that life was “totally meaningless.”Elsewhere, with the pandemic bringing leprosy renewed media exposure, it could also awaken greater appreciation for the plight of those ostracized because of their condition. After all, being confined to one’s own home for an extended period because of coronavirus concerns may be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t compare to being forcibly isolated for the rest of one’s life in a leprosy colony.

It’s easy to recognize that people with leprosy have to deal with two crippling challenges—the lack of pain caused by deadened nerves that results in deforming injuries and the unseen internal pain they experience because of prejudice. There has not been a lot of research into the disease’s emotional damage. However, a recent study in Bangladesh set out to quantify how it impacts sufferers personally and found 60 percent of those disabled by leprosy who were surveyed felt that life was “totally meaningless.”

Because the pandemic has only worsened many leprosy patients’ isolation and economic hardship, one report in Nepal warned that it “may lead to increased loneliness among them, which may further affect their anxiety and depression level.”

GFA World Doing What it Can to Alleviate the Difficulties of People with Leprosy

Aware that people with leprosy were being pushed even further to the fringes by the pandemic, Gospel for Asia and other organizations already working among these outcasts did what they could to alleviate their difficulties.

Providing Basic Necessities

Providing Basic Necessities

GFA workers distributed laundry detergent, soap and food aid to widows and leprosy patients. These provisions were especially helpful because many leprosy patients sustain their daily existence through begging, which became impossible when the lockdown meant they couldn’t leave their homes.

Giving Goats as Income-Generating Tools

Giving Goats as Income-Generating Tools

Physical limitations preclude leprosy patients from some income-generating tools, but GFA has found a creative way to help them—giving them goats to raise. Goats offer a good solution for several reasons: They are fairly low-maintenance and easy to manage, they multiply quickly, and their kids and milk yield can provide a regular monthly income, eliminating the need to beg.

Helpful Care from Sisters of Compassion

Helpful Care from Sisters of Compassion

GFA’s work in scores of leprosy colonies across Asia extends beyond meeting just practical needs, as important as that is. GFA’s Sisters of Compassion and members of local churches who visit the colonies on a regular basis also aim to touch bruised hearts.

Physical Compassion and Genuine Concern

Physical Compassion and Genuine Concern

In addition to providing income-generating help, food and clothing, GFA teams offer physical care that embodies the love of Jesus. It comes in the manner in which Jesus responded when a man suffering from a skin disease came asking to be healed. Jesus didn’t do so just with a word of command, as He could have. Mark 1:41 notes, “Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out his hand and touched him.”

In the same way, GFA teams close the emotional gap that has separated so many people with leprosy from the rest of the world by literal hands-on care, such as tending for wounds. Patients at one colony were deeply touched when a visiting group shared a meal with them. It was “the first time people came and ate with us,” one said.

Among the residents of one of the leprosy colonies visited by Sisters of Compassion is Macia, who has lived there for more than 50 years, since contracting leprosy as a child. “Before the sisters came there was no one to help trim our hair or cut our nails, or help us clean our houses and encourage us,” she says. “The sisters help us by cleaning our wounds and they make us happy and encouraged all the time.”

Dr. K.P. Yohannan, GFA Founder
Dr. K.P. Yohannan, GFA World Founder

For GFA founder K.P. Yohannan, this incarnational ministry is “an example of how God works. He wants us, in our physical bodies, with hands, legs, eyes and ears, to live as Christ lived.”


Give to Help Those with Leprosy »

If this special report has touched your heart and you would like to do something to help people with leprosy, please share this article with your friends and consider making a generous gift to GFA World to help leprosy patients in South Asia and other locations.


About Gospel for Asia

Gospel for Asia – Transforming Communities (GFA World) is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.


Read the rest of this Gospel for Asia (GFA World) Special Report: Pandemic Worsens the Hardships of Leprosy Patients – COVID-19 intensifies two crippling challenges Part 1

Read more blogs on Gospel for Asia, Leprosy, and the COVID 19 Pandemic on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

KP Yohannan has issued two statements about the COVID-19 situation found here and here.

GFA’s Statement About Coronavirus


Learn more about the GFA leprosy ministry, or the Reaching Friends Ministry, helping remind people affected by leprosy that, despite the stigma of leprosy, they have dignity and are valued by God.

Learn more about the GFA World workers who carry a burning desire for people to know the love of God. Through their prayers, dedication and sacrificial love, thousands of men and women have found new life in Christ.

Learn more by reading these Special Reports from Gospel for Asia:


Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | Leprosy & COVID 19 | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response | International Offices | Missionary and Child Sponsorship | Transforming Communities through God’s Love

Read what 24 Christian Leaders are affirming about Gospel for Asia.

This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.

Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

March 17, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by K.P. Yohannan, whose heart to love and help the poor has inspired numerous charities like Gospel for Asia Canada, to serve the deprived and downcast worldwide, issued this Special Report update on the worsening hardships of leprosy patients amid the COVID 19 pandemic.

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by KP Yohannan, issues this Special Report on the hardships of leprosy patients amid the COVID pandemic

One of the unanticipated side effects of the seismic COVID-19 pandemic has been how it shed light on a community long consigned to the shadows—the several million people around the world living with leprosy.

Kalaupapa: Hawaii’s Leprosy Colony on Molokai
Kalaupapa:
Hawaii’s Leprosy Colony on Molokai
Photo by SeaSideWithEmily.com

This occurred in the news recently when the last county in the United States to get COVID-19 was shown to be located on a remote Hawaiian outpost and former leprosy colony.

The media exposure brought heightened attention to World Leprosy Day on January 24, an annual awareness initiative supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under the “Bust the Myths, Learn the Facts” banner aiming to dispel the misinformation that keeps the disease shrouded in fear.

Leprosy: Bust the Myths, Learn the Facts

Despite the fact that around 95 percent of the world’s population has natural immunity to the disease, leprosy patients continue to face unfounded discrimination. For example, in parts of South Asia, more than 100 laws restrict the rights of people with leprosy, including barring them from running for local office.

Despite the fact that 95% of the world’s population has natural immunity to the disease, leprosy patients continue to face unfounded discrimination.

Nor is leprosy as contagious as is widely believed. A study in Bangladesh found that less than two percent of those who shared a home with someone with leprosy would contract the disease themselves, “which is a reminder that there is no need to isolate people affected by leprosy.”

But that hasn’t curbed the shunning and shaming of leprosy patients, who are often forced to leave their communities and reduced to begging.

Leprosy Map 2019
Geographical distribution of new cases of Hansen’s disease reported to WHO in 2019. Source: World Health Organizaion/National leprosy programmes © World Health Organization (WHO), 2019. All rights reserved.

Throughout History, People Believed to Have Leprosy Were Among the Most Reviled

Carville's Cure - Leprosy, stigma, and the Fight for Justice
Photo by Amazon.com

Surprising to many is that the United States had its own leprosy colonies until not too long ago. The largest, in Hawaii, closed in 1969 after taking in more than 8,000 patients over its lifetime, while the last, in Louisiana, where patients weren’t allowed to vote or marry, was shuttered in 2015. Around 200 new cases are still reported in the United States each year, most among people who have spent time in parts of the world where the disease is more prevalent.

At one stage, a century back, the assistant surgeon general declared there were “1,200 lepers at large” in America, seeking permission to round them up like criminals, recounts journalist Pam Fessler in her book, Carville’s Cure: Leprosy, Stigma, and the Fight for Justice. It tells the story of the Louisiana leprosy colony and her husband’s grandfather, who ran away when he was diagnosed with the disease to avoid being confined.

“Throughout history, those believed to have leprosy… were among the most reviled members of society, outcasts sometimes believed to be sinners who brought the illness upon themselves,” says Fessler. “Even today, the threat of leprosy is used to demonize immigrants and people living in homeless encampments as potential carriers of the disease—although there’s no evidence that’s true.”

Eliminating Discrimination and False Conceptions Surrounding Leprosy is Key to Eliminating the Disease Itself

Progress in the Fight Against Leprosy
Photo by Gospel for Asia (GFA World)

As a previous Gospel for Asia (GFA) special report underscored, eliminating discrimination and false conceptions of leprosy is key to eliminating the disease itself. For, while effective drug treatments have been available since the 1980s, ongoing stigma means many sufferers wait too long to be diagnosed, causing irreversible damage. Meanwhile, clinical trials on a vaccine are continuing.

The coronavirus-fueled renewed focus on this largely forgotten disease has been two-edged—revealing how much deep-rooted ignorance and prejudice still has to be overcome while also offering hope for greater compassion, and even possibly a reduction in its incidence.


Give to Help Those with Leprosy »

If this special report has touched your heart and you would like to do something to help people with leprosy, please share this article with your friends and consider making a generous gift to GFA World to help leprosy patients in South Asia and other locations.


About Gospel for Asia

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.


Read the rest of this Gospel for Asia – Transforming Communities (GFA World) Special Report: Pandemic Worsens the Hardships of Leprosy Patients – COVID-19 intensifies two crippling challenges Part 2

Read more blogs on Gospel for Asia, Leprosy, and the COVID 19 Pandemic on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

KP Yohannan has issued two statements about the COVID-19 situation found here and here.

GFA’s Statement About Coronavirus


Learn more about the GFA leprosy ministry, or the Reaching Friends Ministry, helping remind people affected by leprosy that, despite the stigma of leprosy, they have dignity and are valued by God.

Learn more about the GFA World workers who carry a burning desire for people to know the love of God. Through their prayers, dedication and sacrificial love, thousands of men and women have found new life in Christ.

Learn more by reading these Special Reports from Gospel for Asia:


Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones

Read what 24 Christian Leaders are affirming about Gospel for Asia.

This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.

Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

March 8, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX — Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by K.P. Yohannan, whose heart to love and help the poor has inspired numerous charities like Gospel for Asia Canada, to serve the deprived and downcast worldwide — released a new special report amid new COVID social restrictions in force in many countries, reveals the loneliness and despair of people living with another “disease of isolation” — leprosy.

With new COVID restrictions in force worldwide, Gospel for Asia report reveals the despair & isolation the people living with leprosy endure
COVID STAY-AT-HOME ‘DOESN’T COMPARE TO LEPROSY ISOLATION:’ With new COVID social restrictions in force in many countries, a just-released report (http://www.gfa.org/press/leprosy-ministry) from Gospel for Asia (GFA World) reveals the loneliness and despair of people living with another “disease of isolation” — leprosy. The report marked World Leprosy Day late last month.

Sixty percent of disabled leprosy patients surveyed in Bangladesh said life was “totally meaningless,” says the report by missions agency Gospel for Asia (GFA World), who recently marked World Leprosy Day.

Being confined to home for extended periods due to pandemic restrictions might be uncomfortable, but “it doesn’t compare to being isolated for the rest of one’s life in a leprosy colony,” says the report, http://www.gfa.org/press/leprosy-ministry.

“Right now, many of us are having a difficult time in isolation due to the pandemic,” said GFA World founder K.P. Yohannan. “But what a privilege we have to take our eyes off ourselves and become the hands and feet of Jesus, helping to bring hope and God’s love to someone who’s forgotten and who believes their life is meaningless.”

In the report, GFA World highlights the remarkable work of local teams visiting leprosy colonies in Asia — where the disease is most prevalent — and bringing hope and healing to those forgotten by the outside world.

Leprosy ‘Not To Be Feared’

Teams of local women — known as Sisters of Compassion — visit leprosy colonies in South Asia, bringing food and encouragement to people living with disabilities and disfigurements caused by advanced leprosy. Their willingness to befriend people with leprosy — including many shunned by family and friends — shows others in the wider community that those living with the disease are not to be feared or isolated.

In fact, the disease — dreaded for centuries — is nowhere near as contagious as most people imagine. Around 95 percent of the global population is immune to leprosy, and it’s curable with antibiotics if detected early. There are hopes that a vaccine — currently in clinical trials — will bring an end to leprosy and its devastating impact on tens of thousands of lives every year.

For many, though, like Mungeli Das — who contracted leprosy as a girl more than 50 years ago and didn’t receive treatment in time — there’s little hope of a cure. Disabled and living in a leprosy colony, she clings to the help and hope that GFA World’s Sisters of Compassion bring her. The “sisters” follow the example of Jesus who, according to the gospels, touched and healed those with leprosy.

“Before the sisters came there was no one to help trim our hair, cut our nails or help us clean our houses and encourage us,” she said. “The sisters (clean) our wounds and they make us happy and encourage (us) all the time.”

Battling ‘False Stereotypes’

World Leprosy Day — an annual awareness event held on the last Sunday in January — aims to combat stigma and leprosy myths, including the negative and false stereotypes that further isolate people with leprosy.

Media reports comparing coronavirus lockdown restrictions to “living in a leper colony” fuel stigma and “dehumanize” people with leprosy, according to GFA World. Because of its wide use in a negative sense, the term “leper” feeds prejudice, the agency says.

Leprosy is not confined to Asia and other parts of the developing world. Every year, around 200 new cases are reported in the U.S. — mostly international travelers — and, until fairly recently, there were leprosy colonies in Hawaii and Louisiana, says the report.


Read another story on how the Lord is using Gospel for Asia to bring relief to those in need during COVID 19.

Those interested in supporting GFA World’s COVID 19 relief efforts in Asia, should go to: http://www.gfa.org/press/covid-19.

Media interested in interviews with Gospel For Asia should contact Gregg Wooding at InChrist Communications @ 972-567-7660 or gwooding@inchristcommuications.com


About Gospel for Asia

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.


KP Yohannan has issued two statements about the COVID-19 situation found here and here.

GFA’s Statement About Coronavirus

Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

Read more on Leprosy and the COVID 19 Crisis on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | COVID 19 & Leprosy | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response | International Offices | Missionary and Child Sponsorship | Transforming Communities through God’s Love

Notable News about Gospel for Asia: FoxNews, ChristianPost, NYPost, MissionsBox

Source: GFA World Press Room, COVID Stay-At-Home ‘Doesn’t Compare to Leprosy Isolation’ Says Gospel for Asia

November 23, 2020

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by K.P. Yohannan, has been the model for numerous charities like Gospel for Asia Canada Discussing leprosy, the struggle and stigma, and World Leprosy Day, and the Gospel for Asia medical center organized to spread healing and hope.

Discussing leprosy and World Leprosy Day and the Gospel for Asia medical center organized to spread healing and hope.
A patient visits a doctor during a medical treatment camp held to commemorate World Leprosy Day.

World Leprosy Day is commemorated each year on the last Sunday of January. The aim of the observance day is to raise awareness about leprosy (also known as Hansen’s disease) and its cure. For many Gospel for Asia workers and pastors, the day is also an opportunity to show God’s love and care to people who are often marginalized by society.

Leprosy Colonies Honored with Medical Care

In one region, a Gospel for Asia medical center organized a medical treatment camp in honor of World Leprosy Day. Two doctors provided free check-ups, medicine and other medical attention to men, women and children living with leprosy and battling other illnesses. Throughout the day, the medical center provided treatment to 140 people, all at no cost to the patients.

In addition, several Gospel for Asia pastors and their local fellowships of believers observed World Leprosy Day by providing clothing items for six different groups of people living with leprosy. In total, they provided leprosy colony residents with 600 warm blankets, 100 night dresses and 600 lungis (a traditional garment worn primarily by men resembling a tubular-shaped skirt).

This simple act of kindness made a significant impact on people struggling with leprosy. One woman explained how she never imagined God would rescue her from her misery, but He did.

Families living in a leprosy colony rejoice after receiving blankets and clothing items in honor of World Leprosy Day.

“When there was no bed… hospital authorities released me from the hospital. I was not able to take care of my body because I lost all my fingers,” she described.

“One day, when I was counting my days on the earth, God opened the way [for me to stay alive] through a [Gospel for Asia] leprosy worker who used to come and clean my wounds and gave me the love of God and care. Now, I am completely cured by the grace of God and the unique help of [the church].”

Families living in a leprosy colony rejoice after receiving blankets and clothing items in honor of World Leprosy Day.

Shared Meal Touches Hearts

In a different region, Gospel for Asia pastor Ladan and a group of believers prepared for World Leprosy Day a year in advance. During a prayer meeting, Pastor Ladan developed a great passion for sharing the love of God with the poor in his community. He shared this desire with the group.

They began to save money throughout the year in order to bless the poor with clothes and shoes. Once they collected a sizable sum, they shared their idea with local store owners, who then sold clothes and shoes to the believers at a discounted price. The team was ready to bless the poor in their community just in time for their World Leprosy Day program.

The program included a special delivery of the recently purchased goods to a nearby leprosy colony where 120 families lived. Pastor Ladan and the believers distributed two clothing items and a pair of shoes to each person. They also sang songs and shared that Jesus not only loves the sick, but He also can heal them. The believers took time to talk and pray with those battling leprosy.

Afterward, the team cooked a meal and ate with the families living in the colony. The patients were especially touched when the group of believers shared a meal with them.

A supervisor in the leprosy colony explained that groups would come and offer gifts to the patients, but when this group of believers came, it was “the first time people came and ate with us.”

One of the patients in the colony described the impact of the visit.

“When I was infected by leprosy, I was even rejected by my own family, and they began to hate me,” he said. “You are a stranger to me; however, you came and showed your kindness to us.”

Although leprosy often carries a stigma that keeps those carrying the disease isolated from family and community, World Leprosy Day gives an opportunity to spread healing and hope. Leprosy—and loneliness—can be cured. Gospel for Asia medical camps, pastors and other national workers offer an answer for both.


Read about a woman with leprosy who learned to read through the care of another Gospel for Asia program.

*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are Gospel for Asia stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.


Source: Gospel for Asia Field Report, Helping Leprosy Patients ‘Stay Alive’

Learn more about the GFA leprosy ministry, or the Reaching Friends Ministry, helping remind people affected by leprosy that, despite the stigma of leprosy, they have dignity and are valued by God.

Read the GFA special report update on the leprosy problem where global leprosy-elimination leaders are making exciting advances both medically and socially that are worth noting: Progress in the Fight Against Leprosy: Leprosy Prevention is Key to Elimination

Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | 100 Million Missing Women | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response |

Notable News about Gospel for Asia: FoxNews, ChristianPost, NYPost, MissionsBox

May 26, 2020

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World and affiliates like Gospel for Asia Canada) founded by Dr. K.P. YohannanDiscussing the difficulties of people afflicted with leprosy, the rejection and isolation, and the GFA leprosy ministry and the GFA Compassion Services that helps leprosy patients understand how much God loves them and values their lives.

Serving others in Jesus’ Name takes on many different forms. For many of our workers, their ministry is focused on bringing God’s love to people afflicted with leprosy.

One national missionary, Sakshi, experienced firsthand the difficulties of leprosy. She contracted the disease as a teenager, and although she eventually was cured of leprosy, Sakshi didn’t forget the rejection she experienced from her community.

Discussing the difficulties leprosy patients, the GFA supported leprosy ministry helping the afflicted understand how much God loves & values them.Later serving as among leprosy patients, Sakshi noticed, “Nobody is there to comfort the leprosy patients and to give any kind of encouragement. Nobody wants to love them, hug them, or to come near to them to dress them.”

“I will become their daughter,” Sakshi decided. “I will become their grandchildren, and I will help them and encourage them, and I will love them.”[1]

Leprosy imposes an extremely heavy burden on its victims. News sources share story after story of the struggles people face after contracting leprosy.

Here are just a few stories of what some have had to go through as a result of their disease:

“Basha is 65 years old and told me he was thrown out of his family home when at 20 he started to develop small patches of numbness on his skin. This can be a symptom of leprosy and is what brought Basha to the colony, where he’s lived ever since, and although he told me he has several brothers and sisters, he said he’s never seen them again.”[2]

“Anjana is 45 years old, but easily looks a decade older with deformed hands, feet, and eyes, due to late diagnosis and treatment. She was abandoned by her own family, and now counts the community as her family. ‘I need bandages for my hands and eyes, but the government clinic keeps running out of them, so I have to buy them. Where will I get money to buy them?’ she asks.”[3] Adding insult to injury (which, in itself, is the story of what it is like to live with leprosy), Anjana has difficulty withdrawing her monthly pension ($4.21US) because her government requires a fingerprint verification—and her fingers are too marred to provide a fingerprint.

Ashok contracted leprosy when he was 10 years old. Cured of the disease but permanently deformed by it, Ashok, now 52, was forced into more than 40 years of begging to sustain himself.[4]

“Nagama is in her 20s. She does not have leprosy, but her mother and grandmother do. Because they are blind and incapacitated, Nagama could not care for them in her own home without raising the rejection of family and friends. So, she moved to the leper colony to look after them.”[5]

Nagama’s story is significant because she has demonstrated compassion toward her mother and grandmother—something too few leprosy patients receive.

Leprosy can be a devastating disease. Left untreated, it often renders patients physically disfigured and dependent upon help from others. The life-altering effects of leprosy cause others to fear catching the disease, even though it is not easily transmitted. That leads to the worst part of leprosy: the rejection leprosy patients typically receive from other people.

Because of the breadth and intensity of the ostracism they face, people with leprosy are often forced into isolated communities of leprosy patients, or they move to one voluntarily. The settlements are typically the only places where people with leprosy can obtain a feeling of peer acceptance.

Dr. K.P. Yohannan, the founder of Gospel for Asia, began our leprosy ministry over a decade ago. What he started as Reaching Friends Ministry is now a significant part of GFA’s Compassion Services initiative.

God does not reject people afflicted by leprosy. Instead, He loves them and offers them adoption as His sons and daughters. National workers demonstrate His love to leprosy patients and help them learn about the eternal life found in Christ.

Our workers, such as Sisters of Compassion, care for leprosy patients in many ways, such as by distributing food, providing medical aid, teaching health and hygiene programs, facilitating adult education, and tutoring children who live in the colonies. Each worker also provides encouragement, comfort and prayer, helping people afflicted with leprosy understand how much God loves them and values their lives.

When leprosy patients learn Jesus cares about them personally, many want to put their trust in Him and be defined by what Jesus says they are: treasured.

Ask the Lord to burden your heart for people living with leprosy. Pray for GFA’s Compassion Services and for the workers who minister within leprosy colonies, and ask God to bring relief and eternal hope to people affected by leprosy.


Learn more about the leprosy ministry, or the Reaching Friends Ministry, helping remind people affected by leprosy that, despite the stigma of leprosy, they have dignity and are valued by God.


[1] “I Will Be Their Daughter”. Gospel for Asia. https://www.gfa.org/news/articles/i-will-be-their-daughter January 2017.

[2] Gap Year, India’s Forgotten People: Visiting a Modern Day Leprosy Colony

[3] The Hindu, A dying disease, but leprosy colonies still face stigma, shortage of funds

[4] https://www.livemint.com/news/india/life-after-leprosy-india-s-untamed-disease-1553164760394.html

[5] Gap Year, India’s Forgotten People: Visiting a Modern Day Leprosy Colony


Sources:

Image Source: Gospel for Asia, Photo of the Day

Learn more about how to bring practical help in Jesus’ name to the suffering and needy, relieving the burdened, rescuing the endangered and revealing God’s compassion to the people of Asia through Gospel for Asia Compassion Services.

Learn more about the GFA-supported national workers who carry a burning desire for people to know the love of God. Through their prayers, dedication and sacrificial love, thousands of men and women have found new life in Christ.

Read the GFA special report update on the leprosy problem where global leprosy-elimination leaders are making exciting advances both medically and socially that are worth noting: Progress in the Fight Against Leprosy: Leprosy Prevention is Key to Elimination

Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

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May 13, 2020

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World and affiliates like Gospel for Asia Canada) founded by Dr. K.P. YohannanDiscussing Sakshi, the pain and suffering she went through from contracting leprosy as a teenager, and the calling she now lives in sharing healing and compassion for leprosy patients as a Gospel for Asia-supported Missionary.

“Don’t open my bandage!” the leprosy patient cried out. For years the patient believed it was because of their sin that the destructive disease controlled their body. Now, they thought they must suffer and settle with bearing it alone.

With love and deep understanding, Sakshi, a Gospel for Asia-supported missionary, revealed her own hands and feet to the patient, deformity clearly marking what leprosy’s nerve killing illness left behind.

“No, no, this is not some sin,” Sakshi said. “I myself have gone through this.”

Gospel for Asia founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan: Discussing Sakshi, the suffering from contracting leprosy, & the calling she now lives in sharing healing and compassion for leprosy patients as a Gospel for Asia-supported Missionary.

The unique compassion for leprosy patients came from Sakshi’s own storehouse of experience. She too had wrestled with the same hurts, rejection and suffering from this disease. It came the hard way, but God used leprosy for Sakshi’s good and for the healing of many broken and lonely people.

Gospel for Asia founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan: When Sakshi was only a young girl, she found out she had leprosy. After others heard about it, they kept their distance, and she endured rejection
When Sakshi was only a young girl, she found out she had leprosy. After others heard about it, they kept their distance, and she endured rejection—even among her own family members.

Contracting the Feared Disease

As a teenager, Sakshi found out she had leprosy. Being the oldest child, it was a sudden shock when her brothers and sisters, who usually looked up to her, abruptly pulled away and wanted nothing to do with her. It was a harsh transition she had no control over.

Many thoughts of what life would be like from now on flooded Sakshi’s mind. Now she wouldn’t be able to visit neighboring homes, and no one would want to be her friend anymore. The sorrow of rejection enveloped her and put her in a place of deep depression. She began to wonder why she should live any more. Who would love her and care for her now?

In her hopelessness, Sakshi tried to hang herself. Thankfully, her father saved her and spoke words of life into her weary soul. He told Sakshi she was a precious child and urged her to strengthen her heart through the pain and hardship.

“So my papa was becoming so much a comforter to me and he comforted me and even my brother and sister, they used to hate me, and they don’t want to talk with me, they were not in home at that time when I was doing all these things,” Sakshi shared. “So my father, he saw me and he pulled me from there, and he made me understand everything, and after that I became ok.”

After the conversation with her father, Sakshi gave up trying to end her own life, but she still felt alone and worried. Others said it was her fault she contracted the disease, and Sakshi began to believe it.

Gospel for Asia founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan: When Sakshi experienced complete healing from leprosy, she dedicated her life to serving the Lord and helping others. She attended Bible college and served in leprosy ministry after graduation.
When Sakshi experienced complete healing from leprosy, she dedicated her life to serving the Lord and helping others. She attended Bible college and served in leprosy ministry after graduation.

Finding Healing and Ministry

As days, months and years went by, the leprosy in her body grew worse. One of Sakshi’s fingers bent in an awkward position, and she had terrible pain in her leg. Doctors encouraged her to go through with amputating her leg, but that frightened Sakshi. It was this time in her life when she met a few Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries who encouraged her and prayed for her. They shared about the love of the Healer, and Sakshi began to pray in faith and ask Jesus to heal her own body. By God’s power and grace, a miracle happened and Sakshi was healed from leprosy!

Immediately after she was healed, Sakshi decided to serve the Lord full time. She attended a Gospel for Asia-supported Bible college, and after graduation, her heart’s desire was to serve in the leprosy ministry.

Gospel for Asia founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan: With Christ’s compassion and love, and with true understanding received from her own experience with leprosy, Sakshi served the patients as though they were her own relatives. She touched those whom others would dismiss away in fear.
With Christ’s compassion and love, and with true understanding received from her own experience with leprosy, Sakshi served the patients as though they were her own relatives. She touched those whom others would dismiss away in fear.

Touching the Untouchable and Despised

“Nobody is there to comfort [the leprosy patients] and to give any kind of encouragement,” Sakshi explained. “Nobody wants to love them, hug them or to come near to them to dress them.

“…They have so many inner pains in their heart, because they also are human beings. They also need love, care and encouragement from other people.”

With Christ’s compassion and love and with true understanding from her own experiences, Sakshi served the patients as though they were her own relatives.

“By seeing them, I am thinking that I will fill the gap,” Sakshi said. “I will give that love, which they are not getting from their grandchildren and daughters… I will become their daughter, I will become their grandchildren, and I will help them and encourage them and I will love them.”

The Lord healed the wound of rejection that had cut into Sakshi’s heart as a teenager. She suffered pain and hardship, but she could later tell her story to those who are walking in shoes she once walked in.

By helping them with housework, giving hugs, washing clothes and combing hair, Sakshi helped these precious patients see they are not forgotten by God and are created in His image. These simple acts of kindness mean the world to these who are often forgotten or thought of as being void of emotions and feelings. Sakshi understood this, and God has used her testimony to display the hope and true unchanging love of Jesus to the unloved.

“I know that God will love them,” Sakshi said. “As God loved me and He healed me, in the same way I want to love them.”

Gospel for Asia founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan: Jesus’s compassion for those with leprosy is found clearly in Scripture. Together we can be the hands and feet of Jesus and show the unloved they are indeed loved by the Healer!
Jesus’s compassion for those with leprosy is found clearly in Scripture. Together we can be the hands and feet of Jesus and show the unloved they are indeed loved by the Healer!

Display the Compassion of Christ

In Mark 1:41, Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand to a man with leprosy and healed him. You too can be part of ministering to these precious people who will hear, some of them for the first time, that Jesus loves them and is not afraid to touch and hold them. Show Christ’s compassion through Gospel for Asia’s leprosy ministry!


Learn more about the GFA-supported leprosy ministry, or the Reaching Friends Ministry, helping remind people affected by leprosy that, despite the stigma of leprosy, they have dignity and are valued by God.

*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are Gospel for Asia stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.


Source: Gospel for Asia Featured Article, I Will Be Their Daughter

Read the GFA special report update on the leprosy problem where global leprosy-elimination leaders are making exciting advances both medically and socially that are worth noting: Progress in the Fight Against Leprosy: Leprosy Prevention is Key to Elimination

Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

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Notable News about Gospel for Asia: FoxNews, ChristianPost, NYPost, MissionsBox

March 15, 2020

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World, founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan) issues the second part of a Special Report update on the current progress in the fight for zero leprosy, and how we can eliminate this disease and it’s stigma on a personal level.

Zero Leprosy: A Human Rights Issue

Advocates for zero leprosy are active on the social battle-front as well. The shunning and discrimination experienced by people with leprosy are gradually being recognized as an issue of human rights, not only the result of a medical problem, which means appropriate actions can be taken to combat the issue.

Leprosy is not a hereditary disease, which is why many children born to leprosy parents are healthy.
Leprosy is not a hereditary disease, which is why many children born to leprosy parents are healthy. But the risk of contacting leprosy from their family member is very high due to living in a close proximity.

Alice Cruz, UN Special Rapporteur, speaks out boldly against the abused rights of people affected by Hansen’s disease.

“Persons affected by leprosy and their families have been subjected to serious human rights violations,” she says. “They have been denied their dignity and their basic human rights; subjected to stigmatizing language, segregation, separation from their families, and separation within the household, even from their children.”

Alice and many others are calling upon nations to take action on behalf of leprosy-afflicted individuals and their families, making it known that social rejection of leprosy patients is needless and unacceptable.

Groups such as the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy and International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP) are working at an international level to eliminate leprosy, in part by changing the way people with Hansen’s disease are perceived by society.

ILEP maintains careful watch on the 136 policies globally that promote or enable discrimination against people afflicted with leprosy and seeks to help those policies change. These legislations range from permitting divorce and expelling students from universities to requiring that individuals with leprosy be deported. It’s hard to believe that people infected with a completely curable disease can be legally deported in parts of the world, but that is the reality of the extreme fear and stigma linked to leprosy.

Social rejection of leprosy patients is needless and unacceptable.

In addition to seeking changes in laws regarding people with Hansen’s disease, ILEP is also influencing people’s everyday approach to leprosy. When writing about leprosy and the people whom it affects, they adhere to strict guidelines as to the terminology, imagery and photography used. They reach out to media sources to encourage them to alter their pieces to ensure that people with leprosy are treated with respect and dignity. ILEP challenges everyone to do the same, even providing samples of how to respectfully request someone to change their terminology.

Eliminating Stigma on a Personal Level

Legislation regarding how society should interact with people with leprosy is extremely important, but even so, changing deeply ingrained attitudes is ultimately up to the individual; a law cannot create love in a person’s heart toward others. Each person must overcome obstacles on a personal, intimate level—and Jesus can help them do that.

Gospel for Asia-supported workers have been showing love and respect toward leprosy patients for decades. Their love for Jesus helps them overcome their cultures’ normal attitudes toward those with leprosy, and now they serve as powerful examples to many communities across Asia.

Workers at a GFA-supported hospital for leprosy patients witness on a daily basis the emotional needs of people afflicted with Hansen’s disease. When asked how patients respond to the kindness demonstrated by hospital workers, GFA’s field correspondent explained that deep bonds frequently develop. The patients receive their caregivers as sons and daughters, welcoming them into their lives in place of the biological family that spurned them. Being seen for who they are and not what disease they have gives these patients courage to press on and live a life with hope.

All the hospital staff at the Gospel for Asia-supported Medical Clinic exist and function with a purpose to help the poor and needy, including leprosy patients, through our medical facilities.
All the hospital staff at the GFA-supported Medical Clinic exist and function with a purpose to help the poor and needy, including leprosy patients, through our medical facilities.

At a medical camp organized to bless a leprosy colony in another part of Asia in honor of World Leprosy Day, children from a GFA-supported Bridge of Hope center performed a skit for the colony residents. These children are learning from a young age to respond to leprosy patients with compassion rather than with fear, with kindness instead of rejection. Most of the people living in this colony had already been cured of leprosy, but their damaged limbs caused their society to spurn them anyway. Although their families and society reject these leprosy patients, these children and national workers showed them the dignity they deserve as human beings bearing God’s image.

Each person who gains an honoring viewpoint toward those afflicted with leprosy is another voice for change, one more compassionate heart to aid those in need and one more step bringing us closer to eliminating leprosy.

Through the diligent efforts of scientists, medical workers, policy makers and compassionate citizens around the globe, we see exciting new advances in the fight against leprosy. The battle is not yet won, but we are better equipped to press in and overcome this devastating disease.

A speaker at the International Leprosy Congress summarized the global leprosy situation well: “The last mile in the work of leprosy, it can be accomplished. We absolutely can do this, but we can only do it together.”

What can you do to help eliminate leprosy?

Pray

  • Pray for successful preventative medical treatments.
  • Lift up the GFA-supported workers and all the other men and women who are helping change society’s perception of those afflicted with leprosy.

Give

Advocate

  • Be a positive voice toward those with Hansen’s disease.
  • Encourage others to partner with organizations serving people afflicted with leprosy.

We live in an amazing era where eradicating devastating diseases is possible. Let’s celebrate the triumphs already won in the fight against leprosy and press on toward global leprosy elimination!


Progress in the Fight Against Leprosy — Leprosy Prevention is Key to Elimination: Part 1

This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.

Read another Special Report from Gospel for Asia on Leprosy: Misunderstandings.


Learn more about the GFA-supported leprosy ministry, or the Reaching Friends Ministry, helping remind people affected by leprosy that, despite the stigma of leprosy, they have dignity and are valued by God.

Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | Poverty Alleviation | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response |

Notable News about Gospel for Asia: FoxNews, ChristianPost, NYPost, MissionsBox

March 14, 2020

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan issues the first part of a Special Report update on the current progress in the fight against leprosy where global leprosy-elimination leaders are making exciting advances both medically and socially.

Gospel for Asia (GFA) founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan issues a Special Report update on the current progress in the fight against leprosy where global leprosy-elimination leaders are making exciting advances both medically and socially.

In 2018, another 208,619 new cases of leprosy were detected globally. Is any progress being made in the fight to eliminate leprosy?

In short, yes. Even detecting those new cases is one step closer to conquering leprosy. However, the fact that more than 200,000 people were diagnosed with leprosy reveals we still have work to do.

As discussed in Gospel for Asia’s previous Special Report, Leprosy: Misunderstandings and Stigma Keep it Alive, the fight against leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, has two main battlefronts. The first and most obvious is in the medical field: detecting and treating leprosy patients before they suffer permanent damage or transmit the disease to anyone else. The second battle line is equally important—and equally challenging: eliminating discrimination and stigma toward those affected by leprosy.

Global leprosy-elimination leaders are making exciting advances both medically and socially that are worth noting.

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan: Sabita is a cured leprosy patient.
Sabita is a cured leprosy patient who does not presently suffer from her sickness. She is able to walk to couple of kilometers a day, and do basic tasks like making tea. Although leprosy caused deformation in Sabita’s hands and body, it is completely cured now and she is experiencing life as a happy and content individual.

Medical Advances: Leprosy Prevention Is Key to Elimination

One of the great hindrances in eliminating leprosy is detecting and treating new cases before the infection spreads to others. Leprosy can take as long as 20 years to manifest physical signs of the infection and can spread to many vulnerable people during that incubation period. Additionally, because people with leprosy are frequently ostracized by society, many who suspect they have contracted leprosy will hide their condition, enabling transmission and going without the treatment that would save them from disfigurement.

Leprosy can take as long as 20 years
to manifest physical signs of the infection.

Multi-drug therapy (MDT) treatment has successfully cured leprosy patients since the 1980s, but it is not preventative in nature. The treatment does eliminate any chance of transmission in cured patients, but that alone cannot eliminate global leprosy due to the number of people who hide their condition. MDT also does not reverse any damage caused by the disease, so impacted nerves or wounds experienced from nerve damage remain as evidence of the patient’s traumatic health issue. Treatment must be provided prior to disfigurement in order to avoid these physical effects of leprosy.

For these reasons, preventing and quickly detecting new cases are vital partners to the established MDT treatment.

Photomicrograph of a skin tissue sample from a patient with leprosy reveals a cutaneous nerve invaded by numerous Mycobacterium leprae bacteria. Photo by Arthur E. Kaye, CDC
Photomicrograph of a skin tissue sample from a patient with leprosy reveals a cutaneous nerve invaded by numerous Mycobacterium leprae bacteria. Photo by Arthur E. Kaye, CDC

A Vaccine for Leprosy

A new player for leprosy elimination is on the horizon: a leprosy vaccine. American Leprosy Missions (ALM), a Christian organization focusing on aiding those impacted by neglected tropical diseases, is 17 years into its partnership with the Infectious Disease Research Institute to develop the world’s first leprosy-specific vaccine. The vaccine, LepVax, has proven hopeful during the development process and is currently being tested among volunteers in a leprosy-endemic area.

In its recent report on the Phase 1a clinical trial, ALM writes, “We believe this leprosy vaccine will be an exciting new way to stop the transmission of leprosy and the only way to protect people long term. What’s more, the vaccine may protect against nerve damage among those already diagnosed with leprosy, the most serious complication of leprosy.”

If people living in areas with high rates of leprosy received a leprosy vaccine, new cases could be avoided—an incredible landmark in global leprosy elimination. This promising vaccine is projected to be in Phase 1b clinical trials for another two years before moving on in the development process.

Preventative Medication

Another exciting new shift in the world of leprosy is the use of preventative medication for those at risk of developing leprosy. This relatively new practice takes one of the drugs used in the MDT treatment, rifampicin, and administers it to people in frequent proximity to those with leprosy, such as family members of leprosy patients or those living in endemic areas.

ALM provided 7,091 pounds of critical medicines and supplies to Ghana partners. Photo by ALM
ALM provided 7,091 pounds of critical medicines and supplies to Ghana partners. Photo by ALM

This single-dose rifampicin (SDR) treatment reduces people’s risk of developing leprosy by 60 percent, whether or not they have previously been exposed to the disease. It is not a magic cure—success rates vary among the different kinds of leprosy, and protection only lasts a few years—but it has an additional benefit. Providing this treatment for those at risk of contracting leprosy also enables medical workers to discover early cases of leprosy in people who might otherwise not be examined. The stigma around leprosy, however, has barred the way for medical treatment in many areas. Many people still hesitate to do anything in connection to leprosy treatment, even if it is preventative.

Resources to overcome challenges like this were presented during the 20th International Leprosy Congress. In September 2019, more than 1,000 people from 55 countries gathered in Manila, Philippines, for the Congress. There, scientists, practitioners and leprosy advocates shared research, ideas and resources to further their goal of zero leprosy.

During the Congress, the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy launched the Best Practices Zero Leprosy Toolkit, designed to “support countries in their work towards ending leprosy and its associated disabilities and stigma.”

Just one of the valuable resources this kit contains is advice on how to prepare communities to be favorable toward receiving preventative SDR.

Medical personnel found that performing pre-treatment counselling in communities promoted willingness toward participation in the SDR preventative treatment. Education about leprosy made 90 percent of those in close connection to leprosy patients willing to participate in the treatment.


Progress in the Fight Against Leprosy — Leprosy Prevention is Key to Elimination: Part 2

This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.

Read another Special Report from Gospel for Asia on Leprosy: Misunderstandings.


Learn more about the GFA-supported leprosy ministry, or the Reaching Friends Ministry, helping remind people affected by leprosy that, despite the stigma of leprosy, they have dignity and are valued by God.

Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | Poverty Alleviation | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response |

Notable news about Gospel for Asia: FoxNews, ChristianPost, NYPost, MissionsBox

December 14, 2019

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA) – Discussing the discrimination leprosy patients experience, and the grace of God through leprosy ministry missionaries to help and heal the uncared for and shunned.

Discussing the discrimination leprosy patients experience, and the grace of God through leprosy ministry missionaries to help and heal the uncared for and shunned.

Bahula Rajal couldn’t ignore the woman lying on the ground in her own vomit. Other people walked past her, careful to keep a safe distance. Bahula could tell the woman had leprosy; even so she wouldn’t be like the others who looked away and pretended the woman didn’t exist. In Bahula’s heart, this woman was her family.

Bahula and her two companions helped the sick woman to her feet and brought her back to their home. After they washed her and gave her clean clothes to wear, they gave her something to eat and drink, and they prayed for her.

The following morning, the woman overflowed with love toward Bahula and the other Gospel for Asia-supported women missionaries, profusely thanking them for helping her in her most desperate time of need.

“God sent you to me,” the woman said. “No one was there to take care of me. No one was there to give me even one drop of water, but God sent you to me.”

Discussing the discrimination leprosy patients experience, and the grace of God through leprosy ministry missionaries to help and heal the uncared for and shunned.

Indifference Turns to Compassion

“No one was there to take care of me. No one was there . . .”

That’s something most people affected with leprosy can repeat over and over again. The chronic, infectious disease has left them shunned, cast out of their homes, without family, without friends, clustered in colonies with others suffering from the same disease.

Bahula herself grew up in a leprosy colony. One of her relatives lived with the skin disease, but Bahula never had compassion on those who were affected. She had been just like the others who had walked past the woman, not caring to help or get involved in their lives. But after she surrendered her life to Christ, Bahula found herself being sent to serve among leprosy patients time and time again. She wondered why God kept bringing her back to the same place—and especially to her own village—but now she sees it as His perfect purpose for her.

“Now, when we clean their wounds and I see the swelling and the blood, I feel like I am really doing God’s ministry,” Bahula says. “This is where God is present, and I feel that through this ministry, I’m really serving the Lord. I have peace in my life.”

A ‘Great Thing’ in His Life

Discussing the discrimination leprosy patients experience, and the grace of God through leprosy ministry missionaries to help and heal the uncared for and shunned.Bahula works alongside Gospel for Asia-supported pastor Jiva Giri, who pioneered Gospel for Asia-supported leprosy ministry in this area. The first time Jiva witnessed people cleaning leprosy wounds, he thought to himself, I could do a work like that. That would be a great thing in my life.

He could have easily turned his back, never again to set his eyes on the repulsive sight of decaying flesh. Instead, he found himself wanting to wash and bandage the mutilated hands and feet of these people. This desire grew in his heart, and he began asking the Lord when He would give him an opportunity to take care of those who had no one else to care for them.

With burdened hearts, Pastor Jiva and 12 others traveled to the different leprosy colonies, ready to minister. They washed the clothes of leprosy patients, cut their hair and nails and gave them baths. With each wound they dressed, they poured on the healing balm of Christ’s love. They testified of His grace, counseled, encouraged and prayed for them. They brought more than just physical healing—they brought a wellness to hearts and minds that comes from the knowledge one is cared for and loved.

Growing Ministry

That was the start of what is now the Gospel for Asia-supported leprosy ministry called Reaching Friends Ministry. Pastor Tarik Paul oversaw Reaching Friends Ministry when it first began in 2007. He thought it would only be a small effort to help a few people with whatever resources they had, but it has become one of the largest Gospel for Asia-supported ministries in this region.

“We never thought our ministry would expand so large or it would become so big,” Tarik says.

With a growing team of men like Pastor Jiva and women like Bahula who serve with committed hearts, thousands of people suffering from this disease are finding healing and wholeness to their once-marred lives.

“It is because of God’s grace that we have the strength, courage and motivation to work among these people, to share with them, to hug them, to love them and to care for them,” Pastor Jiva says.

Discussing the discrimination leprosy patients experience, and the grace of God through leprosy ministry missionaries to help and heal the uncared for and shunned.

Receiving Smiles in an Atmosphere of Love

As the missionaries persisted in their care, it became clear that long-term treatment was greatly needed. It was simple to clean and bandage the infected area, but this wasn’t ridding patients of the disease. These people needed medicine and professional care. So after years of praying, Gospel for Asia helped open a hospital in this region.

Those with leprosy would often stay away from hospitals because of the unfair and unkind treatment they received from doctors and medical staff. Some had been neglected, even left lying on the hospital floor. Others had medicine thrown at their feet without any instructions. Some doctors said the only remedy to their disease was amputation, leaving them terrified. As soon as they stepped inside the hospital staffed by Gospel for Asia-supported workers, however, they felt a huge difference.

“When they go to a hospital, it’s all formality. No one is there to smile at them, care for them or help them. It’s a business,” Tarik explains. “But when they started coming to our hospital, they saw the care that we give, the readiness of our people to help them, and that we provide them with the best treatments. . . . Our sisters talk with them, smile at them and encourage them.”

People travel from neighboring states to get treatment at the hospital for all sorts of maladies. Tarik says it’s not only for the medical care they receive, but also to enjoy the atmosphere of love. The medical staff encourages each patient, telling them their sickness is not a big problem for their God who heals.

“Don’t worry!” they say. “We will be praying for you.”

“It is because of God’s grace that we have the strength, courage and motivation to work among these people, to share with them, to hug them, to love them and to care for them,” Pastor Jiva says.
“It is because of God’s grace that we have the strength, courage and motivation to work among these people, to share with them, to hug them, to love them and to care for them,” Pastor Jiva says.

And with people like Pastor Jiva and Bahula faithfully ministering to them and taking care of them as if they were their own mother or father, brother or sister, they know it’s true. They know they have family that cares for them, given to them by a God who loves them.


Learn how you can pray for those with leprosy and the missionaries working among them.

Give to Leprosy Ministry.

*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are Gospel for Asia stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.


Source: Gospel for Asia Reports, Compelled by Love for Those with Leprosy

Learn more about the GFA-supported leprosy ministry, or the Reaching Friends Ministry, helping remind people affected by leprosy that, despite the stigma of leprosy, they have dignity and are valued by God.

Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

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