“You can’t walk on this path, they said. You’ll contaminate it for everyone else, they scowled. You’re not welcome here.”
The words stung Bakari’s heart as he turned his face in shame. His neighbors and family no longer saw him as a man; all they saw were the curled hands and missing fingers. To them, these abnormalities heralded warnings to stay far away.
A Life Marred by Disease, Shame
Bakari was once respected in his small village. He worked hard and made an honest living as a farmer and as a daily wage laborer.
But Bakari’s life began to change when he fell sick. The fever in Bakari’s body and pain in his limbs hindered his work. His condition grew progressively worse, and soon Bakari lost all feeling in his fingers and feet. With nerves failing to send pain signals, Bakari suffered wounds that were stubborn in healing. His hands began to bend and deform in paralysis.
Then came the dreaded diagnosis:leprosy.
Some may consider it an archaic condition that no longer occurs, but for Bakari and thousands of others, it is a crippling reality. In 2018, there were 208,619 new cases of leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, most of which occurred among poor and other vulnerable, marginalized population groups.
Gospel for Asia (GFA) workers look beyond social stigma and care for leprosy patients in practical ways. They serve as the hands and feet of Christ as they tend patients’ wounds, distribute food, provide medical aid and education, help with everyday tasks patients can no longer do on their own, and pray for needs. Through GFA World’s Leprosy Ministry you can lift up those hands and provide the resources they need to continue demonstrating Christ’s love to those suffering from leprosy.
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