WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA) Special Report – Discussing the misunderstandings and social stigma that are kept alive toward leprosy patients, despite the disease being a curable worldwide problem.
Misunderstanding Leprosy: ‘I Deserve This Disease’
“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.
But after the leprosy patient’s exclamation, Sakshi, a GFA-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.”
This conversation, shared by GFA in 2017, gives a glimpse into the despair and belief of personal guilt many leprosy patients carry.
Sakshi understood only too well the shame and grief of those she served. Leprosy was detected in her body when she was only a teenager. Dreams of living life as a normal young woman shattered with that diagnosis. Her disease barred her from visiting her neighbors or from making friends, and it even estranged her younger siblings.
“[My brother and sister] used to love me so much, but when I got this sickness, they were hating me, and they don’t want to come to me for anything,” Sakshi recalls of her early days as a leprosy patient.
Acceptance and kind words from her community were replaced with rejection and accusations.
Read more about the plight of leprosy patients worldwide in Gospel for Asia’s Special Report: Leprosy — Misunderstandings and Stigma Keep it Alive – Although It’s a Curable Worldwide Problem.