Showing the love of Christ to leprosy patients

(Photo courtesy AMG International)

(Photo courtesy AMG International)

India (AMG) — [Editor’s Note: Written by AMG’s Pat Ragen, this story shares the work AMG’s leprosy ministry is doing in India and how it is creating chances to share the Gospel.]

My first visit to AMG’s Valley of Love Leprosy Colony was in November of 2005. In the midst of already experiencing culture shock just by being in India, I was more than a little apprehensive about meeting my first leprosy victim. At the same time, I recognized what a unique privilege I was being given. Showing the love of Christ by shaking hands with a leprosy victim and hugging those who receive little affection in their culture is something few people have had the opportunity to do. Of course, we read of many encounters Jesus Himself had with those suffering from leprosy.

AMG’s leprosy ministry is a key part of our holistic approach to giving the Gospel: seeking to meet both physical and spiritual needs for God’s glory. AMG national workers conduct Sunday schools, youth meetings, and church gatherings among leprosy patients; they distribute Bibles and go house-to-house to share the Gospel with victims and their families. They also provide mobile clinics to diagnose and treat new cases, perform cataract surgeries at Kadyum Eye Hospital to restore sight, and provide food, clothing and medicines to those in Valley of Love and other colonies.

In India, the curse of leprosy still hangs over many, and the effects of the disease are irreversible. Leprosy patients and their families are cut off from employment, education, healthcare, and social services. Just as Jesus showed His love and power in caring for those society rejects, Christians in India are usually the only ones willing to reach out and touch those who suffer from this disease.

For decades, AMG India has led the way in showing the love of Christ to leprosy patients in Andhra Pradesh. Arun Kumar Mohanty, AMG India’s director, shares the need and vision for this unique ministry: “Leprosy patients, who are deformed and unable to work, need Christ’s love and care. The incidence of leprosy has come down [in recent] years; however, the victims affected by this disease have to continue living. The social stigma has not reduced. Our support to them is a testimony that the living God cares for them and has not forsaken them.”

To my surprise, I found my experience with leprosy patients who receive care from our AMG co-workers in India to be the highlight of my time there! I was humbled by their faith and their love for the Lord. Coming face to face with leprosy gave me a renewed understanding of the fact that all I need is Jesus.

While it is true that leprosy is now under control and new cases are reduced, the victims who are still living with leprosy need our help. They are disowned by their own families and society, but as Arun Kumar says, “the living God… has not forsaken them.” For this reason, there is need for us to continue the ministry to the leprosy victims.

Your gift of just $12 will provide basic food and necessities for one leprosy patient for one month. Your gift of $144 will provide these items for one leprosy patient for one year! Help AMG as they are providing for 700 patients each month. Click here!