"While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him." - Luke 5:12-13
Contrary to popular belief, leprosy still exists.
According to the World Health Organization, leprosy is "a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, an acid-fast, rod-shaped bacillus. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes."
Leprosy can be contracted via droplets of fluid (i.e. saliva or mucous) and is transmitted via direct contact. Most cases of leprosy are treatable if caught at an early stage. However, if left untreated, leprosy can cause permanent tissue and nerve damage due to sores, scabbing, and degeneration. These symptoms oftentimes lead to amputation of digits and limbs.
In the desperately poor, rural regions of India, there are entire colonies of families suffering from leprosy who have very little access to healthcare. Despite the fact that the disease is not highly infectious, those suffering from leprosy are forced to the outskirts of society and labeled as "unclean," which basically disqualifies them from working or having access to basic necessities.
IDES regularly partners with a local Christian mission in India to provide food and water to the families in this leper colony. Using funds raised by the faithful volunteers who host Harvest of Talents events, food and water is provided to these families on a monthly basis.
"Because of IDES, these people are able to be fed every day and survive to serve the Lord," our partner said. "Because of your love and generosity, thousands of people in the places we serve in India are able to have their physical needs met. This often gives us an opportunity to share the Gospel and introduce Christ to the lives of those spiritually lost."
Just as Jesus interacted, loved, and healed those whom the society had deemed unclean, IDES partners follow in His footsteps to not only meet these families' physical needs, but also to share the Good News of the Kingdom with them.
"It’s an amazing story to witness these people with leprosy who once used to beg on streets for their livelihood now become warriors of Christ spreading how the love of Christ changed their lives forever," our partner said.
In July 2016 alone, 60 people accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. That's 60 more souls we get to meet someday at that heavenly feast. These are the results that YOUR prayers and generous gifts are capable of producing.
Jesus said that the poor will always be with us. Many of the poor around the world are also suffering from debilitating diseases and disorders. As Christ-followers, we have the responsibility to keep going, to keep giving, and to keep loving.
In the prayerful words of our partners in India, "We prayerfully request IDES to continue supporting these underprivileged people so that they can have food to fulfill their physical hunger and continue bringing those spiritually lost to Christ."