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Heaven's Family Magazine
November 2011 Issue

A Leper’s Smile

The Leprosy Ministry Fund at Work in China

Carole Collins, Leprosy Ministry

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Su Gui hiding her disfigured hands, but not the joy in her heart

Leprosy.” Eternal silence seemed to follow that single, dreaded word as it fell from the doctor’s lips. Su Gui Zhong’s heart began to race in panic as the diagnosis of an infected patch of skin registered. I’m a leper! Only 24 years old, she knew that her world was about to end.

Before that awful moment, Su Gui had every reason to be optimistic about her future. She lived a simple but fulfilling life in rural China, happily married with three precious daughters. She and her husband had recently finished building a new house that had become their little home. Her community was tight-knit and supportive.

The doctors, however, had no treatment for leprosy—and no one could remedy the age-old cultural reaction that was about to violently rip Su Gui’s life from her.

As a leper, she was inducted into the “shame” class, to be hidden forever from the rest of society. Following accepted custom, Su Gui’s husband divorced her, and she was banished to a remote, mountaintop colony where she would spend the rest of her life. Her new “family” consisted of 24 other lepers. She was told she could never have visitors—not even her own daughters.

That was 30 years ago. Over the ensuing years, Su Gui witnessed the gradual deterioration of her hands from leprosy. Although modern medicine eventually arrested the advance of the disease in her body, it could not change the fact that she never shared in her daughters’ birthdays, graduations, or weddings. She never saw or held her grandchildren.

Amid her heartbreaking situation, however, a glimmer of hope broke through when Heaven’s Family partners began to visit Su Gui’s colony four year ago. They came to share the love of Jesus with a group of rejected and forgotten people. The visitors began by meeting pressing needs of food, clothing, blankets, medicine, wheelchairs and firewood. Over the years they continued to return, rebuilding bathrooms and other decrepit buildings. The team of believers also shared special moments of their personal lives, such as when they brought one of their wedding celebrations to the colony.

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Zhao Ming Xing, another leper who lives at the same colony as Su Gui

The group’s persistent love—enabled in part by gifts to Heaven’s Family’s Lepers Fund—finally broke through the hearts of Su Gui and two other colony residents, and they received Jesus Christ as Lord. Su Gui is rejoicing now that she has been adopted into a loving heavenly family and that she is destined for a wonderful home in heaven. She knows that the best is yet to come, and the smile on her face says it all.

THE BIGGER PICTURE:

Leprosy Ministry Fund contributors and readers of previous articles about Heaven’s Family’s work in China will know that we’ve been praying that hearts would open as we helped provide physical necessities in that Chinese leper colony. Our China ministry partner, American missionary Todd Matthews, recently wrote to us, “Our dream that God would use us to invite the ‘least of these’ to Christ’s banqueting table is beginning to be realized.” Please continue to pray that the salvation that has now been experienced by three of the lepers whom we’ve been praying for will spread to the others for whom Jesus has died. And thanks for your partnership.

Help those affected by leprosy

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This Month's Articles

Strategic Stewardship

Avoiding Capital Gains Tax on Real Estate Sales

Parting Shot: Feeling Blue Under a Green Cap

parting-shot

As you’re reading this, I’m serving in Myanmar (Burma) with a team of 18 people. We always have lots of fun in Myanmar interacting with precious children at the more than 30 Christian orphanages that we assist there. Last year in Myanmar, this sad little guy caught my camera’s eye. — David