Love Conquers Leprosy
How one man’s daughter (and granddaughter) bring joy to his heart—as well as to a community
Grandchildren are a joy and a comfort to most grandparents, but few elderly leprosy patients in China ever get to experience that pleasure. That’s because so many feared catching the dreaded disease prior to the introduction of effective medicines in the 1970s (and irrational fear and superstition still keeps many away). And that’s why patients were exiled to remote colonies, usually atop mountains. If married prior to infection, their spouses usually divorced them, taking the children; if single, government policy prohibited marriage and reproduction, violation of which brought severe punishment and shame. Hopes for a family and offspring were usually dashed, and visits from family members rare—if at all.
Fortunately for Bojing (a fictitious name used to protect his identity), his story is a beautiful exception to the rule. Despite the fact that Bojing has been in his current “rehabilitation village” for 57 of his 70 years, and was deserted by the woman leprosy patient who bore his child, this humble gentleman has been blessed with a devoted daughter. But after being left as a newborn to be raised in a nearby village by her grandmother, she never again saw the mother who forsook her. Over the years she did, however, return to visit her father Bojing with faithful regularity. Even now as an adult, married and working in a distant city, she brings her lovely daughter—Bojing’s granddaughter—to visit him every summer, staying for a few weeks at a time—much to Bojing’s delight.
This example of family devotion blessed us during our Heaven’s Family team’s visit to several leprosy villages in Yunnan Province, China, last month. This particular village also has the devotion of a young pastor who grew up in an adjoining community. Though he had been brought up hearing warnings to never go near the leprosy village—nor eat the fruit off its trees or drink of the water from the stream flowing through it—his heart was drawn to the needs of its rejected residents after he met Jesus Christ. Seeing their misery, he asked how he could help, to which they replied, “We are hungry.” Thus began the provision of many distributions of food, now funded by Heaven’s Family’s Leprosy Ministry and the Unreached People Groups Ministry.
We’ve also helped leprosy communities install solar water-heating and distribution systems, constructed irrigation canals for their gardens, and supplied wheelchairs and concrete ramps to facilitate movement. And we’ve sought to encourage each one, making certain they understand God’s love for them by showing them the Jesus Film and through other means (this is a challenge due to tight government surveillance).
Thank you so much, Heaven’s Family contributors, for allowing yourselves to be used by God to provide relief and comfort to these leprosy-afflicted brothers and sisters who are so close to the Father’s heart.
Together with Him,
Director, Leprosy Ministry