Susanna’s face radiated with joy. And it was no wonder. For her, our arrival marked a new beginning.
I was in Hyderabad, India, to visit a community of people affected by leprosy that Heaven’s Family has been helping in various ways. Early last year, for example, through a child-sponsorship program, we opened a school for the ostracized, but healthy, children of those afflicted with leprosy. We’ve also opened a medical clinic just to serve the hundreds of people in Hyderabad who have the cruel disease.
But let me tell you about Susanna. She is a follower of Jesus who has a heart of compassion for the people of Hyderabad who have leprosy. She rejoiced at the opening of Heaven’s Family‘s school and medical clinic. When I met her, however, she was especially joyful, because she had been selected to play a part in yet another blessing to Hyderabad’s community of leprosy-affected people which is being made possible by gifts to Heaven’s Family‘s Leprosy Ministry Fund. That blessing is a sewing school.
Tragically, the adult children of those afflicted with leprosy in Hyderabad have never enjoyed any educational opportunities simply because of their parents’ stigma. Our new sewing school is the answer to their prayers, and one that will provide an alternative to begging. And the prayers of Susanna, their sewing instructor, have also been answered.
Susanna’s marriage had been arranged by her father. But wedded bliss turned into a nightmare when her husband started drinking and became an alcoholic. He squandered what little money the family made and frequently beat Susanna. Life at home became so unbearable that one of their sons ran away to live on the streets. Eventually Susanna’s husband left too, leaving her to provide for her two children alone.
Now Susanna will not only be able to provide for the needs of her own children, but she will also be able to share her God-given love for the people of Hyderabad who have leprosy and their disadvantaged adult children. Moreover, she’ll be helping them acquire marketable skills so that they can also help provide for their families. Thirty women are now enrolled in the one-year program.
The best news is that our partner in Hyderabad is a well-respected pastor whom we’ve known for years named Joab Lohara. The community of leprosy-affected people there knows that Jesus is Joab’s and his caring staff’s driving force, and they know that Christians from abroad are funding the new school, medical clinic and sewing school. Consequently, many are coming to repentance and faith in Christ. Your gifts to our Leprosy Ministry Fund are helping them to thankfully realize that Jesus still cares for them—through His body.