Heaven's Family Magazine
December 2010 Issue

The Forgotten People

The Lepers Fund at Work in China

David Growden


Wang Shou

Wang Shou formerly had hands and feet. But over the past 44 years, he’s watched them slowly disappear due to leprosy. He isn’t able to walk on the stubs that were once his feet, so he ties the soles of shoes to his knees and crawls everywhere he goes.

Wang lives with about 30 other forgotten people, all lepers, on a windy mountain ridge in China’s Yunnan Province. Like unwanted animals, the government prevents them from leaving their remote community lest they contact the outside world. Wang is now 58 years old, and he has lived in the isolated colony since he was 14. Although he has 2 brothers and a sister, they have never visited him in 44 years.

The Chinese government provides Wang (and the other lepers) with only $20 per month—barely enough to purchase a month’s supply of rice. Unlike most of the other lepers, Wang is physically able to grow a small garden and raise a pig, but he cannot plant rice for fear of drowning in the rice paddies.

American missionaries Tom and Shelly Verswald* have been making disciples in Yunnan Province for 10 years, focusing on some of Yunnan’s many unreached people groups. One of their converts, the first person among the A-Che Yi people to receive Christ, has been regularly leading outreach teams to serve Wang’s leper colony, bringing them essential needs such as warm clothing, rice, cooking oil, eggs, noodles and nutritional supplements. These acts of love are made possible through gifts to the Lepers Fund of Heaven’s Family.


Three other residents at the colony

After one of the team’s early visits, Tom wrote,

“They were incredibly touched, not just by the generosity, but by the fact that our team keeps coming back to see them. They did not want to let our team leave.”

Visits from outsiders are rare.

Now that hearts have been softened—under the watchful eyes of local police and communist officials—Tom’s teams have begun sharing the gospel to receptive listeners. Please pray that many will respond in faith.

*Names changed to protect their identities

The Bigger Picture:

Heaven’s Family’s Leper Fund has not only provided forgotten lepers in India and China with food and clothing, but also prosthetic limbs, housing improvements and vocational tools. We hope to establish a means for the residents at the above-mentioned Chinese colony to generate some income for themselves.

Help those affected by Leprosy


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