Some of the photos are too graphic to be published in our magazine. They show the terribly-infected sores of leprosy victims whom we visited in Hyderabad, India, earlier this year. As we took those photos of leprosy victims and their festering infections (with their accompanying stench), our only consolation was the knowledge that Heaven’s Family was offering hope and healing through the compassion of one very special lady. She was dressing the wounds of those whom very few are willing to touch. Her name is Prasanna Johnson.
Prasanna was born of leprous parents. Together, they lived in a colony with other ostracized leprosy victims. Prasanna’s immune system kept her free from the disease, but it did not make her immune to the stigma of leprosy. As a child of leprosy-afflicted parents, Prasanna was denied an education. She would have remained illiterate if it were not for the compassion of a pastor who helped her gain entrance into a special school as a teenager. Her parents, however, were never permitted on the school premises.
At age 16, Prasanna was hired by a local hospital to clean the wounds of leprosy-afflicted patients. Because she’d remained immune to her parent’s disease, the hospital felt it was unlikely that she would contract it, and no one else was willing to do the task. “Even the medical workers did not want to touch leprosy patients in those days” recalled Prasanna. “That’s why I was hired.” Those medical workers also shunned Prasanna. “We were treated like untouchables.”
Her job was not only a means of supporting herself, but also her desperately needy family, whose deformities and lack of skills forced them to beg for survival.
After her graduation, Prasanna was presented with opportunities to pursue a better-paying career, but her life dramatically changed when she met Jesus at a church for leprosy victims. She gave her life to Him, and He gave her a passion to devote her life to serving those with leprosy. Eventually, Prasanna was hired by one of Heaven’s Family’s partners to direct the Christian leprosy care clinic that we founded, and continue to fund, in Hyderabad through our Leprosy Ministry Fund.
Prasanna didn’t waste any time getting the clinic up and running, and a team from Heaven’s Family in which I was included was delighted to be present at the grand opening last March. Prasanna can now be found there each day, treating infections caused by leprosy, distributing free food to leprosy victims who must beg to survive, and sharing Jesus’ love.