The Need for Leprosy Ministry

Tens of thousands of people in Asia suffer from leprosy, a bacterial infection that affects the skin and destroys nerves, as well as from the social stigma of the disease.

Because the disease affects the nervous system, the areas of a person’s body affected with leprosy become numb. And because people suffering from leprosy cannot feel pain, they can easily injure themselves. These injuries can become infected, resulting in tissue loss. Ultimately, people with leprosy can lose portions of their fingers, toes and even limbs.

The social stigma can be devastating, perhaps even worse than the disease itself.

Leprosy can be cured without permanent damage if medical help is sought immediately. Unfortunately, the shame and social stigma surrounding the disease can cause leprosy to be viewed not as a curable disease, but as a curse. In remote places and among the poor, diagnosis and treatment often come too late. Many men, women and even children find themselves abandoned when they are affected by leprosy.

Over 200,000 new cases of leprosy are reported each year.
Half of these are in India.

How We’re Helping Leprosy Patients

GFA-supported leprosy ministry started as a small effort in 2007 to help a few people suffering with leprosy. Pastor Tarik Paul helped lead it at the beginning, and now “Reaching Friends Ministry” is one of the largest GFA-supported ministries in that region.

“We thought we would name the ministry differently, where they won’t have to remember their sickness or feel the stigma of it. So while praying and discussing, we thought, ‘Let us call them “friends” because they have been created in the image of God, like us. It is only the sickness that keeps them different, but let us not make that a barrier. Let us accept them as friends.’”—Pastor Tarik Paul, who helped lead Reaching Friends Ministry

God does not see people afflicted by leprosy as a curse. Instead, He loved them enough to send Jesus to die for them. National missionaries reflect that love to people affected with leprosy and are taking time to meet their needs, hold their hands, and treat their wounds. GFA-supported workers care for leprosy patients through social and relief work such as food distribution, medical aid, health and hygiene awareness programs, adult education and tutoring centers for children.

A Daily Meal

Each day, GFA-supported workers provide leprosy patients with a hot, nourishing meal.

Medical Care

To prevent further infection, medical workers regularly clean wounds and provide medical care to leprosy patients.

Practical Help

Missionaries help with everyday tasks like washing dishes, doing laundry, or trimming fingernails for those who are unable to do it themselves.

Video Highlight: Ashley’s Visit to a Leprosy Colony

Ashley had the opportunity to visit GFA-supported ministry in a leprosy colony in Asia. Watch how she interacted with these precious people, and how it changed her life.

The Impact of Leprosy Ministry

Leprosy ministry helps remind people affected by leprosy that they have dignity and are valued by God. They aren’t defined by their disease. And when leprosy patients learn this, when they learn that Jesus cares about them personally, they want to put their trust in Him and be defined by who Jesus says they are—treasured.

The Lord has blessed our leprosy ministry tremendously. In many of the colonies, fellowship groups of believers gather for worship.

Jesus always reached out to the poor and rejected, inviting them to become children of God. Let us follow in the footsteps of our King.

Fellowships of believers from leprosy colonies meet for worship.

Get Involved

Donate so Missionaries Can Continue to Help

Your gift to the leprosy ministry enables missionaries to provide these leprosy patients with basic necessities and open the door for them to learn of Jesus’ love.

Donate to Leprosy Ministry

Pray for Leprosy Ministry

Let’s pray that our friends in Asia will see themselves as God sees them: loved, precious, and accepted. Here are five ways you can pray for the work GFA is doing to help leprosy patients.

Pray for Leprosy Ministry

Start a Fundraising Campaign for Leprosy Ministry

Start a personal fundraising campaign through myGFA so you can inspire your friends and family to join you in helping leprosy patients in Asia.

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Read Stories About Leprosy Ministry