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.
Each day, GFA-supported workers provide leprosy patients with a hot, nourishing meal.
To prevent further infection, medical workers regularly clean wounds and provide medical care to leprosy patients.
Missionaries help with everyday tasks like washing dishes, doing laundry, or trimming fingernails for those who are unable to do it themselves.
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.
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.
"Don't open my bandage!" the leprosy patient cried out. For years, the patient believed they had the disease because of their sin.
Sakshi (pictured), a woman missionary, knew exactly how they felt. "No, no, this is not some sin," Sakshi said. "I myself have gone through this."
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Audrey, a sponsor from Texas, shares about a woman she met in a leprosy colony in Asia. "I woke up the next morning after our visit, and all I could think of was Mina," Audrey says. "She had most likely woken up early and had already gone out to beg. ... How could her life be so difficult, and yet she had so much joy?"
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