The Start of a Long Trial
Sanjushree was 9 when she first noticed her fingers had started to curl inward. She didn't understand why—neither did her parents or the doctors or the witch doctors they visited in search of the answer.
Years passed, and the young girl's fingers didn't straighten out. Embarrassed by her disfigurement, Sanjushree kept to herself, interacting only when necessary.
There were times when she traveled with the village midwife, watching and learning how to help pregnant women deliver their babies. But beyond that, she tried to separate herself from the community, afraid others might catch whatever it was that was crippling her fingers.
When Sanjushree was 22, she married and eventually had two daughters. Five years after her marriage, skin lesions appeared on Sanjushree's body. That's when she knew it was leprosy.
Trying to Live a Normal Life
Her husband stood by her, continuing to love her; so did her children. There were some in her community who became fearful and cut off all contact with the young woman. But others didn't let the stigma of leprosy interfere with their friendship, choosing instead to see Sanjushree as the kind woman who had once helped them deliver their children.
As Sanjushree's body suffered with the lesions, her heart ached with the emotional pain the leprosy caused. She wasn't sure what to do, but she was determined to continue on with her life. While her husband worked as a carpenter, she worked by making brooms and cane baskets, catching and selling fish, and farming. She didn't let her gnarled fingers or the other symptoms of leprosy keep her from helping provide for her family.
But for three years, the heartache remained.
Finding Faith, Believing for Healing
One day, a carpenter friend told her about a nearby church that had a small hospital where people with all sorts of health problems were treated.
For the first time in years, Sanjushree found a reason to hope and began to believe she might actually find healing.
It was here where 30-year-old Sanjushree first heard about Jesus. Doctors treated her and then sent her to another small hospital that was connected to a church. As Sanjushree attended the church, she learned more and more about Jesus. She discovered He could heal people afflicted with leprosy—and a deep faith took root in her heart. She knew, without a doubt, Jesus could heal her, and she depended on it.
Throughout the following year, she grew in intimacy with the Lord as the pastor taught her from God's Word. Even though she was illiterate and couldn't read the Word herself, she engraved what she heard in her mind.
When her husband died a year later, her trust in Jesus sustained her.