I Touched a Leper Today

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Our India Team in front of the Leper’s Medical Clinic

Today we visited the Bharathapuram Leper colony outside of Chennai.  We heard of the plight of Lepers in India, and the stories were heartbreaking.  A person contracting leprosy is immediately an outcast to all of their family and friends.  Leprosy levels the ground. It affects the very poor, and the very wealthy, but the common factor is that it separates you from all of your normal relationships and consigns you to live as an outcast in a leper colony.  Leper colonies cover the nation of India.

Our visit today was to the medical clinic of the Chennai Lepers Ministry.  The dedicated staff care for these dear folks and provide medical care three days a week in this colony and in 12 other colonies.  Today was a holiday, so only a dozen people came while we were there.  On a normal day, they care for 100-150 people.

Leper Colony Medical Clinic

The common ailment for these patients is ulcerated feel, ankles and hands.  The effects of leprosy are staggering!  It robs the person of all feeling in their feet, hands and face, and makes them vulnerable to injury, and then to serious infection.  The team lovingly cleans wounds, pours in antiseptic, and re-bandages their feet.  We watched as they cleaned and cut out infected flesh.

As I watched, I was reminded why I wouldn’t make a good doctor.  I couldn’t do what they do, AND they did it all with love and grace.  What a ministry!!  The worst situation that we saw today was a woman with a very bad infection in her ankle.  They begin by pouring in peroxide.  I was shocked to see maggots coming out of the wound.  The woman had no idea how serious her infection was.  The medical staff carefully dug into the wound and cleaned it out.  It was quite a procedure.

We Were Privileged to Pray for Lepers

The best part of our time there was when they had finished getting their medical procedure done, they came to us and asked us for prayer.  Our hearts were deeply touched when we remembered that Jesus touched a leper in his day, and healed him… a supreme act of love and acceptance.  We laid our hands on their shoulder (Yes, we actually touched lepers), and prayed for His touch in their lives, just like Jesus did when He walked the face of this earth.

*written by Wick Nease

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