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News Around the World
Published on 10 May, 2012

Leprosy meets compassion and hope in Southeast Asia

South
Asia (GFA/MNN) — 70% of the world's leprosy cases are in India, according to
the World Health Organization.

A
disease accompanied by centuries of stereotype and fear, leprosy hits
approximately a quarter of a million people, although it is easily treatable.  

Often,
leprosy patients are forced to isolate themselves in villages. Although many do get the medicine to cure the
disease, it often ravages the body first, leaving the survivors disfigured and disabled.
   

On top of that, the discrimination often means that villages do
not have access to clean water or electricity, and many ex-leprosy patients live
in very difficult conditions.

Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries serve in dozens of leper
colonies throughout South Asia, bringing hope to hundreds.  

In
one colony, a group of women missionaries visit four days a week. Two of those
days are dedicated entirely to looking after the leprosy patients' practical needs, such as
chores. The team also distributes food
and medicine to the patients. Other times, the needs extend to practical
grooming, such as personal hygiene and haircuts.

Beyond their practical service, the missionaries conduct weekly
prayer meetings and share the love of Jesus with the patients.

In many of the colonies, fellowship groups of new believers have
sprung up, and some of these have already become churches. The believers of one
church recently had the joy of sending the first young man from their colony to a GFA Bible college to prepare for full-time ministry.

Please pray for them, along with all the missionaries involved
with Gospel for Asia's leprosy ministry. Ask the Lord to give them strength
each day to carry out their calling and to be fruitful for His Kingdom.

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