India (MNN/ASM) — Leprosy is a
disease with ancient roots. There are stories of lepers all throughout Old
Testament times. The fear that came
with the disease was more pervasive than the disease itself.
In modern medicine, the condition is
easy to treat, however, the stigma remains, looming larger than the scars it
leaves behind. That's the case for a
ministry operating in a little corner of South India.
Shanthi Grammam ("Village of Peace" in
Tamil) is a residential clinic for people who are completely healed of leprosy. Audio Scripture Ministries India
representative JP Sundararajan says because most of the residents have clawed
hands, amputated fingers, or are blind, they are often abandoned to this village. "They essentially come here and spend
their last days on earth living in this place."
The irony, he goes on to say, is that "here
you are in this place of solitude, but you really don't have the peace. So
when we brought God's Word in–in their heart language, a lot of people
experienced for the first time peace from the actual Prince of Peace."
A doctor working in the village
changed all that. Sundararajan says, "The
doctor had initially gotten a cassette
player from us, way back in the day, and we had no idea what was going to
happen with it." One day, ASM got a
call that the "cassette player went bad, and so we repaired and then replaced
it with ten [digital audio] units."
The doctor encouraged the residents to
listen to it daily. Pretty soon, they were gathering to listen every day from 9
AM to 10 AM. "Then, the people who came to the
clinic–the 60 or so people who get treated daily for leprosy–a lot of them
decided that they wanted to follow this Jesus as well, so the demand for Scripture
just began to grow."
A neglected people finally found a
home in Jesus Christ. The change the Gospel brought to the villagers was
writes, "Listening to God's Word is like daily food for my life."
Subramani added,"God is nourishing us and taking care of us. God's
protection is upon us by listening to God's word." Laxmanan said,
"Listening to God's Word gives me peace. I look forward for the time to
listen to the Word." Mannar probably captured the emotions best when he
said, "I was able to forget my worries by listening to the Word."
But the impact wasn't limited to
India. It spread and touched a small
group of children near Chicago doing a Vacation Bible School this summer. They wanted a project to rally around, and when
told about "Shanthi Grammam," they decided to try and raise money for one or
two audio Bibles, at $35 apiece.
Rally, they did. Sundararajan explains, "These kids
raised money for about 30 Bibles. It was incredible because not only did these
kids raise the money for the Bibles, but there were young people in India who
went with our team to Shanthi Grammam and were able to distribute 25 more Bibles
to these people."
Most of the people in this village are
illiterate. Many are blind. Those few
who can read and still have their eyesight do what they can to share precious
resources. "One lady called my brother aside and
said, 'Please, teach me how to use this audio unit because I want to help my
friend who is completely blind,'" says Sundararajan. They were unprepared for what happened
next. "My brother sat next to her
and said, 'I just turned the unit on.' The first thing that lady was able to
hear was 'the first book of the Bible: Genesis, Chapter 1.' As soon as she
heard those words, she wept." Why? "How
often we forget that we have these things in our own heart language, easily accessible to us. For people who have really been devoid of hope their whole
lives, when they hear, for the very
first time, God speaking in their language, emotions–they cannot control
Pray that these Gospel seeds will take root. Ask God for more resources so more people who
are in similar situations will be able to know the peace of Christ. Please check our Featured Links Section for
ways to help.
SCRIPTURE MINISTRIES is committed to providing the translated
Scriptures in audio that all may hear in their own language. Their mission
directs them to serve others as they:
*Produce audio recording of the
Scripture in each language needed by people groups around the world.
Scripture recordings available in suitable formats for distribution either
directly or through various other ministries to non-Christians and Christians
whether living in their homelands or elsewhere.
*Encourage the formation of active,
cooperative team efforts, and develop mutual partnerships to assist in making
God's Word in audio available.
*Encourage and assist overseas
ministries by making equipment and technical services available.
with existing local church and mission organizations to encourage and assist
follow-up and continued Christian growth of all who respond to God's Word.