Leprosy is still a greatly feared disease across Asia because of the disfigurement it can cause, the social stigma it carries and because it can be transmitted through close contact with a patient.
However, leprosy can be totally cured without permanent damage if medical help is sought immediately. Unfortunately, in remote places and among the poor, diagnosis and treatment often come too late. And sadly, only those among the cured who have no visible deformity will be able to integrate back into society. All others will have to live in leper colonies - alone or with their family members who may be affected - for the rest of their lives.
What is remarkable about God's people who live and minister in areas where leprosy has devastated lives is that they are not afraid to touch lepers. Knowing the disease can be transmitted, lepers are left alone. Imagine going months, years...some even decades with no physical contact. Imagine how empty your life would be without hugs, pats on the back and even handshakes.
This loneliness is a reality for many in the world. We have personally visited leper colonies in Vietnam. We have also supported leper colonies in India led by Pastor Richard and Julie Joseph. Please pray for these who are ministering to the least of these and who are not afraid to touch the hurting and lame.