DO YOU KNOW ANYONE WITH HANSEN’S DISEASE? I don’t either.
Hansen’s disease — also known as leprosy — is one of the world’s oldest maladies. Leprosy is a bacterial disease that attacks the nervous system, particularly the nerves of the hands, feet and face. As the body absorbs cartilage into its system, victims of the disease slowly lose their fingers, toes and even limbs. While leprosy has been eradicated in the west, it is still active and greatly feared 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.
There are tens of thousands of people suffering from leprosy in more than 1,000 leper colonies throughout South Asia. The social stigma is devastating, perhaps even worse than the disease itself. 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 families — for the rest of their lives.
In the midst of this hopelessness, the light of Jesus Christ is breaking through, bringing hope to those who have been brushed aside by society. Please pray for Gospel for Asia’s leprosy ministry, that many suffering from this terrible disease would embrace the Savior, who is reaching out to them in love. GFA-supported missionaries in the leper colonies show Christ’s love by cleaning wounds and changing bandages, by giving medical care, by making special shoes to protect the people’s feet, by helping with household chores, by providing food, but most importantly by telling the people of and showing Christ’s love for them.
Recently a group of students traveled to Asia and visited a leprosy colony. Click the photo below to watch and share Ashley’s powerful story (but HD seems to short it out).
Here are some web resources:
Thank you for sharing the plight of these unseen, yet precious people!
Millions of South Asian women are illiterate. More than half the women in Bangladesh cannot read at all. In India alone, there are an estimated 242 million women who are unable to read—that’s about half the adult women in the country.
Teaching women to read and write opens doors of opportunity and gives them the joy of being able to study God’s Word for themselves. These women are eager to learn; they just need a teacher and a few simple materials.
By Learning to Read – They Stand Firm
But now, through Gospel for Asia’s Women’s Literacy Program, the written world is opening up for the first time. Women learn by reading the Bible, which is the foundational text for the classes, so they gain a knowledge of Scripture even before they’ve completed the course.
Pastors’ wives and women missionaries serve as teachers, so students have the opportunity to grow spiritually under their mentors. The ability to read and understand for themselves also gives these women the confidence to refuse unfair contracts, whether they’re from loan officers or abusive employers.
Many women in GFA-supported churches struggle because they cannot read God’s Word. Help them know the Lord more by giving to Gospel for Asia’s Women’s Literacy Program.
More than one in three women in Asia are illiterate—and the statistic holds true for women in Gospel for Asia-supported churches. Their inability to read leaves them vulnerable to those wanting to take advantage of their ignorance, and without reading the Bible, it’s a challenge to deepen their knowledge of their Savior.
YOU Can Make a Difference!
Illiterate women in Asia face great difficulties. They fail to keep their children safe because they can’t read warning labels. Debt piles up because they can’t understand the bad contracts they sign. They’re cheated in the marketplace because they can’t do basic math. Even if they want to read, there is no way to learn.
With your help, women in Asia can learn to read and will be equipped to tackle life’s hurdles. Click on the link below to find out how you can change someone’s life forever.
Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
COMPASSION SHOULD ALWAYS DRIVE US TO DO SOMETHING, because God’s love can’t flow through us unless we ACT. How do you spread God’s compassion on a daily basis? First, we have to assume that the people in our lives are there because God has placed them there. And He has placed us with them. We don’t need to look far afield for a “ministry” or for opportunities to love others. Let’s face it – there are people in need in ALL of our lives, whether they’re family members, co-workers, students or friends. I believe that these are the ones to whom God has called us first.
Farther away – all over the world – there is tremendous need, but how do we meet that need? How can I possibly minister to someone who has been left homeless because a flood washed away her village? How can I put clothes on the back of a young man who’s all alone in a refugee camp? How can I feed starving children in a famine-ravaged country? How can I reach across the miles, through impenetrable barriers, over mountains and valleys and political walls?
How can I?
How CAN’T I?
God has provided many ways, and here’s just one. Remember that 100% of your gift to Gospel for Asia goes to the field, which means that you CAN cross all barriers – you just might have to do it through someone else. Please read about GFA’s slum ministry, then pray how God’s compassion can best flow out from you.
Gospel for Asia’s Slum Ministry
Rapidly growing slums, with millions of people living in extreme poverty and struggling for survival, are a huge problem for South Asia’s major cities. Up to 25 percent of the population of these urban areas live in slums. Thousands arrive daily from rural areas in search of jobs and a better life, only to become trapped in desperation and hopelessness.
Open sewage, polluted water, lack of health care, illiteracy, superstition and diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS are just some of the threats all around them. Every day is a new battle to somehow find a job — or keep the one they have — as laborer, porter, sweeper or house servant. If that’s not possible, they must resort to begging, scavenging or prostitution to be able to eat. If they get too sick or too old to work, there is no social agency to help them survive. No wonder many slum dwellers drown their fears and sorrows in alcohol.
But wherever the love of Christ is shared, people find new hope and a future in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel for Asia’s ministry to the slums began in 1999, with outreach to four major Indian cities. Today, our missionary teams serve in thousands of slum neighborhoods, bringing hope in a two-fold manner — through the message of Jesus’ redemption and through living out His sacrificial love. They conduct free medical clinics and teach basic hygiene and preventive health measures. They provide literacy classes for adults, conduct tutoring classes for children and hold weekly Sunday schools. They have planted hundreds of churches, and thousands have heard the Gospel.
GFA also has a Bible college in Mumbai (Bombay) designed to train future missionaries for slum ministry all across the Indian Subcontinent. In addition to the study of God’s Word, classroom training consists of practical instruction in the various aspects of slum ministry. The obstacles are many, but our gracious heavenly Father has great plans for the poor: “Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom …?” (James 2:5).
Our slum ministry is different from other outreaches because we deal with masses of desperate people who have no means whatsoever to better their situation or escape their surroundings. It takes tremendous self-sacrifice and patience on the part of our native missionaries to work among them, win their trust and lead them to Jesus. It also entails meeting urgent and often unique needs.
It’s incredible to encounter believers from our slum fellowships.
It’s incredible to encounter believers from our slum fellowships. You can easily see by the sparkle in their eyes and the joy on their faces that Jesus has brought light and hope into their lives. And their testimonies tell of the love and power of God that set them free from bondage and sin, and even healed many from sickness. Most of all, through the Lord Jesus Christ, they are now part of the family of God and have become our brothers and sisters.
We want to continue taking Christ’s message of hope to millions who are outcasts of society and invite them to become sons and daughters of the living God.
Please prayerfully consider how God might use you to reach the millions of slum dwellers of Asia. Your prayers and gifts can transform thousands of lives, both now and for all eternity.
If you’d like to meet someone who lives out the compassion of Christ every day in the slums of India, go here: http://www.gfa.org/videos/real-life-hero/
This is the devil’s circus, these gritty streets
Where the syringes drop and the trash flows,
Where the mothers turn in their last food stamps
At discounted prices, three to one,
For a dime rock, a nickel bag, a trip to forgetfulness
While the babies cling to their stained skirts,
Sucking on their dirty thumbs to keep hunger
At bay, because momma’s gotta have that high.
These are the grotesque caricatures
Of life in this devil’s playground,
Bullet casings, and discarded condoms
Sprinkled amidst the diamond sparkles
Of broken auto glass on the side of the road
Where the winos get rolled in their sleep
One desperate fool stealing pocket change
From another after the big money
From the beginning of the month
Has been spent to chase the demons
That torment them in their wakefulness.
The devil’s circus where the poor juggle
All their needs and have to choose between
Meat for dinner or keeping the lights on,
Between bus fare to keep tat McJob
And school lunch money for the kids
Who will also need feeding next week.
In this circus, the Man is the lion tamer
Dispensing his powders at
Milk out of the baby’s mouth prices
To keep the beasts in their place, tame
And the Ringmaster of them all is the official on the take,
Swinging his weight around and breaking the heads
Of those who can’t kick in to his retirement fund,
His vacation home or his mistress’ upkeep.
Here they all are Clowns, shedding fake tears
In the hopes of getting pity from their audience.
Here the only admission to the side-show is to be poor
And to be less than the owners of the big tent.
Here death waits around the corner and you can die
With a big smile on your face before you are ready,
Or you can die with a bullet hole in your head
But you sure can’t die as people were meant to.
– Olga Candelario