Leprosy is an ongoing problem for India where 60% of the world's lepers live. This insidious and painless disease secretly eats away at the victims' extremities. Although less infectious than measles or tuberculosis, without proper medication - MDT (Multi Drug Therapy) - these precious people will continue to lose their fingers, hands, toes, feet, noses, eyes and ears over time. There is no vaccine to prevent the disease; there is medication to cure, or at the very least, arrest its progression which creates horrific deformities.
Lepers survive by going from house to house begging. They will go to as many as 100 homes daily, but procure barely enough to eat for one day. Lepers possess nothing; there is no hope for healing, and no hope - outside of begging - to make a living. They don't even have the hope of going to heaven one day, because most people won't get near enough to share the Gospel with them.
In 1978, the Lord poured His love for these outcasts of society into the heart of Dr. M. A. Thomas. Visiting a leper colony on the outskirts of Delhi, Dr. Thomas could see the longing for love in the eyes of the lepers. Yet, he knew that just telling these souls that "God loves them" would be a difficult truth for them to swallow. They needed to experience the love of God through their fellow man. When Dr. Thomas learned that leprosy is not hereditary, he decided to rescue their children - with their consent - and give them an opportunity to escape this disease.
Once he began to take these at-risk children into the Children's Homes, many criticized him saying, "Are you going to help all 4.5 million lepers of India?" Dr. Thomas' answer was simple. "No, but if I can help just one of them, the numbers will be 4.5 million minus one!"
Once the lepers saw the love of Christ at work in their children, many responded by receiving Christ as their Savior. Once a leper accepts Christ, they frequently abandon begging as a source of income. They look for ways to support their families like making candles, weaving and embroidering linens, and raising chickens. At Emmanuel we try to support their efforts wherever it is financially possible.
Please pray and ask the Lord how He would have you help us minister to the souls and bodies of some of the most "rejected" of mankind. We need the help of God's people to pour the Father's love into bodies that need healing, and hearts that hunger for the hope only God can supply!