Anyone would have expected complaints from Edha, always working long days and nights so her children would have a better future. But she was the epitome of motherly devotion, and besides that, she had a dream to keep her going. . . .
When she collapsed into bed with exhaustion, she thought about her own future, and how, naturally, her cherished children would care for her as she aged.
It was a dream that might have come true, were it not for a diagnosis that none of her hard work could have prevented.
Edha’s husband, Gagan, took her to the doctor for what seemed a regular illness, but her lab results returned with devastating news. When word spread about the diagnosis, Gagan sent her away, and she became the newest resident at a leprosy colony.
Abandoned in Disease
All Edha’s life, leprosy had been something to fear and despise. Now she was surrounded by people in varying stages of the disease.
As she watched her neighbors, her hopeful dreams faded away and she saw her future for what it was: decay, destitution and death.
Every night away from Gagan and the children added to her pain. She longed to know how they were doing, if they were healthy and if they had the life she had worked to give them. But they never came to visit. No one did.
Edha was alone.
Love She Had Never Seen
Over the next 15 years, Edha’s body slowly deteriorated. The woman who once filled her days with work lost her ability to even walk, leaving her completely destitute. But after 15 years of waiting, Edha finally received her visitors.
The women who came were unlike anyone else. Instead of eyeing the patients with fear and repulsion, they walked into the colony with boldness and embraced the suffering with love.
As they shared the Good News of Jesus with Edha, they helped her bathe, washed her clothes, combed her hair, cut her nails, cooked her dinner and cleaned her hut. For the first time since she came to the colony, Edha felt truly loved.
“Never in my life have I seen someone do for anyone what you all are doing for me,” she told them.
The women shared that Jesus was the reason for their compassion, and Edha knew there could be no other explanation. With a heart of gratitude, she chose to follow Christ and began attending local prayer meetings.
As Edha grows in her faith, she still thinks of the family she left and cries at the pain of losing them. But she rejoices in the new family she has been given and knows she has a better future than anything she could have achieved.