It isn’t your typical church. The believers are society’s greatest rejects, cast out by their employers, friends and even families—all because of the disease they carry. But as Pastor Jiva looks out on the leprosy patients’ faces, he sees people covered in love and acceptance.
When Pastor Jiva first arrived at the leprosy colony, the patients desperately needed help in many areas, but he and his team decided to start with something simple.
Without anyone to clean their wounds, the patients were susceptible to infections, which can lead to the mutilation and loss of limbs. Knowing this, Pastor Jiva’s team began showing Jesus’ love through a wound dressing service, run by one of the women on the team.
Next, they opened a small shoe making center. Because leprosy patients’ feet are often mangled by the disease, the missionaries provide each person with customized shoes, which protect them from further infections.
Overwhelmed by the generosity, the leprosy patients soon began to understand that Christ offered them an acceptance and love no one else did.
Pastor Jiva was able to establish a small fellowship. Unfortunately, the believers could only meet in a small rented building, far from the colony, and as more believers joined each year, the fellowship ran out of space.
It was clearly time for a building of their own. Along with the other operations of the growing leprosy ministry, there were now 220 believers attending worship services. With the prayers and support of Pastor Jiva’s leaders, construction began on a new church building.
Despite the stigma of the leprosy colony, local villagers happily cooperated to make the church a reality, and this summer, the building was ready for services.
The believers are thrilled to worship the Lord together without any hindrances, and the building provides a headquarters from which the rest of the leprosy ministry can grow.
The local community is impressed, and as the number of believers continues to rise, the building is filled with a joy even leprosy can’t hamper.