There are few things in this world that I am willing to get up early for. Visiting the leper colonies is on the list. We had our alarms set for 4:30 so we could get up and out the door in time to get to both leper colonies before the heat set in. At 5:00 a.m., its a tolerable 80 and humid.
The lepers are outcasts among the society here. They are forced to live in quarantine, separate from the rest of the world. Treatment is available to them to help stop the spread of leprosy in their bodies, and also so that they wont be so contagious. All of the people in the colonies we visited today have been given that treatment. It is for this reason that their families can live with them in the colony. Otherwise, even their own families will forsake them, and for understandable reasons. Who would want to risk contracting leprosy?
We arrived at the first colony around 7:00, and immediately began walking down the streets, greeting people and even praying for some of them. This is the same colony where Living Hope donated the construction of some toilets, and Calvary Chapel donated a running water system. The people came to the meeting hall, and we sang some songs before giving them some encouragement from the Word. Kyle Skinner gave them a short explanation why we were there and shared Christ with them. Then we laid hands on them and prayed for their specific needs. We had also purchase rice and some basic medical needs like bandages and things like that. It was nice to see some familiar faces there, but I wish there was some way we could just heal them and get them out of this lonely, depressing place. We offer what we can in the way of meeting their physical needs with food and provisions, as well as spiritual with the love of Christ.
We stayed there for about an hour and a half before we had to get going to the other colony, which is about a half an hour’s drive away. The people were all waiting for us in the meeting hall by the time we arrived, so we went in and shared a few words with them. Zach Smith gave them some encouragement by expressing our love for them and sharing the gospel. Then we prayed for individuals again and spent some time with them. I think pretty much everyone on the team was looking forward to walking up and down the streets again and going into people’s homes, but the people were already all down at the meeting hall and we really didnt have all that much time.
We arrived at the crusades around 6:00. We are still holding them at the big church. Tonight Barrett Brown was scheduled to preach, and we also had a different worship team. One of the cool things about holding the meetings at this church is that they have a live stream set up on the internet, so we were able to give the link to some people at home in the US. I dont know if anyone actually watched it or not, but its pretty cool if anyone did. Linda Thomas shared her testimony before Barrett took the stage and preached the lights out. There were a bunch of people who made a profession of faith at the altar call, and bunches of others came forward for prayer.
Another added blessing to the night was that Caleb was able to get Kowsayla from the gypsy camp, get her cleaned up and come to the crusade so she could spend some time with Zach and Cassie. They totally fell in love with her last year and have been looking forward to seeing her. She is the girl who’s parents came and took her away in the night from the day care center, and is giving her in marriage to one of the men in the camp at the age of 12. Its a sad story. But we have been praying that God would work this out for good in some way, and we have faith in his promise that he will. Zach and Cassie framed a picture of them with her from last year and gave it to her. It was a special moment, but it was over too soon. We are hoping that we can see her again before we leave. We’ll see what happens.
We got back in time to get some sleep before another big day on Sunday. That update is coming right up!
Thanks again for all of your wonderful, precious prayers. We value them so much and look forward to seeing what else the Lord has in store for the rest of the trip.