“If Jesus was here today, He would say to a person with leprosy, ‘I’m always there for you, and don’t be afraid because there is hope and there is a future.’”
– Maria Bast, Leprosy Mission supporter
Maria and Joe Bast are dedicated supporters of The Leprosy Mission… just like you. They have such a heart for people affected by leprosy in India that they’ve been giving and raising funds for the ministry since 2005.
Maria says her most memorable experience during this time was raising enough to put a group of girls through nursing college.
“We saw a lot of girls, daughters of leprosy patients, who didn’t have a future at all because they are also outcasts, according to some parts of Indian culture.”
This is why Maria and Joe agreed to pay for two girls to complete nursing studies.
“And then, I had a dream to have ten girls studying and… we started telling our friends to see if people were interested to help those girls. We ended up with 25 girls who studied to become nurses and midwives. The ones who didn’t have enough points became field workers, which are very important too…by God’s grace, all those girls have now a happy future.”
Not one girl was left out… and their futures are secure. Thanks to Australian supporters like Maria and Joe and their friends who helped them. If not for this assistance, most likely these girls would be trapped in poverty… even though they didn’t even have the physical signs of leprosy themselves!
Because leprosy doesn’t just affect the person with the disease but can also have ramifications for their family. Often children suffer ostracism by association. Or a parent with leprosy may not be able to continue working… so their children go hungry or cannot finish their education. This means an already poor family suffers even greater hardship.
When people like Maria and Joe – or you – support the children of leprosy-affected people, it means the family can afford to buy food, groceries and other necessities. And when you support a child’s education, you give them a much better chance of escaping poverty.
Maria encourages all supporters to step out in faith to help other people with leprosy and their families. She says God provided for them and blessed their business.
“God gave us all the help and business we needed… it’s God’s money and really, He’s the provider. We always step out in faith and God always honours it – so we are never afraid
“The people suffer so much… When I think of that and the amputated legs and deep ulcers, like I’ve seen on the rounds with the doctors, I think to myself that we are so blessed in Australia, and so many people affected by leprosy in India are so poor. We must help!”
Maria and Joe are now raising funds for the PARTI Project (Partnerships, Advocacy, Research and Training Individuals) in Tamil Nadu. If you’d like to step out in faith to support this work like Maria and Joe, you can donate at leprosymission.org.au or call 1800 LEPROSY (1800 537 767)