By SUPA THEJAN, Merchandise Manager The Leprosy Mission Australia
I recently visited Nepal to ensure all our suppliers for The Leprosy Mission Shop are adhering to safe and fair trade practises. It was great to see all the amazing work they are doing empowering people affected by leprosy, disability and poverty. I met so many wonderful people!
I spent time meeting patients and artisans at Nepal Leprosy Trust (NLT). They produce some of the fine leather, wood and felt products in our latest gift catalogue.
NLT operate the only major leprosy services centre in south-east Nepal. They provide medical treatment, social education and village development projects. They target individuals, small groups and wider communities. They supervise leprosy control activities on behalf of the Nepali Government.
NLT’s services centre sees many new cases of leprosy and is one of the busiest centres in the world.
Their community development and livelihoods program continues to be successful in surrounding districts. It has changed the lives of thousands of people for the better — thanks to the support of people like you!
It was at the centre that I also met artisans – like Bhim…
Bhim is 71 years old. About thirty years ago, when he was forty years old, Bhim burned himself very badly. He was sitting next to the fire, but he didn’t feel a thing.
It signalled that he had lost feeling in his nerves. He had leprosy. He then realised that he had leprosy for about 10 years without noticing. When his family found out he had leprosy, they rejected him. Bhim then had no place to stay and was forced to live on the streets. The health post directed him to a hospital for leprosy treatment.
But his wounds weren’t healing. So they sent him to another hospital over in India for more extensive care. Yet, he couldn’t afford to stay in India and pay for treatment there, so he returned to Nepal.
It was back in Nepal that he met with his ‘long lost sister’ and she knew about NLT and suggested that Bhim go and seek help there. He had not been receiving any treatment and was still suffering with his wounds.
It was at this point in the outpouring of his personal story that Bhim’s face suddenly softened. He started to smile; “I met Jesus through my colleagues at NLT”, he said. It was there he started to study the Bible and attend the church, he told me.
“I started praying regularly and my wounds started to heal,” Bhim said.
After four years of treatments, he was still not cured. But by the grace of God, he heard about The Leprosy Mission’s Anandaban Hospital and was finally cured through effective treatment there. Praise God!
“I believe Jesus has helped me through this whole journey,” – Bhim
After his recovery, Bhim met a widow with a son. “We realised that we could use each other’s support,” Bhim said. They had two children together. One of them died due to an illness, and the others, now grown, have abandoned their parents.
But Bhim told me that he and his wife still love and look after each other. And with the support of NLT, Bhim has been able to buy land and a house for the two of them!
Praise God blessing the work of NLT so Bhim and his wife could buy a place of their own.
At the end of our time together Bhim told me, “I don’t want anything now, because I have God.”
Praise God for defeating Bhim’s leprosy and transforming his life!
Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for buying products through the gift catalogue made by people like Bhim. Your shopping is providing livelihoods. The income is help families and communities out of poverty.
May God bless you richly this new year.
Bhim now trusts in Jesus — thank you for your support! Please pray for Bhim and the other artisans at Nepal Leprosy Trust as they make products to sell though The Leprosy Mission Shop.To SHOP to STOP leprosy, ask for the latest gift catalogue to be sent to you. Call 1800 537 767 or go to: www.leprosymission.org.au/shop