Kit Blog

In Christ…and in Thailand for 50 years! Thank you for your support.

15 May 2020 | Author: The Leprosy Mission Australia

We are incredibly thankful for the tireless support of people like you over the years.

My husband Trevor and I have been part of some incredible change with The Leprosy Mission.

And incredible development in the treatment of leprosy worldwide. We thank God for you. Thank you for your support.

When we started in Thailand 50 years ago, leprosy patients were generally rejected from home and society. We had many hundreds of patients of all ages living in the 150-acres of the McKean Leprosy Centre.

trevor and heather smithNot diagnosed or treated early, many patients had severe disabilities. They had bad sores from damaging anesthetic feet and hands. They all anticipated living in a leprosy colony for life. McKean had a school and workshops and five village groups of cottages for single patients. Sometimes patients met and married. They were able to start new life together in one of 20 other leprosy villages across the country. They could access help to build a home and start a livelihood.

But in 1970, the World Health Organisation suggested that a long term policy of segregation of leprosy patients should change to one of integration and rehabilitation. We then spent a challenging 15 years trying to put that policy into place. This enabled 900 patients to return to a home and society that would accept them.

Our team at McKean undertook a wide range of medical activities, reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation, social work and health education in community, as well as vocational training, counselling, networking and problem solving. But we still had 120 patients who were too elderly and disabled to support themselves. Thanks to your support we’re able to continue to look after them for life.

It has been a joy to see the way many of those patients have been able to build a new life. They have families, share their faith and play key roles in starting new churches. They have served their communities over the years and they are all so thankful to you.

trevor and heather smithWith your support, we have been able to reach out to other people with disability. We’ve included them in our hospital based and community-based rehabilitation programmes. In recent years, we have tried to address the growing need for aged care in Thailand, both palliative care and hospice care.

It’s been an interesting adventure. We’ve starting a lot of new initiatives related to all these needs. But we couldn’t have done it without your support.

Thanks to you, The Leprosy Mission has continued the leprosy work of the Centre. The charity work amongst marginalized people with disability needing access to treatment and rehabilitation is ongoing and is changing lives. McKean is now a registered Senior Care Centre.

Like any other hospital McKean has responded to the COVID-19 crisis preparing isolation units and getting the supplies needed for the pandemic. Our elder communities were quickly put on lockdown to protect them.

Please pray for the needy and marginalized. Pray that they can access the treatment they need during these times of stress.
It has been a privilege to see the growth of the Thai team and leadership. In some cases the professional staff we work with are the children of former patients. Some are babies Trevor delivered.

There is still the challenge to continue providing leprosy training for medical personnel. To make sure the disease of leprosy and stigma do not return as major problems again. Please continue to pray that doctors will be able to recognise early signs of leprosy. Pray that they correctly treat the disease.

rabiapThe hardest times over the years have not been the dramas and dangers. Nor the times our home went under flood. Nor the constant battle with termites and other invading snakes or critters. They were the family separations as our children left to continue their education. But each of them looked positively on Thailand. Their first home and the place their parents were meant to be. So this confirmed the decisions to continue along the way.

A Bible verse that’s helped me through tough times, before we went to Thailand and still is… at all times….Proverbs 3:5,6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do and He will direct your paths.”

And a favourite worship song, “In Christ alone…”

I pray you feel encouraged that in these times of uncertainty. You are still playing a vital role in healing the sick. You are empowering people with leprosy and disability across the world.

Thank you and God bless you.

 

In Christ Alone

Stuart Townsend

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone! – who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.
In Christ Alone

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