Thanks to your shopping, Chameli can make a living for her family!
Antonio lives on an island due north of Timor Leste’s capital city. It’s harsh and hot on At’Auro Island. A giant rock protruding from the sea, At’Auro is an unshielded receptacle for heat. The sole of my boat shoes even melted off on the boat ride there—the extreme heat and water too much for its glue. The hot climate makes farming incredibly difficult. Something that Antonio knows all too well…
Grace Warren, a daughter of missionary parents, was a creative and practical child. She would make many of her own clothes as a young girl and teenager, play the piano and tinker away on finely-detailed embroidery or knitting. These skills she had learnt from her sister Helen and her mother. Helen insisted on the neat and tiny stitches that would later serve Grace in an unexpected and profound way.
Sunthorn was electrocuted when he was fifteen. He was three storeys high when the metal he was welding hit a powerline. Electricity coursed through him, burning much of his body. He spent eight months in a government hospital recovering. A surgeon trained by Dr Grace Warren recommended he come to the McKean Rehabilitation Centre for surgery and rehabilitation. Sunthorn had twenty different surgical procedures and many months of rehabilitation. Australia’s Dr Grace Warren performed skin grafts and tendon transfers—taking tendons from his legs and using them in his arms so that he could have movement in his hands. The hospital physiotherapist helped him join a trade school where he learned to paint. Sunthorn also completed 10th Grade through a correspondence school at that time.
Dr Stanley Browne was a medical missionary and academic who was keen to transform the lives of people affected by leprosy. He once said that The Leprosy Mission’s “…greatest need today is the continuing believing prayer of God’s people. The vast and ever growing task undertaken by the Mission must be activated by prayer if it is to accomplish eternal as well as temporal good.” He wrote this in 1966 yet it’s just as relevant today. Helping people affected by leprosy is not possible without prayer. It’s an essential part of our ministry.
I recently had an interesting conversation with a supporter about the words that we use to talk about leprosy. She was referring to a movement that tries to identify and challenge the ways that our language harms people. She reminded me of the importance of affirming people’s dignity in everything we say. It’s a matter of justice.