We welcomed back Dr Ruth Butlin from the Leprosy Mission for her fourth visit to our meeting.

Did you know that every two minutes, someone in the world is diagnosed with Leprosy?! That’s more than 200,000 new cases a year. Although it is curable, millions of people worldwide are living with the effects of the disease, from physical disability to mental health problems, poverty and discrimination.

The Leprosy Mission which celebrates 150 years this year is a global Christian organisation leading the fight against this terrible disease. Following Jesus Christ, they seek to bring about transformation; breaking the chains of leprosy and empowering people to attain healing, dignity and life in all its fullness.

They do all of this in four main ways:

  • Diagnosing and treating leprosy
  • Working to reduce the likelihood of people with leprosy being incapacitated after diagnosis.
  • Fighting stigma and advocating for change
  • Pioneering research

To read an account of Ruth’s last visit, head to: https://downsbaptistchurch.org/2023/10/thursday-fellowship-dr-ruth-butlin-the-leprosy-mission/

Ruth opened her talk by retelling the story of Hagar from Genesis 16. It is a sad story really but well worth reading and we were reminded that the God who ‘saw’ Hagar in her time of need ‘sees’ the needy, the lonely, those rejected and helpless today and He knows each by name!

Ruth then told us about the work at the Leprosy Mission’s Muzaffarpur Hospital in Bihar, India’s poorest state. Although the buildings are old and need replacing, people receive free treatment, loving care and hope in their greatest hour of need.

We learned about Rajisha (18 years old) whose fingers had become so clawed that she couldn’t feed herself.  Despite a quick diagnose from a visiting doctor to her village and medication to cure her leprosy, the damage had already been done to the nerves in her body and she became withdrawn and depressed. Travelling more than 100 miles on her own to get to the hospital, she was eventually admitted on to a ward and received the care she needed until she was able to undergo reconstructive surgery to her hand.  Her other hand needs surgery too! This lovely, young woman, so far away from her family, is recovering with girls of a similar age who have gone through what she has gone through. Rajisha now wants to train as a nurse because “I want to serve as I was served when I was so sad!”

Ruth will send through updates on the work by adding us to the monthly newsletter list, so watch this space, but if you would like to know more, check out the Leprosy Mission website at: Leprosy Mission

By God’s abundant grace and provision, huge progress has been made in the 150 years since Wellesley C. Bailey (1846-1937) founded the Leprosy Mission in India. We were encouraged to pray for the work, for resources to meet the needs of all those requiring treatment and assistance and for leprosy to be eradicated.

We look forward to inviting Ruth back and said goodbye with a monetary gift to aid the incredible work being done in the name of Jesus.