On Sunday 10th February, Peter Walker from The Leprosy Mission spoke about the mission’s work in Nepal, entitled Heal Nepal. Details can be found here. He introduced the subject/ by talking about the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7). In some ways it sounds a ridiculous story. Who would leave 99 sheep behind in the open just to find one lost sheep? Why pursue one sheep with such diligence? It sounds crazy, but we have a God who was prepared to pursue us at huge risk and cost.
People suffering from leprosy understand this kind of thinking when faced with those seeking them out. They are people shunned by their community just for having leprosy. It’s worse than being sick because they end up hiding away. Yet because of the way we were pursued by God, the Leprosy Mission pursues those shunned and hiding in order to bring help and healing.
TLM have been working in Nepal since the 1950s. The Mission wasn’t allowed to build hospital in capital because of fear of leprosy and had to be built 20km outside Kathmandu at Anandaban. Even though the hospital had good facilities, locals people without leprosy refused to use it. That was until 2 years ago when the area around Anandaban was cut off from the main city and the injured locals needed the hospital. Leprosy patients gave up their beds and helped the local people. There was a huge change in attitudes and now the hospital is being rebuilt after the earthquake, more facilities are being put in to cover the local people who now use the facility.
The hospital is now doing an outreach programme to find people in remote areas suffering from Leprosy and in hiding rather than seek help. Like the Good Shepherd, they are seeking out the lost in Nepal’s remote communities.
If people get to the hospital in time, they can be spared the disfigurements that result from leprosy being untreated. However the hospital has the expertise to improve many people’s disfigurements. The video for this is available in another post.
The hospital is a praying community and people suffering from leprosy find acceptance and care there, which they do not see in their community. Because of their, many come to Christ as a result of the care they receive.
We need to remember too that God pursues us, not so that we may just find Christ, but also when our lives slip and we drift away from Him. And however many steps we take away from Him, there is always only one step back!
For Discussion and Reflection.
Read Luke 15:1-7
1. What was so risky about the shepherd’s mission to seek out the lost sheep? What does this passage show about God’s passion to pursue those who are lost?
2. Fear and suspicion cause many to be shunned or even persecuted in many societies. Contracting leprosy is just one example. What sort of things cause individuals to be shunned by others in our society? What can we do about it?
3. What could be done to break down the barriers of prejudice that divides our society and renders individuals worthless, or even sends some into hiding? What can we do as individuals to stop it?
4. God always pursues us however far we slip away. How does knowing we are only one step back to him change that equation? Share any testimonies you have of slipping away from the Lord as a Christin and returning to Him.