Most of us in the United States think of leprosy as a disease that has long since passed: a relic from Biblical times. But sadly, in the developing world, this is not the case. Although there are cures and treatments for the disease, many people in developing countries lack the money to pay for such treatments; some don’t even have the means to journey to see a doctor. And the majority of new leprosy cases are unfortunately located in India, although the disease has been recently breaking out in nearby countries, and also in Brazil and in many parts of Africa.
Although the need is great, Christ Gospel Church is doing what it can to make a difference. We caught up with Rev. Luke Yelchuri to hear about the amazing missionary work he’s been doing. Although the photos here are from March of 2015, he and his wife Pavani Yelchuri (also seen in the photos) visit a nearby leprosy colony every week. The colony consists of 125 people and is located near the city of Kakinada (on India’s east coast).
Because leprosy is viewed as highly contagious (although it is apparently harder to contract than many people think), lepers are shunned by much of society, and these people are forced to live together. “Although the government does give them some support, for example, help with their shelter, none of the main NGO’s operate in this area. For the past 20 years, Christ Gospel Church is the only non-governmental organization that has consistently assisted lepers here.”
Yelchuri went on to explain that every week, they bring in medical professionals to help treat those suffering with leprosy. They also faithfully give each person in the colony ten pounds of rice per week. They sometimes give them money to help with other expenses as well.
Revs. Luke and Pavani also pray with the colony residents and share the Word of God with them; however, they give aid to everyone who has need, regardless of whether they are Christians. In today’s Christian world, many people get sidetracked in debating dogma and arguing over theology, but Luke Yelchuri and CGC India are doing an excellent job of reminding all of us that our focus as Christians should be on following Christ’s commandments to help those in need. Luke and Pavani are certainly walking the walk.