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Guest Post #2: Lauren & Lepers

November 29, 2011

Our first day in Addis was interesting and humbling. Lauren was introduced to Ethiopia in a slightly different way than how most people “meet” a country.

I suppose, though, when God calls you to serve, He will never ask you to do something that you can’t do/overcome.

Reflection on Ethiopia: Lepers

A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. (Matthew 8:2-3)

Exactly one week before my trip to Ethiopia, we discussed this passage at my ESL class. I mentioned that I’ve never met a leper and how I thought leprosy had been eradicated in modern times. As we discussed in detail how leprosy disables and disfigures the body, and how it was taboo to be near a leper in Jesus’ day, I remember thinking “I don’t think I could touch a leper…” Even more,” be filled with compassion” and touch one like Jesus (Mark 1:41).

Then God smiled at my small-mindedness and said, “Oh really, Lauren?” because on my first day in Ethiopia I was asked to help feed homeless lepers. Jen and I were visiting a ministry called Project 61 who serve outcasts living in Korah, the poorest district of Addis Ababa. Many of the lepers have been so crippled by the disease that their hands have shriveled into nubs. They can’t lift their hands to their mouths, and they have no friends or family to help them.

But seriously God? You know I have a weak stomach, I’m a germaphobe, sensitive to smells, and get faint just in the presence of sick people, right? Do You know they eat with their hands here? I don’t even feel comfortable feeding my own husband with a fork! It’s too much, too ishy for me Lord.

Then I was reminded of His Word that played on repeat in my head:

I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 2:20)

So in that moment, I put aside my fear, my discomfort, and my pride and let Christ take over. They weren’t my hands who touched the mouth of a stranger, they were Christ’s. It wasn’t my compassion, it was Christ’s. If it was just me, I couldn’t have done it.

No one was healed or amazed that day. But the little miracle was that a few lepers did not go hungry and one girl was deeply humbled.

For more on Project 61 and Korah, watch this

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