Leprosy community in Thailand…

Today we are going to travel back in time to share an encouraging & inspirational adventure that I feel very privileged to have experienced & I know you will find very inspiring…

agriculture asia countryside cropland

I have brewed an interesting tea blend for the occasion; Apple, green & black tea combination with a freshly baked Gf Date loaf (still warm) with lashings of butter. The tea is very different, not sure of the success of this combination with the first sip but it becomes tastier with each ensuing mouthful. The date loaf is ridiculously delicious!

Shall we travel to our reflective destination now…

When I was living & working in Penang, Pearl of the Orient  & while on the archeological quest of Digging for treasure… I was invited to travel to Khon Kaen in Thailand to share in the work amongst those living with the effects of leprosy.

This trip was of immense interest to me….since I was a small child & had first heard the stories of those suffering from Leprosy in ancient biblical texts, my heart had ached for those who were excluded & isolated from their families, friends & communities because of the stigma & fear that this disease incites in communities. Naively, I hadn’t realized back in 1980 that it was still causing havoc in peoples lives to this day!

I traveled on a fascinating train journey, passing farmers working in rice fields with water buffalo, through exotic villages & towns sprinkled with the glorious colors of a tropical country side….from Butterworth, Malaysia to Bangkok, Thailand.

agriculture carabao clouds countryside

Then continuing the journey from Bangkok arriving in Khon Kaen to stay with my friend who had given the invitation. The next day we took a drive out to the Leprosy community, which was quite a distance from the city into the county side. The community were very excited to have a new visitor & had prepared a delicious Thai meal to share with us. Afterwards I was given a tour of the compound. It was very impressive in its self sufficiency & ecological sustainability.

Asian vegetables, tropical fruit trees, chickens, fish, goats & pigs were all being farmed & used by the inhabitants of the compound, as well as, the excess being sold to local markets for other provisional needs. I was so impressed with this work & excited that it was now directed & sustained by the community itself!

But the most humbling moment for me…was when it came time for our departure to return to the city. A little lady, with the marks that herald leprosy, walked up to me smiling & carrying a huge basket overflowing with fresh tropical fruit & vegetables, meat & eggs as a gift for me! This was in appreciation for visiting them…She had given me her full week’s food for simply coming to visit…

However my friend informed me, that it wasn’t just a simple visit for this community…it was so much more…it was total acceptance & not rejection, it was the display of love & not recoiling in fear, it was inclusion & not exclusion in socializing over a meal & it was the gift of dignity that the visitation displayed, that had touched the hearts of the whole community…at the time I had not realized the impact that a simple visit to this community would have!

This became a defining moment in my life!

When I returned to Australia…I became an educator for The Leprosy Mission, in between family & work commitments. The Leprosy Mission is a global Christian organization that brings awareness & medical facilitation, dignity & empowerment, social integration, research & resource mobilization with compassion. And they reach half a billion people in the world annually who suffer from this disease!

Bringing awareness to their work, especially here in Australia, became my passion…which led to other amazing adventures that will be shared in future reflections…

This passion has lasted to this day…though I can no longer travel to far off places (reasons shared in Vanilla Rooibos Tea )…I can continue to support this important ministry through prayer & in sharing my own resources.  Over time I have seen Multi Drug Therapy (MDT) become an effective treatment & cure for halting the progression of the disease in the body with research continuing to hopefully one day create a preventative vaccine.

Did you know that there is a diagnosis of Leprosy made every two minutes & that there are over 220,000 new registered cases each year…50% of these cases are children Refer. Some are from the poorest countries in the world but others are in our own countries! So much food for thought…

This lady’s generosity continues to impact my life to this day…let us be mindful of the lasting effects that a simple gesture can have…a visit, a gift of love & the sharing of a meal…until next time dear friend…

Jennifer

Please note; I do not get any type of professional or personal financial reward for sharing this experience. 

Copyright: teawithjennifer.blog All rights reserved. Photos by Pexels.

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38 thoughts on “Leprosy community in Thailand…

  1. Jennifer, your first paragraph had my mouth watering. That bread sounded so delicious! Wow, I had no idea how many people were diagnosed with leprosy. What a gift that lady had for you! Thanks so much for sharing your experience. That compound sounds like a wonderful place where those with the disease are cared for properly. I know that was an experience you will never forget. I’m sure your work in educating about it has made a difference. Blessings to you! I’m your neighbor this week at #TuneInThursday.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Jennifer,
    What a beautiful experience God gave to you! I did not know that leprosy is still such a problem throughout the world today. Oh, what a difference in that woman’s life your visit made. And then what a difference in your life was made by her own giving back to you. God’s way of sharing His love has such far-reaching effects that we don’t envision! Thank you for your encouragement here to continue sharing the love of Jesus! I look forward to reading more of your memories and adventures! Blessings to you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Leprosy is still effecting many in the world today Dolly but The Leprosy Mission are doing an amazing ministry to help sufferers & in the prevention of it in communities that are vulnerable…Lovely having you drop by!

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  3. Jennifer, your title intrigued me. What a life changing experience you have shared. I am so glad there is a community of love and acceptance for those who suffer from the horrors of leprosy. Dr. Paul Brand had a lifetime of work among those who suffered. He authored a book with Philip Yancey on “Pain”. Thank you for your love for the forgotten. Blessings~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel it is an absolute privilege to love God’s love in this area 😀
      Paul Brand’s work in pioneering certain procedures for reconstructive surgery in the correction of deformities that can develop through some forms of leprosy was absolutely inspiring Pam!
      I have a personal experience to share ahead where his influence will shine through. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. No wonder that experience is still so vivid to you that you can write this heartwarming and inspiring account! I had no idea that there were leper colonies in this day and age. Your mission is so worthwhile!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jennifer, I enjoyed reading about your mission and trip. Many years ago before the iron curtain came down we visited Poland. On our last day many came and gave us sacrificial gifts. I’ll never forget their generosity. It still moves me to remember them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a powerful testimony and such a gift that you would share it with us! I had no idea that leprosy was still such a huge issue! Thanks for shedding some light on that!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Your journey and sharing always inspire me, and this post is no different. I admire your bravery, Thanks for being so faithful to share with us on the #LMMLinkup.

    Liked by 1 person

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