By Wallace H. Little
Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, nights or day. I also and my maidens will fast likewise. And so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law. And if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).
At Tala, in Metro Manila, Philippines, there is a leprosarium. This is where the pitiful lepers are herded to die. Their families often go with them. The government provides little, other than a place and material to build their nipa huts. Unless they are already too crippled when they arrive, they must do the construction. In time, other members of the family get this loathsome disease. Even the small children are hit with it by the time they are 25. There are few old people there. Most dont live long enough to grow old. Its people are shunned. What do you preach to them?
I have been there several times. I shake “hands” with some who have no hands, and “walk” with those who have no feet. I do not enjoy the experience. After leaving, I carefully cleanse myself with alcohol. Yet several Filipino preachers have gone, and still go there to teach. In the late 1960s, these established a church there. One moved there and lived among them for 10 years, strengthening the brethren, and slowly converting others. When he left, another brother began going there every other Lords day. He preaches, then eats lunch with them.
When an American asked him how he was able to do it, knowing that he could catch the disease himself, he replied: “If 1 do not eat with them, they will not study the Bible with me. I try to be careful, and clean myself with alcohol after I leave.” I asked him what would happen if he did catch the disease. He said: “These people need to hear the gospel. If I die, I die.”
How many of us have this kind of courage?
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 14 p. 13
July 15, 1993