When the white patches began appearing on Jonjin Dola’s skin, he didn’t worry too much. He thought it was just a rash that would heal up. Jonjin continued about his daily life unaware that he had leprosy.
For most of the Western world, leprosy is a disease that no one really thinks about anymore. The disease, which attacks the skin and peripheral nerves, is rarely seen in the West. When a case does crop up, it is treated with a simple, inexpensive drug therapy, which clears everything up in a matter of months.
In South Asia, however, leprosy is much more common. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 100,000 cases of leprosy are reported in South Asia each year. There are more than 1,000 colonies set aside for leprosy patients. When someone, like Jonjin, is diagnosed with the disease, the social stigma is nearly as bad as the physical suffering. Leprosy patients are shunned by society; many are kicked out of their homes and live the rest of their lives in one of these colonies—even if the disease is cured. Despite the best efforts of groups like WHO, not all those who contract leprosy receive treatment in time to avoid devastating disfigurement.
That is what happened to Jonjin. By the time he sought medical treatment, the disease was ravaging his body. His skin was so decimated that it began to emit a foul-smelling fluid, which drenched his entire body. Jonjin’s condition was so bad that no one wanted to be near him, so he spent his days alone in a small bedroom in his house.
The seemingly hopeless situation caused Jonjin to sink into a heavy depression.
Jonjin’s pastor, Gospel for Asia-supported missionary Peter Kasoh, was filled with compassion for this believer. The pastor was moved to launch a 15-day prayer vigil for Jonjin. And he started by doing what no one else would do: He went to Jonjin’s room to visit with him.
Jonjin recognized his pastor’s genuine burden for him and his love for Jesus as he stood by his bed lifting him up in prayer.
Pastor Peter spent a lot of time with Jonjin during the 15-day vigil. He comforted him from the Scriptures, reminding him of God’s love for him and the promises outlined in the Bible.
The people in the village watched in curiosity as Pastor Peter repeatedly visited Jonjin. They were also surprised to hear that Jonjin’s health was gradually improving as the prayer vigil stretched on.
At the end of the 15-day vigil Jonjin was completely healed of his leprosy! The people in the village were in awe of God’s power. God used Jonjin’s desperate battle with leprosy—and the shame it brought to his family—to show His power to heal.