This article was originally published in the February 2024 edition of ITMI Monthly.
ITMI’s Molly had never seen anything like it. It was truly an incredible moment.
The colony of lepers stood still and calm. They weren’t shouting and pushing one another to try to be the first to receive the gifts that Paul, Molly, some of their children and church members had come to deliver. Tears streamed down many of their cheeks.
Paul, Molly and some of their 23 children had driven a bus to the end of the road, where it ended at a mountain. Half the bus was packed with food and handmade gifts for them to hang in their mud huts.
A dozen men from the church Paul planted and continues to shepherd as the pastor were involved in preparing and protecting, loading and organizing to make the outreach possible.
Paul got out of the bus first. The colony leaders, including a priest, met him at the temple near the lepers’ homes, where many of them beg daily.
“…food runs in India are risky business,” Molly writes, “It can easily turn into a fight and stampede with gangs coming to interfere and steal.”
Paul spoke to the leaders and with wisdom gained from many experiences, clearly shared with them,
“We are happy to see you, our family loves you—we are the same family who helped you in the pandemic. You are all precious. If you shout and push, we are going to get in our bus and leave with your gifts. That will be very sad. We are a family who wants to share that Jesus loves you so much and made you in His image with a beautiful plan before time began.”
They stood unbelievably still, and the children emerged from the bus. Paul and Molly’s teenage daughters decorated the huts with the handmade garlands and stars.
Some of the lepers were Hindu. As they walked next to Paul and Molly’s family, some of the lepers pointed to the first home that the girls decorated. “Jesus loves her most,” they said, referring to the woman who lived inside, “and she always speaks His name.”
The woman they were referring to sat on the step of her home as Paul and Molly’s children sang to her. She was missing her fingertips and hair, but she was beautiful.
Molly reflects, “As a missionary or pastor’s wife in India, the heavy weight of the hopes of people can be suffocating. Our aim is to point to Christ, the author of our salvation. The only Way, Truth, and Life. Our first work and passion has become to point ourselves to Him and pray our crew follows.”
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About the Authors
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.
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