Last month we were so proud to have Alyssa Hedding in India as a visiting sponsor. Alyssa’s tender compassion with the leprosy affected patients helped foster experiences that we always seek to have when serving in the colonies. Her talents as a nurse were utilized often and were especially welcome when another volunteer became ill. It was a delight to watch the children light up when they saw her coming.

Our thanks to Alyssa for her willingness to share this entry from her blog, Imperfectly Rising.


“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for, and deserted by everybody.” – Mother Teresa
If there is one universal need, it is the need to feel loved. All of us are worthy of love; however not all of us feel loved.
20170211_075716In my opinion, humans need to be loved in three different ways: we need to be loved by others, by God, and lastly, by ourselves. Historically, victims of leprosy have been treated as “Untouchables”. Not only would this cause a person to feel deserted by his entire community, but possibly also by God Himself. And if you felt unloved by everyone – including God – how could you love yourself?
Throughout the last two weeks I have met so many amazing people who have spent their lives feeling unworthy of love. I have also witnessed the beautiful transformation that occurs when they begin to believe that they are, in fact, worthy of love.
The Bindu Art School has sparked that very transformation in many leprosy patients. Who would have ever thought to organize an art school in a leprosy colony? Werner Dornik did. He had a vision for these people to be able to express the talents that even they didn’t know they had. At his first class, almost no one showed up. It took a lot of time and coaching to help these leprosy-affected people realize they had something important to offer – that they themselves were capable of creating something beautiful. Now the art school is supported soley by the money earned from selling the participants’ artwork. Being able to sell their own artwork sparks a change in their perception of themselves. Heads are held higher, posture is straighter, eye contact is maintained.
A student at the art school proudly displaying his artwork
I believe each of us has something unique to offer the world; but until we truly believe we are worthy of love, we are limited in our ability to shine. If Mother Teresa is correct about the biggest disease we face today, then we should be able to treat it with one simple medicine: love.
Touching those once labeled “untouchable”…an incredibly humbling experience
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