Kalpana walks home from the Bridge of Hope grand opening with the special gifts she received. She smiles from ear to ear because she has witnessed Christ’s love in a tangible way.

With feeble, painstaking steps, Kalpana Adler walks back to her home. The open sores and mangled toes on her left foot—and the total absence of her right foot—make the short journey extremely difficult. Kalpana leans heavily on her makeshift cane, gripping it as tightly as possible with one of her fingerless hands.

Despite her decrepit state, Kalpana has a joyful glimmer in her eye and a large, toothless grin. Today, she is filled with hope.

That’s because, tucked under her arm rests a small box and a piece of neon green cloth. The box contains a kerosene lantern, and the cloth is a mosquito net. Although these rustic gifts aren’t flashy, high-tech or expensive, they will dramatically change her life.

Kalpana—devastated by leprosy—was cast out of her village after contracting the disease. Now, making her home in the only place where she is accepted, Kalpana lives in a tiny, clay hut with no electricity or running water. Her home is surrounded by many others, each providing minimal shelter for a feeble resident who’s been struck with leprosy.

Because their parents are infected with leprosy, the children do not have opportunities to attend school.

For these leprosy patients, life seemed dismal. They were shut out and forgotten by society. Unloved and rejected by everyone. Jobless and hurting, they couldn’t imagine being valuable again. Then, Gospel for Asia native missionary Jiva Giri showed up.

The leprosy patients’ children sing joyfully at the Bridge of Hope center’s grand opening. They are thrilled to have the opportunity to attend school.

For the first time since contracting the destructive illness, the leprosy patients were treated like humans. Jiva, along with a team of other GFA missionaries, demonstrated Christ’s love in the most tangible way—by cleaning their wounds and embracing them as friends.

And today, they were being even further touched by the love of Jesus. A Bridge of Hope center opened its doors for their children!

Kalpana and the other leprosy patients gathered at the new center to witness the beginning of an outreach that will change the future of many of their children. Because their parents are infected with leprosy, the children do not have opportunities to attend school.

The grand opening celebration warmed the hearts of the patients and gave them hope. The teachers and children sang songs, and GFA leaders spoke about Jesus. Then each patient was called up to the front to receive a special gift—the lantern and mosquito net—and among them was Kalpana.

Gospel for Asia missionaries prepare the mosquito nets and lanterns to be distributed to the leprosy patients.

Filled with delight as they received their gifts, not only did the leprosy patients’ quality of life increase, but their self-worth grew as well. Each one will now be able to light their home after dark. And although malaria is prevalent in their area, they can shield themselves from mosquitoes at night when the disease-carrying insects are most active.

Through Jiva’s ministry to the leprosy patients, many have decided to follow Christ. They have never before seen a God who is willing to come down and improve their dismal situation, and are deeply thankful to know that Jesus cares about their needs and their souls.

Through the Bridge of Hope center and gift distribution, the leprosy patients, like Kalpana, now realize that they are totally equal to anyone else in God’s kingdom.

Read other stories about GFA missionary Jiva’s ministry to the leprosy patients.