It was dusk when the stranger came hobbling out of the woods with the help of a makeshift cane. I watched as he slowly and painfully made his way toward the Mission Clinic, but suddenly he collapsed in a heap just a few feet from the door.
"Daddy", I yelled, "Come quickly!"
Daddy came running out of our little hut and dashed across the dirt yard to where the man lay on the ground.
Malamula Mission was a leper colony fifteen hundred miles from Capetown, South Africa, and our home. My father was a Medical Missionary doctor and in charge of the Mission Clinic which housed 300 lepers being treated and cured of leprosy.
Where the stranger came from, nobody knows, and due to his name being unpronounceable...we just called him "Sam".
Sam's toes had been eaten away by the leprosy. His fingers were only nubs and his face was so disfigured he wore a scarf. His nose was completely gone and although he was an African his face was silvery white with scales.
Dad always wore gloves when treating the lepers due to the contagious aspects of this terrible disease that causes such disfigurement and deformities and goes back to the Biblical era.
After many months of medicinal drugs, prayer and God's guidance and oversight, Dad finally told Sam he was cured and could go back home. But Sam wouldn't believe his good fortune and refused to believe that he was finally cured.
The only way my father could make him understand that he was completely cleansed and ready to return home, was to take off his gloves, and then with naked flesh pressed to naked flesh...shake Sam's hand. Then, and only then, Sam understood and believed...and jumped for joy.
Today, as I look back in the old picture album and see the photograph of Dad shaking Sam's hand without his gloves on, I see the smile and gratitude on Sam's disfigured face...and recall the story of the 10th leper that returned to thank Jesus for cleansing him in Luke 17:17.
I am so grateful that I witnessed this modern day miracle of lepers being healed as a little child growing up in South Africa, and it makes me know for a fact and without any doubt - that God is still merciful, still filled with love for His people and He's still in charge of our little lost and wayward planet.
Praise God for all His many Blessings! Dad took off his gloves so Sam would believe; now if only the world would take off their blinders - they would believe also.
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