Feature: Stories of Two International Missionaries Who Dedicated Themselves to Leprosy Villages in Africa

A church cross under the blue sky.
A church cross under the blue sky.
By Christine Lau June 17th, 2021

Africa, which covers an area of about 30.2 million square kilometers and accounts for 20.4% of the total land area in the world, is the second-largest continent in the world and now the second most populous continent with about 1.286 billion people.

In the African land, from the Apostolic era to the present, countless missionaries have devoted themselves to the soul of Africa. Among their accounts, the Chinese book Biography of David Livingstone, which records the Scottish missionary's story, is well-known among many Christians in China. It depicts Livingston's lifelong efforts to spread Christianity to African aborigines in order to comfort their souls and to set up evangelistic meetings throughout the African continent. Nowadays, the most famous of those pastors is Reinhard Bonnke, who is known as the "Flame Evangelist".

Recently, there are also two international loving missionaries who have dedicated their whole lives to the land of Africa.

Dr. Faye: "I know my illness, but God told me to go with you."

The hero of the first story was called Dr. Faye. He grew up in a rich area of Africa, and his father was a professor in a famous local hospital. He received professional medical education and training in France and became a nephrologist, but at the same time, because the situation in Africa was complicated, he saw everything. Dr. Faye's learning ability was also very strong, and he could quickly learn how to use medical instruments that he had never used before.

Since 2004, Dr. Faye had been doing free clinic service in leprosy villages in Africa, and he worked in a hospital in a Christian community for two days every week. One day, the hospital organized doctors to visit patients in leprosy villages. At that time, Dr. Faye's physical condition was not very optimistic. He had high blood pressure and hyperlipidemia, accompanied by diabetes and asthma.

So, Dr. X, who went with him, advised him not to go. However, Dr. Faye insisted on going with them to the leprosy villages to help the patients there.

However, on the way to the leprosy villages, Dr. Faye began to get sick. His blood sugar level was as high as 400, and he got a little better after receiving an insulin injection. However, when he arrived at the leprosy villages, he began to fall into a coma. He did some tests and found that his blood sugar level was normal, but his whole state was not very good.

Around the leprosy villages, only the local provincial capital had a hospital, which was very small. And the villagers themselves did not have any medical facility, so the accompanying Dr. X could only immediately send him to the provincial hospital. Dr. X thought it was ketoacidosis. Although ketoacidosis is a serious disease, it is relatively easy to treat, needing only intravenous fluid infusion; what was not expected was that the provincial hospital at that time did not have the medicine they needed. They had to go to the nearest place to buy a bottle of medicine to maintain the blood sugar level of Dr. Faye.

At the same time, patients in the leprosy villages had been anxiously waiting for the doctors' arrival. Dr. X could not stay with Dr. Faye, so he went back to the leprosy villages to see the patients.

Two hours later, the hospital called. Dr. X was treating patients in the leprosy villages when he heard someone say: Dr. Faye died.

Dr. X was lying on the desk of the clinic tent, crying bitterly: "Dr. Faye is both a teacher and a friend to me. When I heard the news, I didn't know what to do. I feel very, very bad... He works for the Lord and doesn't even want his own life. With his life, he explained the great mission given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ: 'You have to go and make all the people my disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.' I cried like hell. For the sake of the Lord, Dr. Faye gave his life. Why don't people like me work for the Lord?"

"In that hot summer, Dr. Faye came to the leprosy villages with us by car, but when he left, he was in a coffin."

"He urged us to always contribute to the African people and always work for the Lord."

Pastor Anna: Willing to embrace leprosy patients with the love of Christ and save children suffering from female circumcision

The second hero was Pastor Anna who had served in leprosy villages for 10 years.

In 1997, when Pastor Anna was 27 years old, she had just graduated from seminary and went alone to Africa, abandoning everything. Who would have thought that such a young single sister stayed in leprosy villages for more than ten years and that even her daughter was born and raised in leprosy villages in Africa?

The leprosy villages where Pastor Anna went were more than 700 kilometers away from the capital. Because of the poor road conditions, it took 13 to 14 hours to drive to the leprosy villages.

When she first arrived in the leprosy villages, Pastor Anna did not know anyone. She had to find her own way to contact the people in the leprosy villages and build trust with them.

From her observation, Pastor Anna noticed that women came out to fetch water in leprosy villages, and the good rope used for fetching water was very thin, which often drew blood from the hands of those women. So, she bought a good rope and gave it to the local villagers free of charge, enabling her to begin establishing contact with the villagers, and starting her gospel ministry.

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. Leprosy patients are therefore disgusted and deserted by people. No one wants to touch these patients and embrace them.

But because of Christ's love, Pastor Anna often embraced those lepers. Even her daughter who was born and raised in a leper village embraced the patients like Pastor Anna.

Christians familiar with Pastor Anna said, "If it were me, I could go to leprosy villages, but I would never let my children grow up in leprosy villages. That's too painful."

Doctors who once served in Pastor Anna's leprosy villages were moved to say: "Pastor Anna not only gave herself but also gave her own children. Missionaries are people sent by the Lord Jesus Christ, they work for the Lord. But they are also living people, and like us, they have worldly desires, families, and children. However, they gave up all this, and they worked in that position, not only offering themselves but also offering their own children."

There is also a very terrible custom in Africa, that is, female circumcision. Female circumcision is carried out between the ages of four and eight, with the aim of cutting off some sexual organs to avoid sexual pleasure. Female circumcision ensures that girls are still virgins before marriage and will be faithful to their husbands even after marriage. The United Nations, international organizations, and human rights organizations have jointly called for an end to this terrible custom, which has caused great pain to millions of girls and women around the world.

Pastor Anna also helped to save girls who were forced to undergo female circumcision in Africa and advised them to resist. At the same time, Pastor Anna also set up churches and schools in leprosy villages so as to ensure that those children were not harmed by female circumcision.

Some villages in Africa are very backward. People there do not know their full name and date of birth, let alone their ID cards and marriage certificates. Pastor Anna established a church in such a village. Now the whole village believes in the Lord, and Pastor Anna has trained a pastor there.

- Translated by Charlie Li

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