She grew up in social isolation, believing she would never be loved or even have any friends.
You see, her parents had leprosy, and the disease excluded them — and her — from society.
But one day, she learned that there was a Friend who was waiting to know her!
This is the story of how one ministry is introducing Jesus to those suffering from leprosy and giving them hope for a new life.
Hua Hua was born to parents who suffered from leprosy. In their home country of China, many leprosy patients are exiled to lonely colonies which are far from cities and support systems.
The Chinese government even forbids some leprosy patients from marrying and bearing children. Abortion and infanticide are rampant in leprosy colonies, with small graves a common sight outside these communities.
However, love wins out in many of these patients’ lives, and Hua Hua’s parents were no exception. They wanted to experience the joy of having a child, even as they suffered in exile.
Hua Hua was allowed to grow up with her parents, but it was a difficult childhood for a bright, energetic girl. She was “deep thinking” and intelligent, but had little to no contact with other children her age.
Her only companion was her angry, bitter father, whose pain and suffering altered his view of the world.
By the time she was thirteen, Hua Hua was a shy, reserved girl. She spoke with a stammer and her life of isolation had convinced her that no one would ever want to know her or love her.
But things changed when Hua Hua had the unexpected opportunity to attend a camp for children from leprosy-affected families.
Sponsored by a ministry called Heaven’s Family, the camp was formed to reach out to these children and share the good news of Jesus’ love and acceptance.
Heaven’s Family is a Christian nonprofit that seeks to advance God’s kingdom by “strategically linking kingdom needs and opportunities to resources provided by those who love Jesus.” The ministry views itself as one big family, hence the name.
The family of God is a powerful force for change on earth, which this organization proves! One of the ministry’s most important outreach programs is the leprosy ministry, which seeks to love and provide for some of society’s most marginalized members.
Heaven’s Family believed that a camp for the children of leprosy-affected families would be an important opportunity to share Christ’s love and provision, and it was exactly that for Hua Hua.
It was at this camp that Hua Hua first heard the good news of the Gospel and realized that God loved her!
One ministry partner shared, “During camp Hua Hua had the opportunity to meet a Friend that was like no other.”
For Hua Hua, whose parents’ disease had destroyed any potential for friendships or relationships outside the family, it was a transformative experience.
No one in Hua Hua’s life had ever looked past her parents’ disease before. She and her family had always been social outcasts, but at camp, she learned that Jesus looked beyond the outer appearance and saw what was in her heart: a deep need for love and acceptance.
“This Friend even touched people with leprosy,” the partner added. “Hua Hua not only found friends, she found her best Friend in Jesus!”
Encountering Jesus changed Hua Hua’s life.
“When she heard the gospel,” concluded the ministry partner, “she immediately knew it was the truth. Prayer flowed through her as if she had been a believer her whole life.”
Hua Hua’s outlook on life changed drastically after her conversion. When she went home from camp, she was able to love and serve her parents—and the rest of their community—as she never had before.
She even invited other children in the leprosy colony to attend the next camp, impacting them for Christ!
Through outreach programs like this, Heaven’s Family is able to share the Gospel with “the least of these” in societies around the world!
The organization works with many other marginalized populations, including those affected by human trafficking, natural disasters, disabilities, persecution, and water shortages.
“Working together, we meet many specific needs,” writes the ministry. “In everything we do, the gospel of Jesus Christ is at the core.”
Hua Hua’s story is only one example of how this ministry is reaching souls for Christ!
The organization has a unique approach to ministry, encouraging everyone involved to remember that they are serving their family in Christ.
“We’re a family of thousands of people around the world who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,” writes the ministry. “Our family consists not only of our ministry staff, but also every contributor and beneficiary.”
It’s an effective approach that is touching lives across the globe!
To learn more about the ministry of Heaven’s Family or to give to pressing needs in the family of Christ, visit the organization’s website.