While I was there, I met hundreds of people: rice farmers, politicians, orphans, rickshaw drivers and scholars. One of the most memorable moments was the day I spoke to a group of hardened prisoners.
They sat on a stone floor in perfect rows. Around 100 lawbreakers sat there while a thin, pale boy from Alabama spoke to them about freedom and forgiveness.
The primary purpose of my trip was to speak to large crowds in an open field over a series of nights. Some call this type of event a “crusade.” However, we used the term “peace gathering” in our publicity.
This translated well among the local people. Each evening you could sense the excitement as the people began arriving to the large piece of open ground outside of town.
The people came from villages all around. They rode on flatbed trailers pulled behind farm tractors—similar to a hayride.
The halogen lights lit up a crude stage. In the humid, hot climate the enormous insects danced around the bluish colored lights while I spoke to thousands seated on tarps.
My translator worked hard to communicate my message. Honestly, I think he took my thoughts and improved upon them a great deal.
Each night I would stand for a few moments and speak to people after the conclusion of the event. On my final night exiting the stage, something happened that made me feel as though I were standing right next to Jesus.
Two lepers came to meet me. I had only seen lepers in textbooks and on television. I remember learning the story of Jesus healing the lepers as a child. I never dreamed that I would actually be standing and looking into the eyes of a leper.
Lepers do not look the same. Yet, there are tell-tale signs. The skin lesions and deformities can be very disfiguring. These two men also had missing toes and fingers. Both of the faces I was looking at were disfigured.
I am not a mystical man. However, I sensed that God was telling me to touch them.
My initial response in silent prayer was natural. “God, are you sure?” Of course, I already knew the answer.
I touched and prayed for these humble, emotionally-scarred men. Were they healed like those whom Jesus touched? I do not know.
I do know that they felt loved for that moment in time. They both knew that someone cared about them in their condition. In reality, that is what most people want when they are hurting.
Touching the untouchable is not easy. It does not come without some risk (I used a lot of hand sanitizer after that time of prayer).
I wish I had many stories about reaching out and touching the untouchable. However, that is something that I am still learning to do.
Perhaps God is speaking to you about touching the lives of those who are untouchable. Displaying your concern for those who are physically or emotionally hurting is imitating Jesus Christ. Showing your love to those who are different than you is good for you. It helps you to grow spiritually and break down barriers of fear and prejudice.
Take the risk. Touch the untouchable.
— Chris Crain, Pastor, North Valley Church, Margaret