Depression and real effects from the pandemic

By February 8, 2021Leprosy

Today’s blog is a note from our founder, Joe Clendenny sharing some recent events at our base. 

Dear friends and family,

I’d like to start this letter praising God that no one in our care has contracted COVID19. It’s not lost on us how miraculous this is, and I invite you to rejoice with us. 

Now I’d like to share some struggles our patients are encountering and invite you into the process. As you can imagine, the isolation is profoundly impacting them, and we see the effects at a core level.

Depression is a real issue for many, and they are struggling with not seeing their families regularly. Before the pandemic, we served seventy-two people (in our hospice and rehabilitation center), and right now, we currently serve fifty-five. A few have died due to other health issues, but several have returned home due to homesickness. 

We’ve noticed this trend of depression, and our staff is doing their best and going the extra mile to help them. They are praying over them, caring for them medically, and taking care of every area of their life – including giving out a little junk food here and there to make them smile! 

It’s heavy on our staff’s hearts, and yet they are navigating these uncharted waters with humility and grace. 

But some days, it’s very rough. This next part is something that happened recently at the hospice center that could have been very tragic. 

A 76-year-old woman came into our care, and she only had one friend in her life. Over the past twelve months, she hasn’t been able to talk to her friend or find out her whereabouts, and she became very depressed. Nothing comforted or soothed her pain, and one day, our staff found her trying to take her own life. 

But God had other plans.

Our staff screamed for help, and another staff member ran in and saved her. We helped this sweet patient recover and reunite with her friend – she was ecstatic! Though she is no longer in our care (her choice) she now lives alongside her friend and is very happy. 

This story could have been tragic, and we are so grateful for the story God wrote instead. 

Will you join me in fervently praying for our staff and patients? The burden is heavy on our hearts to see this depression lifted off our patients. 

Anil, our director in India, told our U.S. team, “You need a special calling from heaven to work in missions/serving leprosy patients.” And that is the truth.

The staff encounters a lot of trauma and heartache, yet they serve selflessly (we believe) because they witness the miraculous transformations happening in the lives of the patients. Anil says it’s these transformations that propel them to sacrifice so much, and I tend to agree. 

They see miracles happen regularly – like almost every patient knowing Christ before they die – and so much other fruit like Jay being on death’s door and now leading our worship team. Many staff members tell us that they would love to serve even more people! Their grit and tenacity to endure even when the burden is heavy are inspiring and uplifting to us all.

Thank you for reading this letter and joining us in prayer. I’m so thankful for your interest in our ministry and for spreading awareness about our work in India. May God bless you!

Warmly, 

Joe Clendenny

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