“I felt a dog was better than me,” says Mamane Abdou. “I was hopeless; I thought it was the end for me.”
At just seven years of age, no one knew what was wrong with him. He was not functioning as a healthy child ought. He’d reach for a pencil and try to write…only to have his fingers fail him.
Like a death sentence
Sometimes a diagnosis is helpful. When a mystery ailment is identified it allows strategies to be explored to resolve it.
Such was not the case for Abdou.
Being diagnosed with leprosy as a child was like a death sentence. In Niger, where he lived, leprosy was greatly misunderstood. The disease was thought to be incurable and contagious by touch.
The result? Abdou’s family would have none of him.
It is not highly contagious, like the flu.
It causes nerve damage and muscle weakness that can lead to deformities, crippling, blindness and isolation.
Its victims often face difficult lives of rejection and shame.
Begging for hope
“I was the only one in my family suffering from leprosy,” he says.
“The feeling of being rejected was so burdensome to me, so dramatic in my life. I couldn’t eat with my relatives, and that forced me to go on the streets, begging in order to survive.”
Life rapidly spiraled downward.
Being rejected by his family, losing the use of his hands and feet, and facing life on the streets—nightly seeking shelter and daily scrounging scraps of food to survive—wave after wave of hopelessness pummeled Abdou.
Broken in spirit and deformed in body, Abdou was tempted to give up.
Was anything in life worth living for?
SIM’s Danja Hospital
One day Abdou was told about SIM’s Danja Hospital in Niger. When he first stepped inside, he didn’t know how radically his life was about to change.
The vision at Danja Hospital is to minister to the whole person as exemplified in the life of Jesus, who preached, healed and taught. (Matt. 4:23). Here, Abdou experienced not only radical physical healing, but complete spiritual transformation.
“At the hospital, I spent three years on the treatment,” he says.
“I felt accepted and loved. The nurses would touch me. They would care for me, and I had a family.”
Touch. Love. Healing. They combined to radically change Abdou’s heart toward Jesus Christ.
Accepting Jesus Christ
“Before, I was a Muslim,” he says. “But because of the hospital, I met Jesus. Today I am a Christian.”
As his recovery progressed, Abdou’s new life flourished like a budding flower.
“I started to make use of my hands. I could feed myself, and today I can walk,” he says, beaming.
“To me, it was a big change, going from the status of being helpless to the status of being self-reliable. I was very, very happy.”
A family and a future
Today, Abdou is married. He and his wife have been blessed with twins, who are now seven years old.
“Without SIM I wouldn’t have a family,” he says.
“I would be nothing. I’m so thankful to SIM and I don’t think I can be thankful enough. I was healed, SIM sustained me and I found the light of Christ. I am thankful to Jesus because of that.”
When Abdou’s leprosy was cured he became confident enough to learn French, and his fluency allowed him to become a professional translator. It’s how he now supports his family. They live in the same compound with his wife’s parents and brother, and he cares for all of them.
You and other faithful SIM partners made it possible for Abdou to experience physical healing and eternal salvation through Jesus Christ—as together we minister to pressing tangible needs, spread the hope of the gospel and build the Church.
Please join us in prayer:
- PRAY for Abdou and other new believers taking first steps of faith in Christ.
- PRAY for complete healing—physical and spiritual—for patients at Danja Hospital.
- PRAY for the SIM team at Danja Hospital as they treat 45 outpatients daily and perform 35 operations monthly.
Your generosity makes it possible for hurting people like Mamane Abdou and others all around the world to find hope and healing now and for all eternity.