Abby Shields
Dear Friend,

“Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” `Mark 1:40-41

He stretched out His hand and touched him. In today’s society, touching an ill person does not exactly rock the boat of socially acceptable behaviors, but in Jesus’ time, touching a leper was unheard of. Lepers were considered ceremonially unclean, and were outcasts from society. Jewish rabbis would go as far to avoid lepers in fear that they would become ceremonially defiled; unfit for their position. Yet Jesus, defying all that was sociably acceptable at that time, was moved with compassion and reached out and touched him! That’s Huge!

Jesus was constantly shaking things up in his day. He touched the sick, healed the broken, and gave hope to the hopeless. He came for the sick, the prostitutes, and the tax collectors; the people whom society had neglected, thrown aside, and labeled hopeless. God has been showing me what happens when we, as his children, choose to follow his exampleby “touching the lepers”. By lepers, I mean the wounded people of today who have been labeled,“hopeless” or “outcast”. This can be the elderly, an abusive husband, an angry child, or anyone else whom society has cast aside saying, “There is no hope for them. They are not important.”

Stretching out a hand of compassion to the hopeless is not always easy, but witnessing what Goddoes through it, is a joy to the soul beyond compare. A husband in our counseling ministry, who struggles with anger, told me the counseling he has been receiving from the ministry was teaching him how to love and be loved. An elderly woman in our outreach ministry thanked those who have “cared when no one else did,” and an abusive spouse shared that “the ministry is teaching me that the world tells me ‘I am a failure’, but God is showing me whose I am and who I am.” All of these people have in some way been labeled hopeless in some shape or form.

It all boils down to reaching out a hand of compassion and touching those deemed by the world as untouchable. God is accomplishing awesome things through his people who are willing to extend a hand of compassion. No Heart Left Behind’s desire has always been to follow the example of Jesus. Jesus reached out with compassion to the hurting people of the world and said,“I am willing…” The question to you and me is, “Are we?”

My heartfelt thanks goes out to all who continue to support the ministry with their prayers, time and financial contributions. You are truly helping us touch a hurting world one heart at a time with the word of God and the love of Christ. God bless you!

In His Grip,

Abby Shields