—by Joe Clendenny
My life’s definitely been an adventure. As a businessman, the early 1980s were good to me. I was in the shoe business, and I bought and sold five different companies.
I took failing businesses and turned them around. By the world’s standards, I had it all.
However, in 1992, my businesses began to fail and nothing I did seemed to help. By 1995, my family lost everything—our home, cars, and big bank account—and eventually went bankrupt.
That same year, my wife, Pat, and I gave our lives to Christ and began a new adventure. God then opened a door of opportunity—a thriving business that not only pulled us out of our financial troubles, but that God would soon use to fund an important cause.
“Anywhere but India”
Several years later, God placed a desire in my heart to go on a missions trip. A friend kept asking me to go to India, but I wasn’t interested. Anywhere but India, I thought.
In 2002, I finally took the plunge and made plans to go with a team to Vietnam. At the last minute, the travel plans changed, and we needed to first make another stop...in India.
While in India, we visited two leprosy colonies. I admit, I didn’t even know leprosy still existed. The experience really affected me. When I got home, I tried to tell Pat about it, but all I could do was cry. I knew I had to do something.
Four months later, I returned to India and made a divine connection with a young man who was passionate about helping those with leprosy. It was the humble beginnings of a ministry we now call Embrace a Village. It’s a ministry that you, the partners of Joyce Meyer Ministries, support and help make possible.
Serving with Compassion
Through our medical ministry, our teams make regular visits to treat patients, care for their wounds, and provide them with medicines to help care for their sores and ulcers. We also supply their entire family with enough rice and nutrition bars to sustain them for weeks at a time.
The elderly are particularly at risk, and our hospice facility provides them with the compassionate, vital care they deserve. They often arrive on the brink of death, then gain strength as we care for their needs—medically, nutritionally, and spiritually. To date, 100 percent of our hospice patients have received Christ!
Your support also allows us to educate and provide regular, nutritious meals to the children of those who have leprosy. You are helping to eradicate the stigmas associated with this disease and raise up the next generation of leaders for this nation.
And there’s one more thing—our shoe ministry. Somehow, my life always comes back to shoes!
Because leprosy often leads to foot deformities, shoes play such an important role in preventing infection. However, the shoes need to be custom made, and few people can afford it.
Through your support, we have partnered with a shoe maker to help meet this need. For each patient, he makes several trips to the colonies to measure their feet, make adjustments, and deliver a brand-new, custom-made pair of shoes. To date, we have provided over 12,000 pairs of shoes!
Friends, there is no way I can adequately express what your support means to these men and women. In a place where they are banished from society and considered “untouchable,” you are the hands and feet of Jesus.
You are touching their lives, and more importantly, you are touching their hearts. I can think of no greater adventure.
Joe Clendenny and his wife, Pat, are co-founders of Embrace a Village, a missions organization dedicated to providing loving care and spiritual guidance to those affected by leprosy.