Tourists travel to the Hawaiian Island of Molokai for its quiet charm, gentle breezes, and soft surf. But Father Damein came for a different reason. He came to help people die. He came to Molokai because leprosy came here first. It started about 1840.
Because of their gross disfigurement, lepers were outcasts placed on a small piece of land called Kalaupapa. There they lived out their lives in isolation and poverty. Then, in 1873, Father Damien stepped into the picture. He pled with his supervisors, “I want to sacrifice myself for the poor lepers.”
Father Damien entered their world, dressing their sores, hugging their children, and burying their dead. He sang to them and taught them about God’s love.
He didn’t just join them; he became one of them. Due to his constant contact with them, he became a leper. He wrote to his friends, “It is one thing to treat a leper, but far better to become one.”
On April 15, 1889, Father Damien died of leprosy. But he made a difference. He did what Jesus did. Not content to simply “treat” a man, Jesus became a man. And he died a man. He has been where you are. And now, he is where you can be.
The Bible says, “He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, and was taken up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).