Willie Brown - Fermanah, Ireland Convention - July 1948

I don't know if I should tell again the story of the leper. A good many have heard it.

I was thinking of how a little stream of water found its way into a leper colony. Four people had decided to serve God away back where my Companion and I were in Western Transvaal in 1928. We had been in that home and taken meals there and we did not know that one there was a leper. When I left and went home to visit my people, I got a letter from my Companion to say that this man was a leper. He had a wife and five children, and the Doctor said, "Unmistakably, you are a leper, and you will have to go." But he did not believe it - his wife did not believe it. But two other Doctors came and said, "You will have to go." My Companion wrote and told me about the Government man who came along with a Car. My Companion was in the room with that man, and he was on his knees. Do you know what he was reading? "What wait I for, my hope is in Thee." He greeted his wife and five children for the last time and went away. My Companion had special permission to go with him. There were 900 natives and 300 white people in the camp. What did he do? Did he sit down and grumble and say that his lot was hard? Many people grumble and they haven't anything to grumble about.


"Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you, what the Lord has done."


That man started to pour out a little stream from his life, and it was not long until another man decided and they had a little meeting. He went to see a man in the hospital - a rough character with one hand off and no legs, and he cursed and swore. The nurses did not know what to do with him. This man said, "Would you not like to serve God?" "No," he said, "I am only waiting until I finish my life." But he left him and went back again and took a little Testament, and said, "Will you accept this gift from me?" Two days after, those two lepers were having their meeting, and this poor man with no legs came hopping along on the ground, and the Testament between his teeth. After the little meeting was finished, he said, "I would like to make a start to serve God." That leper wrote to me every month, and the first one wrote to me. Do you know what they are writing about? The wonderful things of God that had become such a reality. One day, I got a letter from the first man. He had gone blind. I was away 12-1/2 years from South Africa, but the way opened up for my Companion and I to visit that camp on a Sunday morning. There were the two lepers - the one with no legs had passed on. I said, “Good morning," and one of those men - his face brightened up, and he said, "Willie, I am awfully glad to hear your voice, but am very sorry I cannot see you." We sat down there. His wife and children were there too, but they did not go too near. I asked him, "What will we sing?"


"Oh, for the peace of a perfect trust, my loving God in Thee; unwavering faith that never doubts, Thy choice is best for me. Best though my health and strength be gone, tho' weary days be mine; shut out from much that others have, not my will, Lord, but Thine."


I saw my companion weeping - my eyes were filled with tears, and I don't know how I said anything that morning, but God was gracious. A little stream of water had gone out.


If you are tempted to feel that your difficulties are greater than any one else, remember, there are others who have difficulties, also.


One morning, I went to see them. This man was alone, the coloured man had died the night before. I got permission to bury him, and he was carried out by lepers to where there were ten or twelve open graves. About fifty lepers, twenty saints, and six workers were there. I remember this man speaking of this coloured man and the fellowship they had. We walked away together, and he turned and said, "It is wonderful how you can love a person whom you have never seen." "Whom having not seen, we love." Faith is one of the most wonderful things that we could ever meditate or ponder over.