Think back to that moment when your eyes were opened and you saw an aspect of life that would forever change you. In that moment, you could never go back because you had been affected so much that something new was imprinted on your heart. I’ve heard stories from some of you that have been to Haiti. You have gone back there year after year because the first time you went, it captured a part of you that stayed with you. I think of those of you who have worked with girls who were kidnapped and used for sex trafficking – you’ve heard their stories and took on some of their pain, and you will never be the same. For the Christian, that stirring in our hearts is the Holy Spirit calling us to mourn with those who mourn, and weep with those who weep, and rejoice in those glorious times of rejoicing.
For John and I our eyes and our hearts have been opened to the world of disabled children. While we have been part of the disabled community for almost three years now, our exposure to others within the same community is at a much higher rate and volume in our new home. John drops Malachi off every Tuesday and Thursday to a school for children with Cerebral Palsy. He sees the teenager whose knees are bent all the way in and legs that are crouched down almost to the floor and yet he WALKS just like like that! There are little boys and girls just like Malachi and adults who go to day care, some are aware of what is going on and some are not. We both were blessed to attend the end of the year program and watched those students “dancing” in their wheelchairs and we wept. We were touched deeply and had many different emotions inside.
When I go to CRIT I see these children by the hundreds except with a wide range of disabilities; children with giganticism, SMA, CP, varying genetic disorders, and those who were one day normal children but because of a tragic accident their lives will never be the same. Over the past weeks, I could have walked into that facility every day and remained silent and no one would have spoken to me, but I couldn’t do that. God gave me this opportunity and I MUST use it. It only takes one conversation with these parents to begin a friendship. Immediately they tell me the stories of their children. Some have come to accept their situation and others are still in shock. But now that I know their stories, I take on some of the burden and I feel their pain. We always talk about what they CAN do which I think gives us all a reason to push on. And now….
John and I can’t go back.
We can’t go back to only focusing on what we are going through, but rather, we channel that pain in listening to others and realizing that we are not alone. We can’t go back to only being concerned for the well-being of our own family because there are so many out there who need support. We can’t go back to simply praying for Malachi’s need, because now we have friends whose children need prayer. We can’t go back from the calling that God has placed in our hearts, to help and support the disabled community in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Yesterday we returned from our annual field council during which we reviewed our last year in ministry as well as presented our plans for the coming year. In addition to our ongoing work with the church plant, we discussed our ministry to families with disabled children. At this point, we are unsure of exactly what this ministry looks like, but over the coming year, we will be inviting other families with disabled children to our home and spending time with them. During these times, we will be listening and seeing where God can use us to minister to these families as well has hopefully building a team of others to minister alongside us. Please stay tuned as these plans come together to form a clearer picture and pray with us that our role here will be clearly defined.
Matthew 25:35-40 says, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”