Although we were almost all committed to serving in different countries, each one of us shared a common a common call…to love and serve in community with those who have special needs!
Disability ministry leaders from India, Zimbabwe, Nicaragua, Rwanda and the United States recently met up at Elim Christian Services’ Annual Outreach Summit to pray, encourage, and dream together! During this time there were tears shed due to the heavy burden of pioneering disability programs in countries where there is very little support, yet there were also relentless belly laughs from the joy of this purpose-filled fellowship. One of the greatest things that happened during our time together was the practical vision casting which came out of our discussion about how to use the 5 Stages message as an awareness tool with churches and our local communities.
Michelle, a disability leader in Nicaragua has been using The 5 Stages message with churches for almost a year now. Michelle had some great feedback to offer the group about how churches who hardly knew people with disabilities existed (because it is common for them to be hidden in homes), were now going out into their communities to find families who have a child with disabilities and invite them to church. Geeta, a disability leader in India who founded a school for autism, is just beginning to work with churches around the issue of disabilities. Like Michelle, she will also be using The 5 Stages tool to provoke the hearts of those churches in her community. After hearing how The 5 Stages tool can be useful in church and community engagement, Lucia from Zimbabwe decided to bring the materials back to her husband Davis who is a pastor and who also teaches a disability course through a bible college in Zimbabwe.
The more we come together around this common call, the more God’s love and intentions for people with disabilities will be displayed in this world. Their contribution can be the critical difference between a broken world and something beautiful.
Kimberly Amos has a master’s degree in social work and education administration. She has played a role in the startup and development of several disability programs. Kim spent a year serving in Thailand and India with her family. She is now back in the U.S. and works closely with global ministry leaders who together form Elim’s Outreach Network.