We, as Kingdom Disciples, believe it is God’s will that everyone on earth has access to opportunities to lead a productive and fruitful life spiritually, mentally, socially, emotionally and physically.
Two months ago my friends Willem and Mee Hyae told me a story beautifully illustrating the statement above:
Many people in our region of Africa believe handicapped children are the result of a curse upon their parents. Fear and shame connected with their belief leads to children hidden in the house, dark and away from the public’s eye.
It was for handicapped children that our friend from Holland, Janneke came to visit us in East Africa. Janneke has a unique connection with children who have special needs. She herself was born with hands which do not function well.
And she is nearly blind.
In her early 20s, Janneke is a woman of faith, courage and compassion. She traveled to Africa by herself with a life message for children and their families. We planned a week-long seminar with Janneke and got the word out in the surrounding community.
On the first day 22 children attended along with 12 parents. The children went home filled with such enthusiasm that eventually all the parents came. Motives for attending seminars can be mixed. Aid organizations often offer to pay people to attend and then give away food, crutches, wheelchairs and other free things. Our offer was to set people free, to offer a new world view. Parents need to recognize the value of turning from superstition and to see their children the way God sees them.
During the seminar one little girl simply laid on the floor seemingly unable to do anything. Janneke said, “You must participate too.” Gradually the child began to get up and move slowly. As time went on she became so confident, she walked all the way home with her mother—5 kilometers!
A boy, unable to use his legs, moves himself with his hands and arms with agility and speed. His limitations did not get in his way, serving his new friends. He noticed one child who would not play. Rushing across the dirt, he offered the child a ball so he would join in.
Both the children and the parents were amazed at what could be accomplished with love, hope and everyone’s encouragement.
These families are discovering a new way to live. “Let’s not hide our handicapped children, let’s celebrate them.” They and all people should have opportunities to be productive and fruitful spiritually, mentally, socially, emotionally and physically.
Kingdom prayer: Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Lord Jesus, please help us with this so we will be living examples of productive, fruitful people.