“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More from Serbia

We had another wonderful day yesterday. It is interesting that there are several students in the group who themselves have a disability. Each of them has asked to sit down with Steve and myself and have shared very deeply from their lives. One was a woman who wondered whether it was strange that she wanted to be married like anyone else. Her culture told her that it was. One was a man who was trying to find his path in doing ministry to people with or without disabilities who came from a very abusive background. Others wondered about working with people with severe mental illness, or Alzheimers disease or intellectual disabilities. This is a group that really gets it which has been so encouraging to Steve and I.

We hope to visit a facility that houses 70 people with various disabilities. Apparently only 3 of those are Christians so the churches in the area have been fighting over who would work with those people. The end result is that the 3 are very confused. I asked about the other 67? The response was basically that they weren't Christians as if that mattered. I asked, "If you had medicine, would you go to the people and only distribute it to those who are Christians?" With issues of language translation and such there is always a good chance that something was lost in translation. We hope to visit the place so I will have to report back again.

There is an emphasis in some of the students' minds on the idea of healing, that healing is what God has for disabled people. We have both indicated to that that although we absolutely believe that God can heal, most people are not healed physically. How do we interact with those people? What does God have for those people? I think we have caused them to stop and think a lot more, and recognize there is a ministry to the overwhelming numbers of those who are not healed.

I have been so encouraged by this group. I asked Steve whether this is a typical response to the material we are sharing. He indicated that many groups are positive but that yes, this group was particularly good. How exciting to be a part of this. My prayer (and please pray with me) is that God will grab a few of the folks from this group and really use them in Serbia and Macedonia to open the eyes of the church to people with disabilities.



ArtworkByRuth said...

Praying that your time there has everlasting effects both for the temporary home of those you meet and for eternity. God Bless!

Shelley said...

I just received a link to your blog. I have a son with Down syndrome that was adopted from Serbia last April. I continue to stay in touch with some wonderful people in Serbia who truely want to see change in the way that their culture views those with disabilities. I have seen, just through my contact this past year, that there are so many good people in Serbia seeking to do what is right and trying to trying to change the minds of others in their country.
I'm so glad to see that there is a group working in Serbia with this same cause. I pray that you are able to reach many people with your ministry. I love my Serbian son with all of my heart and I thank the Lord for him every single day. But it is my prayer that one day there won't be a need for people to travel internationally to adopt children with disabilities because the children will stay with their families and be embraced by their culture. Of course, that's my prayer for my own country too, but that's another post all together!

Karl and Ashley said...

Hello, I came across your blog, and was thrilled that you're in Serbia doing God's work!
If you're in Beograd/Belgrade, and go to the children's orphanage... there is a little girl named Olive/Olivera that my family is hoping to adopt. She has Down syndrome.
We are just starting the process, even though the country isn't accepting new applications right this minute.
Maybe you could go there, and pray over her and the other children? Maybe take some pictures and email me with them? That would be such a blessing.
Either way, kudos to you all for being there!

Jeff McNair said...

The information about the pending adoption and the one that already occurred are so exciting. Our students were amazing. I so wish we had had the opportunity to pray over the child you are adopting. Sadly we were booked everyday all day, and were not able to be there. I will tell you that there are wonderful people with great hearts for children with disabilities in Serbia. I pray that those people will find their way into your child's life.

Adriana Duff said...

I don't understand how people can make excuses as to why they should or should not work with a person with disabilities, based solely on whether they are Christians or not. I am in complete agreement with you, as it should not make a difference if the person is Muslim, Hindu, Agnostic, etc. It is our responsibility as Christians to help our brothers and sisters in Christ. Actually, it is my belief that we have more of a responsibility to work with the people that do not believe in Christ, so that we might share with them the greatness of His love. Praise be to God, that has afforded us the opportunity to work with these people, so that we may become better people in the process.

Mark said...

Powerful and inspiring. You are already home now, but our prayers for your group will continue. I pray God works through these events, and works changes in hearts around the world.

Mark said...

What about the other 67? I kept thinking about that question all night, and throughout the day today. I can imagine the confusion of the three Christians having various churches fighting over who should minister to this tiny group, while they see their friends rejected and set aside once again.

Jesus didn't tell us to go work with Christians, he told us to go into all nations and reach all peoples. Too many times we miss the invisible, defenseless persons on our own street.