Outreach Update June 2017
The reality of disabilities is sometimes hard for people to reconcile with the image of a "Good God" who loves his children. Many people use examples of disability or illness to point to their "disbelief" in a God who loves his children.
The subject of disabilities is found in scripture both directly and indirectly in both the Old and New Testaments. Psalm 139 reveals the we are "wonderfully and beautifully made.....knitted together in our mother's womb" by God himself.
In Exodus the Lord tells us that He is directly responsible for making [man], in all of our diversity, including disabilities! Many people struggle with finding or seeing purpose in disabilities and illness, especially when children are inflicted. Jesus himself, in the account of John 9:1-3 spoke to the "reason" for disability. When he was asked if Sin caused the presence of disability in a life a person, he answered with a powerful vision of "why" such things are allowed in our lives. Jesus revealed that it is not sin or punishment for sin but........"THAT THE WORKS OF GOD MIGHT BE DISPLAYED IN HIM [THOSE THAT ARE DISABLED].
Often the pain, the discouragement, and even the physical hardships of life are often a blessing in disguise. They exist as an opportunity to reveal the Glory of God.
These situations are often used as a mechanism to strengthen our faith and dependence on God. All of us, no matter our challenges, are made in the very image of God. It is up to each of us to look for and acknowledge that Divine image and celebrate it in all of its diversity and beauty.
Mid March the team completed an outreach in Ocotal working with disabled children. They visited a school specially designed for the children's needs. There are approximately 36 children in the program. The Children all have some form of developmental disability such as MR, Autism, Downs Syndrome, and many with multiple diagnosis. A number of the children also have physical challenges which limit mobility and some are deaf and mute. 6 classes meet the special needs of the children on site teaching activities of daily living, sign language, and skill training.
2 caseworkers have been assigned to the communities to work with children not directly involved in the school. The team was given a tour of the program and played with the children. The instructors provided explanation of the programs and examples of physical therapy used to strengthen the children and ongoing support to improve mobility. The program is well designed but lacks resources. There is a great need for supplies such as food, personal care items, and materials. The team was able to identify a list of immediate needs with the teachers and brought the items to the school. They were able to deliver food, a mattress for the nurses office, and personal hygiene items.
The program provides therapy for children to improve mobility and muscular strength. Skill training is offered to provide students with opportunities for activities and possible employment
The next day the team went to homes of children that the caseworkers visit throughout the month. These children are not part of the school program many of them having severe disabilities and physical challenges. These families face many challenges. Each day families face significant needs associated with care for their disabled child, this care adds to the ongoing challenge of trying to provide for their families in a region that has limited economic opportunites. The team delivered hygiene supplies, cereal, and formula to the children and their families. As specific needs were identified, the team doctor was able to make the necessary prescriptions and provided some families with medicine.