Churches Inclusion in Rwanda -- blog one
Thursday 19th January
Trevor Hahn is in Rwanda, taking part in a Churches Inclusion training trip with our local partner Rev Dominique. He'll be sending back reports when time allows -- here's his first report from their important and encouraging inclusion work.
After a few teething issues with transport, the team finally assembled today and we delivered our first set of training sessions to local pastors, deacons and other community leaders. We introduced ourselves to the group of about 35 and also talked about Through The Roof and its mission to ‘transform lives with disabled people through Jesus’ and its vision to ‘live in a world where all people enjoy life together mutually giving and receiving as God intended.’
Pastor Trevor spoke on all human beings, including those with special needs and disabilities, not only being created by God but also being made in His image, that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, that we are God’s workmanship, God’s work of art, God’s masterpiece and God does not make mistakes. God formed us out of the earth with his bare hands, intimately, we are all unique that God looks at the heart, not matter our physical appearance or abilities or disabilities we are perfect in God’s sight. In fact God chose David to be king of Israel even though his father had rejected him so completely he was not included in the group of sons when Samuel asked to see them.
Brother Enos talked of glorifying God and when we serve and meet the needs of someone with disabilities we are glorifying God. He spoke of the blind man in John chapter 9 whose blindness was not the result of sin but to enable God to be glorified. He said we all have different gifts and abilities and talked of his father who has a disability, who has done tremendous things for God. He challenged us about our willingness to be agents of change, ambassadors of Christ promoting and supporting people with disabilities to see them included.
Pastor Eliezer spoke of the responsibility of the church to the community, that the church is the people and is to bring light to the darkness and to bring people, including people with disabilities, out of darkness into the light. Salt may not be sweet but bitter but enhances our food and in the same way although it may be a difficult message it is important to our neighbours and community to include people with disabilities. Salt heals wounds and we are to be the salt that heals. We are not to be like the priest who left the wounded man beside the road but to be like the Good Samaritan. Many people think they have a guardian angel - we can be that angel.
We also distributed the audio Bibles, mostly in dual languages of Kinyarwanda and English to the pastors and leaders who were really grateful for the tremendous blessing but a deaf pastor asked the question as to what we can do to support them.
Pastor Davis introduced himself as the Through the Roof Roofbreaker coordinator in East Africa and spoke of being adopted by God. Jesus on the way to the Jewish feast went to spend time with meet the needs of disabled people instead. People with disabilities are valued in God’s Kingdom.
Pastor Davis highlighted that the Hebrew word for adoption means to ‘make strong’ and when we bring people to the house of God we are to make people strong, including people with disabilities, to empower them, to bring new life, new strength to people with disabilities. The Greek word for adoption means ‘placing as a son’ which describes what God has done for us. We are placed in His family which is why we can call God our ‘Abba Father.’ We become God’s children, we are all equal before God and also that makes us sisters and brothers in Christ. He told a story of visiting one of his congregation and the mother was out so other children let him in and showed him a disabled child he did not know about. He supported this child and within a fortnight 100 families with children with disabilities in the village had come to him. Some have gone to school, others to university, one has become a lawyer and others have had operations so they can walk again. He issued a challenge to the pastors how many families with disabilities attend their church. He also offered his support and asked if any of the group wanted to become ‘Roofbreakers.’ Everyone said yes, the decision was unanimous.
Praise God for an awesome day.