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Disabled Children Find Transforming Love in North Africa
Posted Fri, 21 Sep 2012 17:00:04 +0000
Harvest of Hope by Amber Holloway, Communications Manager
Many North African families believe that disabilities are a curse from Allah or a punishment for sin. Thus, when they finally hear about the love of Christ for all people, it is often a powerful revelation. Our partner PM International (PMI) has taken up the challenge to serve North Africa’s disabled since 1994. After years of ministry, they are starting to see a dramatic change in how families view their disabled children. Before, they kept their disabled children a secret, now they are showing them love and affection. Before, disabled children never had an opportunity to attend school or engage in social activities. Now, they are receiving life-restoring therapy that is changing their lives and futures.
PMI is working in five regions of North Africa and has helped more than 15,000 people to date. With your gifts, PMI provides sports training, therapy, and medical care for the disabled, as well as emotional support and education for their families. Following is an update from the project leaders:
In City R, we have a center of rehabilitation and sports outreach for the disabled, allowing youth of both genders to have an active lifestyle which improves their quality of life. All of these youth come from broken families, and before they were without any aims in life. Adaptive sports provide an opportunity to develop goals and gives them a desire to live. It is impactful for them that they are receiving help from Christians. Some of them show interest in knowing what we believe and why we follow Jesus.
In City F, we have a computer skills training program for the disabled. We have seen the change in the quality of life of the 76 youth with whom we work. We attend to the students in a very professional and loving manner. In the past, these families have received visits from others who are unwilling to even touch the children.
Jazmin is a North African woman and sister in the faith. She was recently invited to a meeting of mothers from the local hospital to talk about her experience as a mother of a special needs child. Her story caused tears to flow and was a lesson about the true nature of forgiveness. She shared her experience of being abandoned and rejected by the father of her child. The other women were listening carefully. Afterward, one woman told Jazmin, “He doesn’t deserve to see his child ever again and neither does he deserve your forgiveness.” Jazmin had the opportunity to declare that her God forgave her and gave her freedom to forgive and love. “That man will always be my son’s father,” she told the group. “How can I deny my son the right to see his father if God has fully forgiven me?” This simple statement really touched the hearts of the mothers and gave them much to think about. Afterward, the pediatrician of the hospital, a Muslim, said, “This has been the best meeting we’ve ever had.”
We believe that a fundamental value we have shown the community is to love our neighbor with a selfless love, accept those who are rejected, and go far and beyond to serve others. During the last few months we have seen how mothers are showing more love to their children. Several parents have said, “You have taught us how to love our children.” Another couple expressed, “Only you Christians can teach us this way of living.” Hallelujah!
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