We all enjoy our natural senses, most of the time with little though or appreciation. The ability to see the beauty around us or hear the giggles of a child are some of the true riches we share in this life. To not have the use of those faculties is something we often do not even think of until we lose them or they are diminished or threatened in some way. The person who is deaf or blind loses out on so many special blessings and even finds the basic necessities of life to be something they struggle with. That is true here in America where life is relatively easy and where persons with some physical limitation have so much help and special consideration. People with physical limitations in Colombia have often been forced to beg or live off of the begrudged largess of family.
As a result, in Colombia we have always made a special effort to help such people. We attempt to help them find training and education to make life more productive and enjoyable for them. This has included paying for rehabilitation and specialized job training. We have helped the deaf and blind to find jobs or develop their own business as a way of earning money. We began the first deaf church in Colombia as an attempt to open the doorway to salvation to them as a critical first step. We have purchased and taken to Colombia the folding canes for the blind, a luxury to them that is not available there in the country. In fact, almost every trip back into Colombia I will have a couple of canes for the blind in my suitcase.
One recent project of ours has been to provide a Braille Bible for a blind Christian. Luis has been blind for more than twenty years now. Mark Stringer paid for his rehabilitation and he now does very well with the blind canes we take in to him. We had purchased a cassette Bible for him to listen to, but it was not the same. He could not look up a verse or easily find it again after he had once heard it. In spite of being a Christian for many years, in many ways he had failed to grow and mature as a Christian. So two years ago we began the process of securing a Braille Bible in Spanish for him.
First we secured the New Testament to see if he would actually read and use it. He devoured the thing and nearly wore it out as he read and reread God’s Word for the first time. He would laugh and jokingly say “That guy named Paul really beats you over the head doesn’t he?” And he began to show real spiritual growth. He had read the New Testament several times and asked about getting him the Old Testament as well. Seeing how he how used the New Testament so much in his first two years of having access to it, we secured the Old Testament as well this year. He has been diligently reading that and is now into the Prophets.
Even though our primary focus is evangelism and church planting, we have always worked to make the lives of the new Christians better in any way we can. Our benevolent fund provides for things such as folding canes for the blind, the special ministries and job training for the deaf, and micro loans for poor Christians to begin a small business from which they can earn a dignified living. If you would like to help with this special ministry, please fill out the coupon with this news letter and send you love offering to our forwarding agent. You will be helping “the blind to see” in a very literal way as you provide for special needs for people with special challenges in life.