The third Sunday of May every year is the National Day for Helping the Disabled. On May 12, the Christian Church of Yaodu District in Linfen, Shanxi Province, invited three fellow workers from the Disabled Fellowship for an online interview with the theme of Join Hands for the Spiritual Journey.
In this interview, Elder Zhang Xiaohua, responsible fellow worker of the Disabled Fellowship of the downtown church, and Cui Wenxiang and Deacon Wu Zexin were invited. Wang Shuai, the pastor of the Urban Church, led this activity.
At the beginning of the interview, Pastor Wang Shuai first asked Elder Zhang to briefly introduce the original intention of establishing the Disabled Fellowship based on his personal experience. Zhang said that he himself is physically disabled, so he can empathize with the experience and psychological state of the disabled community. Secondly, his work and service experience are related to the cause of services for the disabled, so he really wanted to help the disabled Christians in the church, and hoped to provide a harbor for them to study the Bible and communicate with each other. With the support of the church, the Disabled Fellowship was officially established in 2011.
Then, Elder Zhang recalled the witness stories of several mutilated or visually impaired Christians in the fellowship who, after their lives were changed, embarked on the path of serving the Lord, showing the beauty of disabled believers after their lives were transformed. He felt that the life of the disabled has been renewed and changed through the love of God, and the disabled Christians should share this love with more vulnerable groups, and use their lives to influence and change other lives.
In his presentation, Cui also shared the story of an elderly sister who was disabled due to hemiplegia: although she can not walk because of illness, she loved God as much as anyone else. She did not miss any of the Sunday services when the church meeting was not suspended, nor did she miss even the evening prayers, which almost always ended at midnight. The hardship of her life, and the incomprehension and irony of others, did not hinder her longing to seek God’s Word.
Brother Cui said that in the disabled fellowship, touching testimonies such as this sister are many, which shows that it is because of the setbacks and pains experienced by disabled believers that they value god’s eternal beauty more and their desire for God’s Word would be stronger and stronger.
In addition to the witness of love, another manifestation of “love each other” in the Disabled Fellowship is visiting. Elder Zhang also presented his own experience of visits to the Disabled Fellowship.
He believes that at a time when churches cannot offer physical services due to the epidemic, they should use visits to better care for disabled believers. On the one hand, it could strengthen the union between believers, fellowship, and church; on the other hand, it could bring comfort and encouragement from God to them, lead them to deepen their faith in God, keep their faith in God and avoid falling into the trap of heresy and cult.
In addition to caring and participation, “equal treatment” is also the theme of concern by the disabled community, and the Bible also embodies God’s equal and undifferentiated love for human beings. On this theme, Pastor Wang Shuai invited Elder Zhang to exhort everyone based on the Bible.
Elder Zhang said that in the process of Jesus’ preaching on earth, he gave forgiveness and salvation to countless disabled people, enabling them to receive grace and blessing from God. The Bible teaches us that “God is love.” The life of Jesus shows that he loves us all equally, whether we’re disabled or not.
At the same time, Elder Zhang also reminded everyone that physical disability is not God’s punishment, abandonment, or despisement. On the contrary, God has his good will for everything prepared for the disabled. The disabled themselves should not abandon themselves and blame the world; For the healthy people, it is more important to treat the disabled as equals, like Christ, and embrace these unique lives with love.
At this point, Elder Zhang looked back on his own growth experience and exclaimed with emotion: “Thanks to God’s countless love and grace, or I would never have helped so many people when I’m just a disabled person. If I had not been disabled, I would not have met the Lord, I would have been lost in the world, and my life would have been different.” In this way, Elder Zhang said earnestly in front of the camera: No matter what the situation is, we should give thanks in everything. Whatever God granted us, it is God’s good will. After suffering, there must be god’s greater blessing.
At the end of the interview, Elder Zhang talked about the future development of the Disabled Fellowship. He hoped to explore more group pastoral care and further improve the spiritual level of everyone in the context of the normalized pandemic situation. Secondly, apart from paying attention to believers with physical disabilities, the Disabled Fellowship should also further expand the caring and pastoral care for believers with hearing and visual impairments. Thirdly, based on the current service scope of the Disabled Fellowship, practical services such as picking up disabled believers with mobility difficulties to attend church services and delivering Holy Communion to disabled believers on Holy Communion days should be further refined. Fourthly, in addition to the elderly and the disabled, further care should be provided to more vulnerable groups in society. Fifthly, the fellow members of the Disabled Fellowship will lead more “physically sound but mentally disabled” souls back to the Lord by learning about psychological counseling.
(The article is originally published by the Gospel Times.)
- Translated by Nicolas Cao