A few weeks ago my wife and I went to a fund raiser for Young Life Capernaum. It was a fun evening. It had a Western theme, complete with silly ‘wanted posters’, singing, pie, videos, and pie. Did I say we had pie? Oh man, we had a lot of pie. Young Life Capernaum is for teens and young adults with various kinds of disabilities. It’s best to let them tell you in their own words what it’s about in this link. My wife and I with our church have been involved with this group for about two years now.
The sad fact about people with disabilities is the discrimination they get. Some people discriminate against race, some against religion, or different nationalities. But I dare say, more people discriminate against the people with disabilities than any other group. Whether it’s physical or mental. Don’t believe it? Look at how many people park in the Handicap Parking when they shouldn’t.
Close to ten years ago I was in a bad car wreck which put me in a wheelchair for a couple of months. I am very well aware of parking problems for those in wheelchairs.
Many of our Young Life Capernaum friends have part time jobs. Often times at these jobs (and other places) they have been called stupid, retard, and more. Unfortunately they may get physical abuse too. Life can be rough for them. Yet the people in our group know God loves them. Notice I didn’t say they kinda believe God loves them. No, I didn’t say that. I said they KNOW God loves them. And they KNOW God is with them. I know God is with them too.
Our church has been part of a ministry for disabled young adults for about two years now. But before we got involved, I decided to do a little recon on them. I went out to a mall where they hang out at and watched.
I saw them sitting in groups, talking and laughing and eating together. I saw a few that just sat off by themselves, then I saw some just roaming around visiting different individuals and groups, just to see what’s going on. Socially, they are just like the rest of us. Some are out going and are some shy. Yes individually they may seem awkward because some of them may have downs syndrome or autism or whatever, yet they are often warm and happy to socialize.
One evening six of us went to our first Young Life Capernaum meeting. There I saw a small woman in her early 30s, sitting in a wheelchair. Never in her life has she ever walked. Then I found out that her loudest voice is only a very soft whisper. If people with good hearing have trouble hearing her, how am I with a hearing loss supposed to hear her!? I sat across a large dinning room table from her wondering. Then I saw the woman in the wheelchair moving her hands at someone, and that’s when I realized; she knows ASL. (American Sign Language) I know a little ASL so now I can talk with her. Later I brought my FM so I could hear better. (Sorry for the HOH (Hard Of Hearing) lingo. FM is short for an Assisted Listening Device that uses a FM radio signal for hearing. If you would like more information on one click here.) Unfortunately after years of service, my FM doesn’t work that well anymore. But I still enjoy her company.
Once I saw a TV preacher say God doesn’t need us, BUT He does really want us. All of us, if we’re willing. I don’t know what else he said, but I started thinking about it. It’s like a classic car collector spotting a broken down heap of a car. He wants it because of what it’s worth.
I had a customer once who had me work on his 1970 King Midget. What an interesting car. I asked him how much he paid for it, but he wouldn’t tell me. He just said, “A lot.” Well according to John 3:16 God loves us, He wanted us so much, He sent His Son to save us.
Over time, these Young Life people have integrated into us, and we have integrated into them. Through Christ we are all part of the same body. We are all wanted by God.