Emmanuel and Udeme sat together under the mango tree, discussing the logistics of the upcoming training. They are leaders of a group of over 20 pastors in Southern Nigeria who meet together monthly to pray for their ministries and their communities.
They are from 12 DIFFERENT DENOMINATIONS!
But these pastors understand that they all work for the King and for the advancement of ONE Kingdom. As they meet together by WhatsApp, they pray for each other, and for the needs they see in their community. One of the needs they had begun to see was that people with disabilities are not represented or welcomed into their churches. While most of the people with disabilities in their communities are hidden, they do occasionally see someone begging or in need. And this began to bother these pastors.
Pastors Emmanuel and Udeme went looking for help. Emmanuel had been on the mailing list of Accessible Hope International (AHI) for a while, and reached out to see about the possibility of some disability training for these pastors. Though the pandemic has altered the way this could be done, AHI arranged for a 3-hour online introductory workshop called “Made in God’s Image.” The pastors live in 2 different states, so each of them gathered the pastors from their area in one location, and made sure they had access to one internet-connected device. Trainers from Sierra Leone met with them online, and facilitated the workshop for 20 pastors in two locations. Despite a few internet glitches, the workshop sparked a new passion in these 20 pastors. They wanted more.
They are now waiting for the completion of the full Theology of Disability workshop to be made available in virtual format, and continue to meet with these pastors from 12 different denominations to pray for people with disabilities and think of creative inclusion strategies. The full workshop should be available by Easter, and they are eager to participate – ensuring that their various churches begin to see people with disabilities through a new lens and reach out with love and acceptance to welcome them in.
Please continue to pray for these pastors in southern Nigeria, and for the people with disabilities in their communities – that EVERYONE would have access to the Gospel and to loving community – growing and serving Jesus together.
Kim Kargbo is the Founder and President of Accessible Hope International. Kim is compelled in ministry by the Voice behind her and the faces before her, who need to hear the Gospel in a way that is meaningful to them.