Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How Do Those With Special Needs Serve in Your Church? (Part 2)

Several months ago, I asked the question, "How Do Those With Special Needs Serve in Your Church?" and I went on to describe how Kathy, a blind woman in our church, had stepped forward to tell Bible stories to our children during VBS week.

Well, it didn't stop there. My husband has begun selecting hymn stories for our worship service and giving them to her so she can listen to them on her page reader and memorize the content. Then, about once a month or so, someone brings a microphone to her during the worship service, and she introduces the song and tells the story behind its writing. It is so neat to hear these stories, and even "neat-er" that it's enabling someone whom others might overlook to be an important part of our family.

This year during Bible school, our Kathy really blossomed and helped us in so many ways. She signed up to be a helper in what turned out to be our largest children's class. She labeled the pictures in Braille so she'd know which one to hold up when; and again, she memorized the stories to tell to the class.

In addition, during breaks, she listened for when people were walking by or sounded busy and asked if there was anything she could do to help. "I'm just sitting still when my hands could be busy," she'd say. That offer was a lifesaver for me one particular morning when I had 100 pieces of paper to wad up and I'd forgotten to prepare that part of my lesson ahead of time.

She and her sister also did a lot of the "grunt work" for the decorating committee, and I'm sure if she never has to wad up another piece of newspaper to stuff into a fake boulder, she'll be thrilled.

There were a few humorous moments, though. Several times she'd admonish some of the children to "stop running, you'll get hurt!" as they clamored by. I'm glad she cared, except that many times, the children weren't running. It just had sounded like they were.

I just would smile to myself. I didn't have the heart to tell her.




I originally posted this on a separate blog, and received the following comment:

Anonymous said...
We have a young man in our church with some pretty serious mental issues, multiple personalities, obsessive compulsive and he stutters. However, he has found a way to serve. For years he has always carried a huge first aid kit with him everywhere he goes and so naturally when we reorganized our first aid kits in our nursery and children's ministry we asked him to pick out the kind we need and keep it stocked. His obsessive compulsive tendencies are working in our favor because he comes by every week and checks to make sure we have the EXACT number of each item that we need. It has blessed me to see the pleasure this simple task gives him. He is not good with people but this is a job he can do during the week and he can work alone on the task whenever he wants. I think there are probably lots of small but important tasks that those with special needs can do if we are just willing to accommodate their way of dealing with the world. -- August 26, 2008 10:42 PM