Stories of Hope and New Life from Across the World

I’ve recently learned about an organization called, “Partners International” which partners with many missionary minded ministries, some of which happen to work with people with disabilities. They sent me these two stories to share with our iamviable readers. For safety reasons, names have been changed and locations undisclosed. I am so excited to get our first International stories and I’m looking forward to many more!

Stories of Hope and New Life

By Partners International President Jon Lewis

This is a tale of two citizens. Both were born with disabilities, but their life stories have impacted literally hundreds, if not thousands of others, with the love of God.

Story #1: Her name is Youssera. Her mom, Fatima, had serious complications during Youssera’s birth resulting in the newborn baby being left totally unresponsive and in a virtual vegetative state. As in most Islamic countries, the tradition in this country is that disability is a curse of Allah and is seen as His punishment for something the parents or other family members have done in the past, or a preventative for something the baby might do in the future. In either case, families experience intense shame with a child who has a disability and end up hiding them away in a back room or corner of the house for years so that no one might know the truth of their condition.

Youssera, however, was fortunate to have parents who instead set out to find help for their baby girl. After many failed attempts, they came upon a small private center for therapy for those with disabilities on the outskirts of the country’s capital city. There, a woman named Amala had set up a humble but effective organization dedicated to serving the disabled children of this country, thanks to the support and help of PMI, one of our Partners International ministry partnerships working there. Making a huge, sacrificial decision for the sake of little Youssera, the entire family chose to leave their hometown and move to the big city 100 miles away.

At first it was simply moving her arms and legs and getting her mind to connect with the motion of her limbs. Then, little by little, more complex therapy was added to Youserra’s weekly regimen, each time bringing marked improvement in her condition. Not only was her family blessed by these remarkable results, but they also were the recipients of an outpouring of compassion and care by the PMI staff who convinced them that God loved their little girl as much as anyone else. Today, Youserra is a bright-eyed cutie who can tug on your heart strings just as much as she can on your pants legs. Sitting together in Amala’s home for lunch, we hear both dad and mom say again and again that all the sacrifice they have made has been more than worth it for the sake of their daughter. And, on top of that, they now participate in a group of thirty-plus people who meet in this very home each Sunday for a “spiritual uma,” an appropriate contextual name in this country for a potential house church.

Story #2: By the time Saeed was a teenager, he was rejected by his family like a piece of trash. Another victim of a traumatic birth complication and thus severely mentally and physically disabled, Saeed was relegated to the life of a street beggar. Scooting along on his bottom, his twisted limbs hardly allowed him to open his hand to receive food or a coin. For several days, Pedro passed him on his way to work. As one of the PMI program directors, he was still learning how powerful a ministry to those with disabilities could be. Muslim-background folks simply were amazed at how Pedro and his Christian colleagues could show so much compassion for people they thought Allah had cursed.

Finally, Pedro could not take it any longer. With arms wide open to the twisted beggar (and nose tightly closed to his personal stench,) the next time he saw Saeed, Pedro literally picked him up and transported him to Amala’s center for the disabled. They gave Saeed the job of opening and closing the front gate—a task he could barely manage at first. By the end of six months, Saeed was ready for more complex therapy. Soon he was able to walk upright on his own feet. Ever the optimist, Pedro then gave him a sports-style jersey and invited him to start training with his track team. With people believing in him.

Saeed progressed with great bounds—literally! Soon he was training for the national Special Olympics in the long-jump event. A few weeks later, in front of nation-wide TV, before the watching eyes of his astonished family and friends, this once shriveled-up street beggar received the Silver Medal for second place in the long-jump. Instantly, he became a type of national hero, as did Pedro for being so dedicated to working with the handicapped of the country.

Today, I had a chance to meet Saeed, who is now a trainer in the vocational center’s new woodshop helping other people with disabilities learn how to make useful and profitable products. I also had lunch with Youssera and her parents, hearing more about their story and new spiritual journey. In both cases, Pedro translated my greetings into Arabic. And, being the passionate Latin American that he is, he couldn’t help but emphasize to me and my traveling guests the incredible opportunity that continues to exist in the country because of this ministry. His vision is to see twenty or more centers like Amala’s opened up around the country. In each one, he wants to see carefully trained therapists who can not only bring physical help to the children with disabilities themselves, but also impact their families with the love of Christ.

Pedro tells me that Youssera’s extended family numbers around one hundred, all of whom are fully aware of this amazing change in her life. And Saeed is not only a hero among his relatives, but also in his entire district of the city where several thousand live. Two lives that have experienced Real Change in Jesus’ name and whose stories now offer Real Hope for many more!

What a great result of Real Partnership!

Who is Partners International?

The vision of Partners International is to see a hurting world transformed by the power and love of Christ. By advancing a global network of partnerships, we envision thousands of growing, vital communities of Christian witness bringing real hope and real change to the least Christian regions of the world.

Together with locally-led ministries that are living out the Great Commission and Great Commandment, we serve the physically deprived and the spiritually hungry in the “hard places” of the world.

Where there is darkness, we bring the light of Christ. Where there is misery and suffering, we bring compassion and relief. Where there are deserts of despair, we create life-sustaining oases of hope.

From Morocco to Malaysia, from Beijing to Bangalore, our passion is to bring real hope and real change through real partnership.

Read more about Partners International at:

About editor

Kara Ferris is the Executive Director and editor of Wife. Mom of 3. Lover of people. Connoisseur of espresso. Master of Crazy Hair. Heart that beats for Jesus. Passion for those with disabilities, bringing honor, value and raising awareness of God’s intent and purposes for EVERY life. Blessed beyond imagination.

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