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I just spent the last week and a half in Kenya for Christian Reformed World Missions at the Theological Education in Africa conference. On Sunday, August 15, I preached in Machakos at the Africa Brotherhood Church Bomani (ABC Bomani), which ordained a Deaf pastor two months ago, Simon Njoroge Kamau, to lead their Deaf congregation of about 30 or 40 people. Pastor Kamau is also leading Bible studies and teaching other Deaf to become Bible study leaders. Sunday afternoon I toured their school for the Deaf and an agricultural project the church has started.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I led a three-session workshop. I asked a man who is blind, James, to attend my workshops, and to feel free to speak up which he was pleased to do and did well. At the Wednesday session, we also had Pastor Kamau and several members of congregation (all Deaf) at the workshop session. That was very helpful for all participants to hear from people who live with disabilities. The Deaf who were there also sang (signed in rhythm) at the morning and afternoon praise times of the TEA conference to the great blessing of all.

On Wednesday evening, before my final workshop session on Thursday, James and I processed the first two sessions. He said to me that participating in this workshop has changed his life, and he is convinced that it will change many other lives too. I take no credit for it; it's God's work. I just opened the opporutnity for participants to see some basic principles from God's word and to apply it to their own situations.

At my final session on Thursday, the discussion became more and more passionate. At one point, I said, "It seems that most of you have never had the opportunity to discuss this before. Is that correct?" And it was true. A little later, one of the pastors stood up and said with great passion, "Brothers and sisters, we must do something about this. The time to act is now." Everyone then applauded! (I have never seen that kind of passion at workshops in North America.) Another said, "We must not leave here and have this just be a lot of good ideas. We must put together our own action plans and put them into practice." After everyone left and the "theatre" where I was teaching was quiet, I stood and thanked God and asked his blessing on all who had attended the workshops, and on their churches. As I prayed, I was so full of emotion, I shed a few tears (very unusual for me). I encouraged them to use whatever materials I gave them and use them to teach others.

On Sunday, one of the participants at TEA who also attended my workshop, David Mwangi N. Kahoro, posted on Facebook, "Christian Reformed Church in North America - CRCNA: May God bless you for such wonderful ministry. Thanks to Dr. Mwaya kitavi for organising the T.E.A conference at st paul's university aj limuru kenya."

Items for prayer:

  • Praise God for the zeal among these African pastors and church leaders for the inclusion of people with disabilities in their churches.
  • Pray that God will give them the discipline to write and implement action plans, and that they will find many allies as they go about this work.
  • Pray that Christians throughout the world will capture this same passion for the church to become a more complete body of Christ, and that we will put that passion into action.

Here are some pictures.

I'm delighted for the privilege of participating in TEA and meeting many wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ who live and work in several countries in eastern Africa.


Nice one. Loved the graphic, although it confused me at first because Mr. Guillebeau uses "hustler" as a positive term meaning simply someone who combines work and talk well. I think of the word "hustler" as another name for a "con man."

Thanks Mark for sharing this. I can only imagine what it must be like to have our deaf brothers and sisters sing alongside us in a regular worship service! Come to think of it, why don't we have more deaf pastors around? It's probably just as easy for a signing translator to translate his signs into words for the rest of us!

The passion they have is heartwarming. Since this is the first time for most of them to discuss these issues, I can see why the passion is there.

Mark Stephenson on September 2, 2010

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Yes, why not a deaf pastor with the interpreter speaking the words for a hearing audience. Wouldn't that be great?!

I recently received this encouraging report from one pastor who attended the TEA conference at which I was priveleged to speak, and post it here with permission. The photos included in the report are not shown below. Mark Stephenson

Report on Ministry to people with Disabilities.

By Pr. Musoke John Paul. 

Our church is promise Faith Centre, It was started way back in 1993 as a home cell after having received God’s call of reaching to the unreached with the redeeming Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ

The organizations vision is to win the lost, disciple the responsive and equip Leaders for the ministry. The purpose of this church is to glorify the God of the Scriptures in promoting His worship, evangelism and edifying saints. To this end we are committed to proclaiming God's perfect Word  and His glorious Gospel of Grace in Jesus Christ throughout the world, and to defending the "faith once delivered unto the saints",

(Jude 3).

To reach our communities with the Love of Christ through charity work which includes caring for orphans, widows ,elderly,  disabled, disadvantaged and  people without hope in accordance to James1:27, Prov.19:17,Mathew 25:40.

In August 2010, we were invited by Dr. Mwaya Wa Kitavi in the TEA Conference in Lumuru Nairobi Kenya where we had different workshops. One of the workshops I joined was about ministry among disabled. We did not have the ministry to disabled in our church and I was touched to go back and start this ministry but I did not know where to start from. God had a plan for us to start this ministry. We have an institution which is near our church and there were six younger people who were deaf so God brought one to visit our church and the problem we had was communication until when one sister managed to communicate to them by writing on paper. That is when we recognized that God is calling us to serve Him in this ministry.

 Today we have a strong team of deaf brethrens who attend our church service and they go out to preach the Gospel to the deaf people who are in the community.

Our church seeks to:-

- engage believers in discovering ways to be hospitable and accessible to all people.

-Create relationships through which people living with disabilities become active church members and leaders.

-Foster increased awareness that people living with disabilities have gifts which they can contribute to the larger church.

The challenge is communication; we do not have interpreters or translators for these people and we still trust God for funds to sponsor some people who are ready to go for training as interpreters for the deaf because most times these people are left behind when there is no one to interpret for them.

Together we strive to transform the church into a physically and spiritually hospitable and accessible place for all people.

Annette Namatta is a disabled girl and an orphan staying with her mother .She was abandoned by all people. No school fees for her because they could see her as useless so according to what I received from TEA Conference  we had to start a ministry that could help such people in a hunting world. I was convicted to get her a wheel chair which she never dreamed to have and then afterwards we took her to school and her education is sponsored by our church. She is now a happy girl.

Christine too is deaf and many feared to take her to school with the fear that it is too hard to handle her in class and that she needed a trained teacher for sign language which is true but we have put her in class and she is trying. But now, she is happy to associate with other children being sponsored by our church to be at school.

Once more thank you for the invitation to last year’s TEA Conference for it opens our eyes to see all what God wants us to do. Glory be to God.

With love from,

Pastor Musoke John Paul


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