Every day I do considerable walking around town. It amazes me how many handicapped kids I see being pushed in their wheel chairs or strollers by their mom or “tia” (auntie). Maybe it’s because there aren’t many options for these children. Maybe it’s because they do not have the resources to find a school or a rehab center.
I checked the stats, and there are 2,068,072 disabled people in Chile – the highest percent living in Santiago! According to the report, 69% have been diagnosed with some sort of disability and 75% have received some health assistance from the government.
However, only 2.9% have received any social attention and it is estimated that .3% have had some type of counseling. Even more shocking is that just 6,612 disabled people are being educated. That’s .32% (three HUNDREDTHS of one percent) of the handicapped population!!
I am suspecting that God has a plan for us as Lutheran missionaries in Santiago, Chile to reach these families. It seems to be more than a coincidence that our coworkers, Rev. Cristian & Ethel Rautenberg, have two handicapped boys. They are Argentine missionaries who have been serving in Chile for almost 15 years. The love and joy they show in their family is a strong witness to a life with Christ. My husband and I consider it a blessing to be in team ministry with them. Who knows what God can do with us in this city of 5 million people needing the Lord!
Would you pray that God would direct us to reach out socially, academically, and spiritually to these people? Pray that He leads us to just the right property to purchase for our ministry center. Pray that He continues to build His community of believers so that we can reach others – especially the physically and mentally handicapped – with the Good News of Jesus!