For more than four years, Jesus Cares Ministries (JCM), along with ministry partner Kingdom Workers, have worked to create a global disability ministry in Malawi, Africa, to share Jesus with individuals with disabilities and to educate parents and caregivers about how to improve the strength and physical health of children with special needs.
The ministry shares Jesus through the JCM simplified worship service, Worship at the Cross. Trained Malawian volunteers share the simplified service in their Chewa language. Volunteers travel to lead the services by using JCM materials in churches and villages in southern Malawi. The distances and modes of transportation vary.
Some locations are less than a mile away and easily walkable. Some other places require the volunteers to ride bicycles five miles away or more. Malawian volunteers saw a need to help with the physical challenges of individuals with special needs.
Thanks to TLHA’s friends, Dr. Amy Hewitt and Mikayla Mukongolwa from the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration visited Malawi to assess the country’s education programs and resources. Based on Dr. Hewitt and Mikayla’s findings, the Kingdom Workers expanded its local programming to include home-based care. Malawian volunteers were trained on simple physical therapy techniques.
JCM’s National Director, Pastor Joel Gaertner, visits Malawi annually to encourage, train, and support the ministry. In between visits, Pastor Joel remains in contact with Dan and Lianna Tyrrell, the current Kingdom Workers’ field managers who coordinate programs and train volunteers.
Most recently, Malawian pastors worked with JCM for instruction on having individuals with special needs confirmed and able to receive The Lord’s Supper.
Additional goals include:
1. Teaching future pastors at Lutheran Bible Institute in Lilongwe about how a disability ministry can fit into the Christian concept of compassion.
2. Partnering with the Central Africa Medical Mission on opportunities to include disability ministry into their programs.
3. Expanding the number of Worship at the Cross programs.