Gospel Impact through Special Needs Ministries
In a country in Central Asia, a center for young adults buzzes with joyful activity. 15 young men and women are occupied in productive crafts—sewing, making jewelry, repairing electronics. One cuts hair and does manicures. Some have found vocations, earning diplomas outside the center—in massage therapy, cooking and wood-burning.
It’s all a miracle—because these are young people with special needs. Born with disabilities, they were unwanted and abandoned to orphanages. As they grew older, they were deemed “idiots” with no future. Their fate was to be sent to an adult institution at age 17, where life expectancy is tragically short.
But their home now—the Transition Center—is different. Here the young people proudly display their work and eagerly talk about their dreams. “When they first arrived, they were afraid to make eye contact,” says Mark, who runs the center with his wife, Kelli (not their real names). “They had been conditioned that way. It’s beautiful now to see them look straight into your eyes.”
The work began when Kelli and some local Christian women taught classes at an orphanage in sewing, cooking and computers. The teenagers came alive as they discovered their uniqueness through the crafts. As they approached age 17, the youngsters wanted to keep learning and growing, so they prayed for a place where it could happen. When a building was donated, the Transition Center became an answer to their prayers.
“The caregivers from the Christian community have loved, taught and encouraged these young adults from the time they were five years old,” Mark says. That love makes a critical difference, he notes, because their greatest need isn’t for vocational training—it’s for socialization. Government monitors are astonished that the young people are so courteous and thoughtful and that they help those who are more seriously challenged. “We emphasize that their success isn’t because of education or programs,” Mark says. “Love—creative love—did it all.”
Right now, the Transition Center faces several challenges. Hostile local forces have sought to shut it down. Meanwhile, Mark and Kelli hope to start a small business where the young people can be employed once they transition into semi-independent living—but the country’s laws make this difficult. Please pray with us that God’s miraculous work through the Transition Center will continue. If you would like to help, use our secure donation form to donate. Thank you for helping to bring the Good News of Jesus’ love to a difficult region. It’s making all the difference to special needs children!