The Rwanda Union Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church offered 15 wheelchairs to people with disabilities, during a special awareness Sabbath organized by Adventist leaders and members in that African nation on May 5, 2018.
The theme of the day was “A person with a disability is of great value before God, as anyone else is.” The ceremony was held at Remera Seventh-day Adventist Church, in the East Central Rwanda Conference church region, based in the capital city of Kigali.
The State Minister in the Ministry of Local Government, Hassan Bahame, and a Member of Parliament, Gaston Rusiha, who represents people with disabilities in the Rwandan Parliament, attended the event with many other guests. All of them said they were impressed with the care the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Rwanda is giving people living with disabilities.
Rusiha said he was particularly touched with the special Sabbath the Adventist Church in Rwanda has put together for this group. “We, people with disabilities, are not used to be given such recognition in the house of God,” said Rusiha, who has a disability. “It is peculiar to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Rwanda. I wish other denominations copied this initiative.”
He concluded by requesting that the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Rwanda include people with disabilities in its structure of leadership because they are able. “Nothing for us without us,” Rusiha explained.
In his remarks, Rwanda Union Mission president Hesron Byilingiro reminded people that during His earthly ministry, Jesus had the habit of supporting everyone, including people with disabilities.
“Any Gospel which excludes weak people is incomplete,” said Byilingiro. He then appealed to all church members to have a heart of compassion and requested all local churches to have a department for Special Needs Ministries. “We want to help them to have a better life, and we will do more in the future,” he added.
During the awareness and celebration service, a choir of six deaf boys and girls from the Gatsata Seventh-day Adventist Church presented a song, using only sign language. The choir’s interpreter intimated that they were singing their hope to speak one day when Jesus returns. According to him, the lyrics of the chorus of the song said, “It is time for the King to come back and those who can’t speak will shout.”
Church members and visitors left impressed after seeing how talented people with disabilities are. More than one hundred people with disabilities were present at the Remera Church for the special awareness celebration.