A dynamic one-week convention organized recently by the Special Need Ministries department of the Rwanda Union Mission resulted in the baptism of 90 people. The event took place in the city of Kigali from August 6-12, and was attended by 171 participants from across the church region. Of them, 154 attendees were people with special needs.
“This convention was organized in a bid to bring hope to this group, which has long been despised in some communities,” said Coordinator of Special Needs Ministry (SNM) Elie Hakizimana. Accordingly, meetings were held under the theme “Living in Full Hope.”
In a live radio program aired on Voice of Hope Radio before the event, Hakizimana explained that the mindset of church members and leaders has changed regarding ministering to people with special needs.
“A proof of this is that some churches now have Sabbath sign language interpreters to translate the message of the Bible to people who cannot hear the message audibly,” he said. “Moreover, some church members are learning sign language so that they may be able to communicate the message of hope to people who cannot hear.”
On the closing day, many church leaders and government officials attended the event and commended the Seventh-day Adventist Church for having thought about this particular group so they can also access the preaching of scripture.
Honorable Rusiha Gaston, a member of Parliament who was a special guest of honor and who also lives with a special need, commended the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Rwanda for its initiative. “[I congratulate you] for this gathering of people with special needs, so they can be reminded of their worth before our Creator,” she said.
At the end of the convention, 100 wheelchairs were distributed to people with physical challenges, for a total value of 38,794,100 Rwandan Francs (more than US $45,000.) Also regular and Braille Bibles were distributed to people interested in reading the Bible, for a total value of 1,600,000 Rwandan Francs (nearly US$ 2,000.) Besides those items, each person attending the event received a free copy of Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White’s book The Great Controversy.