In 2009, in a beach-house on Bainbridge Island, WA about nine women with a variety of levels of experience in Sierra Leone and/or with disability, gathered to discuss what it would look like to see the Kingdom of God brought to reality among women with disabilities in the small country of Sierra Leone. As we dug deeper, asked more questions and listened harder, what we discovered was: ostracism and isolation, deeply-rooted beliefs about the origins of disability,
debilitating poverty, poor health and a seriously complex group of people. As we felt utterly overwhelmed by the needs of women affected by disability in Sierra Leone, we sought wisdom and the Lord answered: “…. my power is made perfect in your weakness.”
In 2016 we heard the same loving beckoning from the Lord as the Women of Hope team began to move forward in our vision to multiply impact among this highly vulnerable and extremely unreached population that permeates every culture. We know that approximately 15% of the world has a disability of some kind, and about 80% of those individuals are found within the developing world due to a lack of health infrastructure, preventative care and education.
“…. But we don’t have a lot of people with disabilities where we are.” This is a common statement we hear from many people serving in the developing world. Women of Hope President and CEO, Kim Kargbo, and myself attend missions’ conferences conducting seminars on disability ministry and throughout the years, we have seen a definitive lack of representation for those working to reach people with disabilities. In our conversations with other global ministry and development workers, the one question we always leave asking is: Where are all the people with disabilities if what they are reporting is true? The answer that we have found is multifaceted, and yet the conclusion we have come to is...they…are…hidden.
After much prayer and planning, the team decided the most effective way to multiply Women of Hope International’s impact was to create a training and consulting ministry arm dedicated to helping existing ministries better prepare their leaders to embrace Jesus’ approach to disability; learning how to reach and incorporate people with disabilities into their communities and churches. We are calling this new ministry branch: Equip. (Watch a brief video for more information)
- Equip is a training team of Women of Hope Ambassadors trained to conduct (specially designed) workshops, domestically and internationally, for churches and ministries desiring to reach those with disabilities in their community more effectively.
- Equip walks alongside churches and ministries with consulting services to assist in contextualizing a disability ministry that will fit the needs and resources of a specific community and setting.
- Along with the “Theology of Disability” workshop, Equip offers other resources designed to empower ministry leaders to equip the global church in fulfilling the Biblical mandate to make disciples of people with disabilities, giving them a place to serve in the Body of Christ.
We can’t accomplish this God-sized mission on our own. We are honored to partner with people like you in making this work possible. Do you know a church or ministry working in the developing world that would benefit from Equip? Contact us. Become a part of this vital ministry by financially partnering with us to provide these trainings and resources around the world! Click here for more information.