So, after training as a missionary, I went on a summer long trip to SE Asia. And though the cultural differences were staggering and the language barrier intense, the biggest issue I faced were the leaders from my own country!
If you have a disability and hang around, encounter or are a Christian, you either have or may experience certain intolerances. This is what I mean: statements such as “if you prayed harder you wouldn’t be blind anymore”, “you must not have enough faith because you still have Stargardt’s”, “have you repented of ALL your sins? Are you sure, becauseyou’re still disabled“, etc.
Well, this was the opinion of the trips’ leaders.
I had to hear this, and worse, every day of the trip. It was horrible! Imagine you are with people you’ve never met before going to a foreign country, third world country, and you have to defend yourself, your faith, your life, and your disability daily. Had I not gone through the training during the Spring, I don’t think I would’ve been able to take it.
I want to be clear, I am a Christian. I believe people can be healed and prayer is powerful. However, I also believe that we live in a fallen world and have to live with the consequences of sin. That doesn’t mean it is our sin, our parents’ sin, or any one person‘s particular sin. It is because there is sin in the world.
One of the major benefits in my personal life that resulted from this trip and my poor treatment was reconciling my faith and my disability. You see the leaders of this trip thought I didn’t have enough faith, as evidenced by my still having a visual impairment. I contend that it takes more faith to live with a disability AND understand that God is good!
If you are interested in learning more about my faith and disability journey, let me know. If I feel like I get enough interest, I will do my best to put more posts up regarding this topic. In the meantime, here are some of the verses that really helped me:
-Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26