An Anchor for the Soul
Jorge’s* daughter has cerebral palsy, which affects her ability to move and care for herself. She is nonverbal and depends on her family for help with things such as moving, eating, and washing up.
“Disability brings many unique needs for families, including needs for rest and respite, spiritual care, and a loving community,” said Vinnie Adams, a Resonate Global Mission missionary who works with Tesoros de Dios.
Tesoros de Dios is a Resonate partner ministry in Nicaragua that serves individuals with disabilities and their families. Navigating daily life is challenging for many people with disabilities. In Nicaragua, it can be especially challenging because of limited transportation, accessibility, and resources. That’s why the ministry recently partnered with Joni and Friends, a Christian nonprofit focused on disability ministry, to host a retreat, free of cost, for families affected by disability.
The purpose of the retreat was to support and encourage families, to give them space for rest, and to remind them of the hope they have in Christ, said Adams.
God especially had that last part in mind for Jorge.
An Invitation for Rest
The staff invited Jorge, his wife, Maria, and their family to attend. Five days before the retreat, Maria called to say that Jorge couldn’t come. He needed to work.
It’s pretty common in Nicaragua for one or both of the parents in families to spend a lot of time working. While the staff was disappointed, they weren’t surprised. They asked if there was anything they could do to make it possible for Jorge to make it to the retreat, but Maria said it was unlikely. She and her children would come alone.
On the day of the retreat, Jorge showed up.
“I don’t think anyone really knew . . . the spiritual situation of the family. We were just glad he was there,” said Adams.
Discovering the Hope of Christ
Tesoros de Dios is a Christian ministry, but not necessarily everyone the ministry serves is a Christian. While Maria was a Christian, Jorge was not.
“When he came in, he was incredibly reserved—not much emotion exuding from his face,” said Adams.
But as the retreat’s activities unfolded, that changed.
“If you just walked into the retreat, you would experience an overwhelming spirit of joy that people had,” said Adams.
The retreat was full of activities for both children and adults. The families worshiped together, ate meals together, and played games together. Jorge was ministered to and cared for by the volunteers. As he connected with other families, he started smiling and laughing.
At one point, everyone split into small groups. As the pastor spoke about God providing hope and an anchor for the soul, he asked if there was anyone who had not yet placed their trust in the Lord—but wanted to.
Jorge raised his hand.
Ministry beyond the Retreat
The pastor prayed with Jorge as he chose to give his life to Christ. And over the next couple of days during the retreat, volunteers and new friends continued to encourage him. Adams and other Tesoros de Dios staff members are working to connect Jorge and his family with a church community that’s accessible for his daughter.
Adams and Tesoros de Dios staff are committed to walking alongside Jorge and his family as they grow in their relationship with Christ and navigate daily life with a disability. Adams asks for prayer for Jorge and his family—as well as for all the other families who participated in the retreat.
“Please ask God to continue ministering to these families who had this unique experience. We know what a retreat experience can do—it can be that mountaintop experience, but eventually it becomes just a nice memory,” said Adams. “Pray that the Holy Spirit, Tesoros, and the local church may be able to continue to minister to these families well.”
*Name changed to protect identity