Larry R Evans, DMin
Assistant to the President
Special Needs Ministries
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Welcome to what we believe is a life-changing ministry! Sometimes referred to as “Special Needs Ministries,” our new name is more descriptive. We are now “Adventist Possibility Ministries.” We invite you to browse through the different pages of this resource center. The theme of this ministry says it well: “All are gifted, needed and treasured!”
For decades, those who have not been able to see, hear, walk or communicate like the majority have often been referred to as being “disabled.” While it is important to recognize one’s limitations, being identified in this way can have a demoralizing effect on the person’s own self-perception. Far too often attention is given to what a person cannot do rather than the possibilities that lie before her or him. Perceptions change when the positives of each person are given priority. This can be seen in at least three ways:
First, the value and significance of each person is emphasized. In God’s sight, each person has a purpose. Each person is special. God has a plan for every individual (Jeremiah 29:11). As a result, thinking changes. With God at the center and not one’s disabilities, hope is revived. Life becomes more about possibilities than impossibilities.
Two are better than one,
Secondly, others see those with “disabilities” differently. A few decades ago an important life-changing principle was stated about our role this way: “If we wish to do good to souls, our success with these souls will be in proportion to their belief in our belief in, and appreciation of, them.”1 Whatever the challenge, we should have more engaging conversations about what is possible. The power of motivation comes because someone believes in them!
Thirdly, to speak of others as being “disabled” suggests that others don’t have any disabling weaknesses. This simply is not true. All are all broken in some way. All are in need of wholeness. While Adventist Possibility Ministries does focus on specific areas of concern, it does so by recognizing that all face challenges in life. No one should ever be left to face life’s difficulties alone. We need each other. This principle is made clear in Ecclesiastes 4:9,10,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
Two are better than one,
This is a ministry about caring and inclusiveness. It involves education, acceptance and the development of plans that will help bring about opportunities for each person. It is a ministry that calls all to a life of service.
at the Italian Adventist University Villa Aurora in Florence, Italy
1 White, Ellen G., Fundamentals of Christian Education, p.281.