“This is a sub-culture!”  the Family-Life Pastor, Milton Mazariogos, from Zion Christian Church in Palm Bay said to me.  “I had no idea that there are so many different kinds of disabilities, just within the mentally challenged community.” 

This is usually the reaction of an outsider who attends our weekly Special Gathering program, which is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  However, when there are 200 people gathered from Jacksonville to Port St. Lucie, you receive a substantially harder jolt of reality regarding the disabilities community. 

Pastor Milton had come to take care of one of our campers.  He and Mark had a wonderful time playing and laughing.  But the work was hard.  The pastor spared no energy, lifting and pushing from Friday afternoon to Monday morning. 

Mark and I are deeply grateful for his labor.  Once again my mind zoomed to a familiar place–educating the church to the the great spiritual need of mentally challenged people.  We bring our choir into churches but many of the people think we are only a choir.  We sometimes have people come to our program but they often think that we draw our members from a large institution somewhere in La La Land. 

Even though Camp Agape is only a small portion of what we do, it gives a great overview of the population that we serve.  Christie makes her bed and puts her teddy bear on top of the pillow.  Helen became the “unofficial” counselor for some of our younger women who were having boyfriend problems.  Eric came to camp to be a one-on-one attendant for Chris.  LeeAnne took it on herself to oversee the activities of Laura, who is an extremely capable young woman but exceptionally shy. 

Each person has a distinctive personality and their disability effects them in multiple different ways.  Yet, there is a common thread that binds them with all humankind.  They need a Savior.  Leading them to Jesus’ love is the easiest thing we do.  With the rejection and misunderstanding they have endured most of their lives, they leap at a forgiving and loving God who accepts us just as we are. 

Each of us are incomplete without the love of God.  Unlike many normal people, the mentally challenged community–by and large–understand that deficit.  During our Sunday evening chapel several people prayed for salvation. 

Would you commit to pray for them and for their faith journey?