Ability Ministry has a rich 30 plus year history in the field of disability ministry. Not many other organizations can say that they have been actively reaching people affected by disability for Jesus for nearly as long. Despite this the leadership of Ability Ministry felt that something was missing. That something was ministry beyond our borders. God was calling us to take our ministry to the world. This new international outreach would begin in Poland in partnership with Proem Ministries.
On Wednesday, May 29th Gary Spangler and Ryan Wolfe boarded a plane leaving for Warsaw.
Immediately after arrival Gary and Ryan headed to Proem Ministries campgrounds where they were hosting an event for their disability community. Proem Ministries is working at introducing themselves and gaining trust with their disability community. This free picnic for families included free giveaways, petting zoo, climbing wall, parachute activities, soccer game, cookout, a dance-off, and much more.
Proem Ministries is looking at following up on this great experience with holding their first ever Jesus Prom event on June 13th.
On Thursday, May 31st Ability Ministry was invited to Pastor’s Conference. There were leaders represented from 34 churches and 11 organizations from all over the country of Poland. During this conference, Ryan Wolfe was able to, through the help of an interpreter, facilitate of disability ministry training. Ryan opened the eyes of church leadership to what the Bible has to say about disability and started the conversation on what the church's role is in reaching the disability community for Christ. Many conversations followed with individual church leaders that were interested in reaching out to their communities. Ability Ministry looks forward to assisting these churches.
On Friday, June 1st Gary and Ryan boarded a train headed to Krakow, Poland.
In Krakow Gary and Ryan visited churches, synagogues, the Jewish Ghetto, Schindler’s Factory and more. There is so much history in Krakow to experience.
On Saturday, June 2nd Gary and Ryan took a tour bus to Auschwitz. Did you know that some of the first people that were killed at Auschwitz were people affected by disability? They were considered disposable because they were not believed to be able to contribute anything of value.
You can see the left behind prosthetics and adaptive equipment above. We pray for a day when disability doesn’t equal disposable, but rather indispensABLE (1 Corinthians 12:22). The horrors of Auschwitz will never leave Gary or Ryan. Pictures can never communicate what they experienced. It was possibly the closest thing to hell on earth that our world has ever experienced. May we learn from the mistakes of our past.
On Sunday, June 3rd Gary and Ryan attended a church gathering. This gathering took place at Proem Ministries camp. It was a special baptism Sunday where their two church plant locations came together for a service. The worship service opened with signing and a Kidstuf production. Following Kidstuf there was more praise and worship and a sermon. Before heading to the river for baptisms everyone participated in communion.
Following communion everyone was instructed to head down to the river for the 15 baptisms. Unfortunately, lightning, thunder, and a downpour moved into the area early. After waiting out the storm the baptisms were all celebrated by the church and a few kayakers passing by.
Monday, June 4th was a busy day for Gary and Ryan. In addition to catching a plane home they visited a church plant as well as a Day Center in town. Day Centers in Poland are very similar to Workshops and Adult Day Programs in America. Ability Ministry is looking forward to finding ways to creatively partner with these Day Centers in the future.
Following there visit with the Day Center they headed to the school run by Proem Ministries. After their lunch at the school it was time for the long journey home. It was very productive initial trip to Poland and the start of a fruitful relationship with Proem Ministries. Discussions are already being had about Ability Ministries next steps in Poland. We cannot wait to share some of these soon.
Jesus instructed his followers in Matthew 28:19 “go and make disciples of all nations.” Ability Ministry seeks to be obedient to the commands of Jesus and is overjoyed to take the good news of Jesus to the disability community of Poland and beyond.