â€˜The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.â€™ (Proverbs 4:7)
Wisdom doesnâ€™t just mean knowledge; it means understanding the world in a new way. Itâ€™s more than just a collection of ideas and information. It makes a difference to how we live. As we see God bringing his wisdom to communities, it challenges fear, prejudice and harmful cultural beliefs. Because of this, the ways in which those communities treat their children change, and the childrenâ€™s lives are transformed. This is why weâ€™ve made it a key element of our strategy to address attitudes and beliefs.
Last month, we saw a vivid example of this at a training workshop in Rwanda, facilitated by our Director, Susie, and organised by our local partner, APRECOM. The workshop focused on disability and the importance of including and empowering disabled people, within churches. The beginning of the two-day workshop felt like tough going, probably because most of the delegates had received no input on this issue before despite, in some cases, serving as church leaders for decades.
But during the course of the workshop, there was a dramatic transformation in the delegatesâ€™ attitudes. Midway through, one participant commented: â€˜What have I been doing all this time? My ministry has been about having big crusades, when these are the ones who most need love and help.â€™
Another confessed: â€˜I just want to repent of the way that I have neglected these children. From now on I will be their champion.â€™
The workshop ended with the delegates drawing up plans for practical action, setting dates that they will begin the activities and citing who will be involved. Several committed to going through their villages to identify homes where there are disabled children, and to build friendships with them and their parents.
Weâ€™re so grateful to God for touching hearts and minds so powerfully, and for the real difference he has made possible, through that. We pray for more of the same and, of course, weâ€™re also open to receiving more wisdom from God, ourselves â€“ we want our own hearts and minds to change too!