Disabilities Are Not Barriers but Possibilities, Adventist Leader Says


Special Needs Ministries coordinator declares what makes a person valuable.

Recovering the dignity of every person is the focus and mission of Special Needs Ministries, plenary speaker Larry R. Evans told attendees of the 3rd Global Conference on Health and Lifestyle at Loma Linda University on Thursday morning, July 11, 2019. 

“We are a possibility ministry, not a disability ministry,” he said.

A first-time presenter at the international health conference, Special Needs Ministries was created on the heels of the 2015 General Conference session in San Antonio. Its mission is to equip and mobilize the Deaf, blind, orphans, and those with physical or mental limitations to serve God and their communities.

 “We’re to bring wholeness to all in a world that is broken,” Evans explained. 

Capable of Cruelty

Evans, assistant to the General Conference president for the ministry, emphasized the cruel and inhumane treatment of which people are capable. He cited an example from the Los Angeles Times in 1917, about a woman called Mother Hastings.

Hastings had crippled hands. She was told by authorities in Portland, Oregon, that she was “too terrible a sight for the children to see,” Evans said. “They paid her money to leave town.”

  • Larry Evans, assistant to the Adventist Church president for Special Needs Ministries, delivers a plenary presentation entitled, “The Ugly, the Good, and the Better: Recovering the Dignity and Possibility of Each Person,” during the 3rd Conference on Health and Lifestyle at Loma Linda University, California, United States, on July 11, 2019. [Photo: Adventist News Network]
  • Attendees of the 3rd Global Conference on Health and Lifestyle follow Larry Evans’s plenary session on Special Needs Ministries on July 11, 2019. Simultaneous interpretation was provided in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Korean, and other languages. [Photo: Adventist News Network]


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