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Special Needs Advisory in Romania

Special Needs Advisory in Romania

Participants of the Meeting

Bern, Switzerland, June 25, 2014 [Corrado Cozzi; CD-EUDNews]. For the first time on June 18th, the Seventh-day Adventist Inter-European Region (EUD) organized a Special Needs Advisory at the Adventist Seminary of Cernica, Romania.

July 04, 2014 | Corrado Cozzi, CD EUDNews

Bern, Switzerland, June 25, 2014 [Corrado Cozzi; CD-EUDNews]. For the first time on June 18th, the Seventh-day Adventist Inter-European Region (EUD) organized a Special Needs Advisory at the Adventist Seminary of Cernica, Romania.

The main reason for this advisory was to arouse more sympathy from the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist church, towards a presence of people with disabilities, with a large number now living in the European territory.

For some time the church has set up a Special Needs Ministry with the aim of developing a support system for those who live with a disability.

There were thirty representatives from six Unions present at the Advisory, the very first of its kind.

"We are here to listen, to learn, to live and to challenge," were part of the words of the introductory speech by Corrado Cozzi, EUD Communication Director and Deaf Liaison, "the challenge started by Jesus 2000 year ago, to give support and facilitate a normal life to whom life is not so normal anymore."

Larry Evans was the special guest at the Advisory. He is the Associated Stewardship Director and Liaison of Adventist Deaf Ministry International at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (GC).

"Our desire is for the Special Needs Ministry to bring a new sense of awareness and hope to both members and non-members, "said Larry Evans. By awareness, Larry meant a better understanding of those who have special needs and the desire to let them know that we sympathize and want to help them as we work “together" to reach out to all those with special needs.

“We also want to bring hope by providing the necessary assistance for them to receive the gospel message and also to let them know that they are part of our family,” said Larry Evans. With this introduction, Evans made it clear that the Special Needs Ministry stands for and focuses on “a statement about inclusivity, no one is to be left out. All are loved and valued and all are welcome.”

Along with Larry Evans, other speakers took part, Taida Lucia Rivero Herrera, secretary of the ASAE (Spanish Adventist Deaf Association); Rumyana Kamenska, blind Braille printing proofreader and writer; George Uba, Director of the Rise and Walk Global Mission project for the disabled.

“According to a study of the WHO (World Health Organization), there are about 1 out of 7 people who are disabled in the world today” affirmed Corrado Cozzi, “and only 2% are Christian. What a wonderful opportunity to share the message of hope for a better future for those who have this added burden.”

Taida Herrera's life struggle of being the daughter of deaf parents, enabled her to turn her experience into a quiet but significant ministry for these people. She was the inspiration of all members at the advisory.

"Her enthusiasm and passion in commitment to a mission to be accomplished at all costs, has given me courage and strength," said Daniele Benini, a representative of the italian Union.

“I was involved as a speaker for deaf people, presenting what I’m usually doing in my territory,” Said Taida Herrera, “But I was delighted to assist the rest of the advisory and to directly see how you are positively motivating the church to accomplish this mission for God. I was very impressed.”

Rumyana Kamenska's presentation was powerful, “blind from birth”.

She completed her secondary education for children with impaired vision, later received a Bulgarian Philology Degree at Sofia University.

Rumyana Kamenska highlighted the importance of preparing textbooks and magazines for the blind, especially for children, to support those who read with their fingers. Rumyana has published two poetry books - "Bread of Heaven" and "Difficult Knowledge".

The third section was offered by Pastor George Uba, founder of the Rise and Walk association in Romania, a group that brings together people with special needs and organizes weekends for them.

"The project" Rise and Walk" shows that even a pastor could direct his ministry and dedicate talents and gifts to the service of the Gospel in this area, and strengthen solidarity," said Daniele Benini.

On Saturday afternoon all the members of the Advisory were invited to visit the Rise and Walk center, it was crowded with people in wheel chairs, blind, lame, etc.

"I was particularly touched by the atmosphere in this place - authentic enthusiasm, passion, peace and love," said Corrado Cozzi.

After the visitors participated in a program directly presented by the disabled, George Uba shared his dream: to also take this project outside Romania.

The need is there, no doubt.

In conclusion, the advisory strongly recommended that the church appoint a coordinator to support and promote this Special Needs Ministry at all levels of the EUD Church structure.

pictures: 1. The Adventist Seminary of Cernica, Romania; 2. A blind participant; 3. A participant sitting on his wheelchair; 4. The presentation of Taida Lucia Rivero Herrera, secretary of the ASAE (Spanish Adventist Deaf Association); 5. Time for Committee;

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