USA (MNN) — A ministry that's reaching an unreached people group in the United States is having an impact on those living with them. Shepherds Ministries provides compassionate Christian care, vocational education and job opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities, helping them attain appropriate independence with fulfilling jobs and lives, while also providing for their spiritual development.
While reaching the developmentally disabled is their goal, president of Shepherds Ministries Dr. Bill Amstutz says they're also reaching out to their caregivers, whether they be parents, relatives or other guardians. Amstutz says a mother dying of cancer looking for a home for her son, Pau, is just one example of this.
"I had a call from a hospital. A caseworker was asking for an immediate placement of a person there. The mother was dying of cancer, and they needed an immediate placement."
Amstutz says the woman was religious, but she didn't have a relationship with Christ. As cancer patients sometimes do, she rallied, giving the Shepherds team a chance to minister to her as she visited her son. He says he met her one day in the hall. "She said, 'I came here for a home for my son Paul, but I'm leaving with two homes — a home for Paul and a home for me in heaven.'"
According to Amstutz, his team had done their work. "They had met with this lady and had the opportunity of fulfilling our purpose of leading this mother to the Lord."
While helping this "unreached" people group physically is important, that's not their main goal. "We are evangelistic in our thrust, and we're doing it through the local church. And so we're coming along side of the local church to help them with their outreach to this people group."
Amstutz tells us why he thinks the developmentally disabled are an unreached people group: "People groups are identified as having a common language and a common culture. But in a specialized sense, it seems to me that people with developmental disabilities qualify for this. Certainly they are marginalized by society."
Since reaching an unreached people group also is important to churches, Amstutz is encouraging churches to get involved. "There's a tremendous people group right here in the United States that might be across the street or around the corner from many churches."