February 2020 newsletter
We continue to press forward in getting our work permits and residence visas. Because of the length of time that it is taking to jump through each hoop we have had to extend our stay in Kenya for another month, and it’s possible we may have to stay a third month. We are excited to return to our home base in Tanzania, but have to make sure that everything is in order before we will be allowed back in. Please continue to stand with us in prayer that we will soon be able to return to our home with work permits (and preferably residency visas also) in hand.
All three with Autism; two nonverbal. A Third World country with few supports.
Can you begin to imagine how overwhelming this could be?
In this area of Eastern Africa, disabilities are an extreme burden and considered shameful. They are thought to be a curse, a form of witchcraft, and the individuals are thought to be possessed by demons. While abortion is illegal here, it’s not uncommon for mothers to kill their babies born with disabilities after birth as they find the burden unbearable. In many other cases, they are hidden in a back room and not allowed to go to school (not that the opportunities for them to go to school are even readily available) or outside the house. There are virtually no supports for the families or individuals.
This family that we met, though, was different. This momma has been bold in publicly sharing her journey and tireless in her efforts to help her boys.
She was tired, though. Overwhelmed. Desperate. Particularly, she desired to be able to understand her two eight year old boys who remained nonverbal. What a blessing for April to be able to use her training and experience to offer Hope! It’s humbling to think of how life-changing this will be for everyone involved- the boys themselves, the family, the teachers and the community!
Within a few hours, we had discussed and decided to first focus on yes/ no because it opens up so much in possible communication. By being able to answer questions with yes/ no, a child can describe preferences, answer questions, and clearly express many of their wants and needs and can greatly reduce communication frustration. April did a little modeling and coaching, and their normal teacher soon took over. They were getting yes and some no’s to preference based questions some by that afternoon, and the family was training for carryover too in natural environments (at the pool; at dinner, etc.). So amazing! Plenty of work to go, but truly life changing progress already!
Next steps include working with them on a robust communication system that will help the boys expand their communication. They are so ready, and truly the ways that this has the potential to change lives for so many is mind blowing. We have big dreams to make an even bigger impact, and yet, we can’t deny the life and world changing impact that even this “small” step has and will continue to make.
While April worked with their team, our children played with the boys. We didn’t realize how impactful that would be either. After being away from our home base for a few weeks, our children were super thankful to have other children to play with (they miss this the most), but we didn’t realize what a ministry they had in that simple action. Their momma told April later that children never play with their boys. They have never been invited to a birthday party. She said that some of the parents on her street have actually beat her boys if they got to their house. It brought her to tears that our kids would play with hers, and in that they were a part of sharing Jesus’ Love to a family that desperately needed His Love and Hope.
About Jonathan & April Noah
Our vision is to Empower, Equip, Exhort, and Encourage the local people and ministries of Eastern Africa. So, as to become self-sustaining in order to further the kingdom of God, our heart is to see people be radically changed by the power of the gospel.