Training Pastors to Transform Communities
When Pastor Blessings Maganga saw Ethel in the marketplace of Malawi’s rural Thyolo district, like most people, the first thing he noticed was her clubfoot.
Ethel’s condition forced her to walk painfully on her ankles—and it prevented people from noticing other qualities like her gentle smile, her dignified poise, and her peaceful spirit. In countries where CURE serves, a disability is often seen as a shameful curse. And even within Christian communities, many lack the understanding that all children are a blessing from God.
But Pastor Blessings is part of a growing network of pastors trained by CURE to view disability through the lens of scripture. So, while he noticed Ethel’s clubfoot, he saw her as made in God’s image. Because of this, everything changed for Ethel.
Theology that Transforms
Blessings says that before he was trained by CURE—before he saw Ethel in the marketplace—when he saw a person with a disability, he “saw a curse.”
CURE’s Head of Spiritual Ministry, Earnest Kioko, notes that even within the church—called to be salt and light to the world—this thinking is pervasive. That’s why CURE’s mission to help kids heal begins outside the hospital walls and in the villages where they live. Your partnership sends ministry teams into communities to hold two- and three-day training sessions to equip pastors like Blessings through our Theology of Disability training. These leaders and their churches become strategic partners who help congregations love and care for the disabled community, undo the stigma associated with disability, and identify and refer children to CURE hospitals for treatment.
Blessings attended CURE Malawi’s first pastor training event in early 2022, along with 20 others. The training was held in tandem with a mobile clinic where CURE’s team and the trained pastors were able to refer 246 children for surgery and share the gospel with 1,319 others. That day, 606 people put new faith in Christ! Since 2022, CURE has trained 1,512 pastors and church leaders.
Pastor Blessings shares, “Through the training, I learned a lot. Today if I see a child with a disability, the first thing I think is, that’s God’s image.” So far, Pastor Blessings has referred more than 20 children with disabilities to CURE.
Ministry that Multiplies
Since 2022, more than 1,512 pastors have attended CURE’s Theology of Disability trainings across our hospital network. It’s a ministry that multiplies as they, in turn, share what they are learning with others. Maya Chirwa, who ministers to children at CURE Malawi, says, “Blessings has transformed many lives. He’s transformed himself first (through training). Then he is going to communities to transform others.”
When Pastor Blessings reached out to Ethel in the marketplace, she had given up hope of ever receiving corrective treatment for her clubfoot, going to school, or living out her God-given potential. All of that changed when he connected her with CURE Children’s Hospital of Malawi.
We know that many patients like Ethel come to CURE carrying heavy emotional burdens. So, in addition to providing life-changing medical care, as Ethel’s leg healed, she had opportunities to participate in Bible studies, worship with other patients, and receive counseling from the team at CURE.
Blessings, like all pastors who go through training, was encouraged to accompany Ethel to the hospital and be part of her ministry care. Pastors are trained to carry on this care once children return to their communities—helping them connect to a local church for ongoing discipleship. In this way, CURE is helping reach the unreached, as less than 10 percent of people with disabilities have heard the gospel message.
As Ethel’s leg heals after successful surgery, she tells us: “My heart is ready to shout hallelujah, Jesus, King of Glory! The joy of the Lord is my strength. I see God in all that is happening . . . and I thank God for Pastor Blessings who introduced us to CURE.”
All medical and ministry care is provided at no cost to children and their families, made possible by the generous support of CURE partners and donors.
Learn how CURE provides surgical care to children made vulnerable by their disabilities around the world.
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