This issue of response focuses on United Methodist Women’s 2014-2015 mission study on The Church and People with Disabilities. The study aims to build awareness about what it means to live with a disability and to promote justice for people who do this every day. Working on this issue has done exactly that for me. For example, this month’s feature on the link between poverty and disabilities made me think about my mom. I’m already older than my mother was when she had the stroke that disabled her and hastened her decease. We were not poor, but we were a working-class family, and so we went to the doctor when we got sick. My mother had no idea that she had high blood pressure before that stroke. This article made me more aware of the importance of good, prevention-oriented health education and medical care, something that’s inaccessible for too many in the world.
Similarly, “A Matter of Justice,” page 33, made me think of my dad, a Korean War vet who, at 86, is now legally blind. I’m my father’s primary caregiver, and we recently toured a day program for persons who have vision impairment. On the day of our tour, a Q & A with a local politician was a part of the center’s activities. The participants let her have it. They wanted a law to ban noisy trucks from parking near street crossings because they drowned out the audio signals from traffic light poles that let them know when it was safe to proceed. I hadn’t even noticed that traffic lights had an audio component. They wanted police to enforce pedestrian crosswalk lines because cars violating these forced them to navigate oncoming traffic that they could not see. When the politician agreed, they said, “We want that now.” The audience was bold and insistent that their rights as full members of society be upheld. United Methodist Women studies expand our concepts of mission as they make us cognizant of life realities that differ from our own. Read this issue of response and be sure to sign up for a Mission u.