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First Global Conference for Special Needs Ministries
September 09, 2019

The 3rd Global Conference on Health & Lifestyle was held from July 9 to 13, 2019, at the Loma Linda Drayson Center in the United States. Around 500 people from 106 countries gathered together to reemphasize the significance of the health message granted to the last remnant church, which is deeply related to the Three Angels’ Messages, and to maximize comprehensive health ministries for sharing the everlasting gospel.

The main theme of the conference was “Our Mind and Our Body,” which underlines the critical relationship between the human mind and the human body. During the plenary session every morning, medical specialists explained how our mind and our body interact with each other. During the breakout session every afternoon, the attendees fanned out to different seminars. In relation to Special Needs Ministries, two seminars were held every afternoon: Deaf Ministries and Special Needs Ministries.

After the Global Conference on Health & Lifestyle, the first Global Conference for Special Needs Ministries was held at the Loma Linda Centennial Complex on July 14. About 150 people from the 13 Divisions attended this meeting to enhance and reinforce ministry for people with disabilities. During the opening worship, Elder Ted Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church, shared Paul the Apostle’s method in ministry, which is to go to people and to adapt to the new circumstances for effective ministries. His message was linked to the main theme of the first Global Conference for Special Needs Ministries, “Think Possibilities.”

Larry Evans, coordinator of the General Conference Special Needs Ministries, encouraged the participants to use “Possibility Ministries” instead of Special Needs Ministries from that moment on. From the Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD), Joo Minho Joo, Division director of  Special Needs Ministries; Hiroshi Yamaji, director at Japan Union Conference; Pastor Jung ChulMin, who is in charge of Seven Light Deaf Church; and four church members attended the conference. 

In the afternoon, attendees from the NSD had time to discuss how to develop Special Needs Ministries in the NSD. It was the common opinion that these ministries can only be developed if local church pastors recognize the significance of these ministries in their church and cooperate with their community. The meetings helped the participants realize the dire needs of Special Needs Ministries and its advancement.

The Special Needs Ministries covers several areas, such as the deaf, the blind, the physically handicapped, the mentally handicapped, orphans, widows, and caregivers. People who suffer from these disabilities are increasing at an alarming rate. We as God’s servants will take care of them with hands of mercy. 

Joo MinHo, NSD Special Needs Ministries Director