I had a conversation the other day with Vanessa that has stuck with me. She was talking about the other kids at her school, saying she was different than some of them. When asked what made her different she replies, “well I’m special.” “What makes you special? Do you know what it means to be special needs?” She smiles and joyfully responds, “well I can do things they cant do.”

Aint that the truth. She can pick up any beat from any song and dance around the front yard care free, singing at the top of her lungs. She can ask people questions most of us would find rude; she says things like they are. She can play on monkey bars and go down the kids slides at 8pm on the local playground, not giving a care that shes an 18 year old. She can make friends better than most people I know, unafraid to talk to people around her. She’s amazing with children and such a help when it comes to babysitting. And yet, by some she is looked down upon; her bad behaviors stick out and what she cant do outweighs what she can. She is seen as disabled, when in reality she is more able than most of us in ways that matter. I find myself easily slipping back into this mentality when we have a bad day, but God reminds me of the Truth.

What if she was treated the same as every other child by each person she encounters? What if she wasn’t spoken to as if she is three years old but rather treated with the dignity and respect she deserves? You see, we at Vanessa’s Village have this vision, a picture of what children like Vanessa can do when they are not held within the restraints the world puts on them. We see Vanessa being able to open the bakery she desire. We see her traveling, telling her story, helping at orphanages, teaching those around her to be free and to not conform to the patterns of this world.

With that said, it is our great delight to announce that Sean and I have been given the opportunity to lead a team of youth to Guatemala this coming January to work with a mission down there that brings hope to children as well as medical care to those who need it. We feel very led to take Vanessa along, broaden her view of the world, and reveal to her that God is greater than Philadelphia Pennsylvania. We just applied for a passport for Vanessa. Please pray with us that all clears and she is able to join the team. We are so excited to lead a team of youth, inviting them to join us in seeing God in a greater sense.

My times traveling overseas have opened my eyes to the glory of our Great God. Children like Vanessa sometimes have a greater ability to see God in things that I may miss. Vanessa’s joy is explainable some days, a joy only God can give. I am excited to see her joy increase as He is revealed in greater ways to her.

His joy is for you as well. He came to give life and life abundantly. His joy is for today. His joy is for you today. His grace is sufficient and His joy is abundant. Oh weary one, come to the alter and be filled. Be filled to overflowing.

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