What comes to mind when you think of “the least of these”? The homeless? the hungry? the orphan? the poor? the widowed? What about our brothers and sisters around the globe who are mentally handicapped or are suffering from some sort of physical or mental disability?
During my two weeks in Las Vegas our teams had the amazing opportunity to serve alongside the staff and employees of Opportunity Village. “Opportunity Village is a not-for-profit organization that serves people within [the Las Vegas] community with significant intellectual disabilities, to improve their lives and the lives of their families.” They provide care and employment to special needs adults ages 22 years old and above. Opportunity Village gives its employees pride, purpose, and a paycheck, and restores their sense of value and worth. It is currently located only in Las Vegas, Nevada but they have four different campuses teeming with life and laughter that serve and provide jobs for thousands in their community.
Our Mission Discovery teams got to work alongside some of the most joyful people I have ever met in my life. Throughout our time there I heard our students say things like “I’ve never seen such pure joy and heard so much laughter!” Many also noted how loving and hospitable everyone at Opportunity Village was.
During our time there I came to the realization that these brothers and sisters, so full of life and love, are sometimes (if not often) forgotten. God has made each of us perfectly and uniquely in His image and I was reminded that we cannot underestimate what He is doing in people’s lives, especially those that may seem “different”. May we not forget about our brothers and sisters with disabilities and may we reach out to them as the hands and feet of Christ.