Zambia, Africa

ZAM13b - Bethesda Mercy Ministry: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: May 22, 2023

Report from BHW Zambia Partnership Facilitators Following Visit   

Unfortunately, the school was closed for the holidays and Peter Chila was away on a mission outreach, so we were unable to visit. However, we have been sent a report from Bethesda on what is happening with the school and include information from that.

Bethesda Mercy Ministries has a vision to see people with disabilities not just hearing the gospel, but welcomed into the Kingdom of God, belonging to a local church, and making an impact for Jesus in their communities. People with disabilities are stigmatised in the Zambian culture. Many people believe that if a child with a disability is born into a family, then that family have been cursed and that there are links with witchcraft. There is also a great lack of education about disabilities in Zambia. Therefore, people with a physical disability are believed to also lack academic potential and so parents tend not to send those children to school. For this reason, many children with disabilities do not have access to an education.

As another result of the stigma associated with these children, parents tend to hide them away out of sight, so they have no opportunities for social interaction. These children grow up with no self-worth, believing they are the lowest of society. Many parents would not take their disabled child to church, so the children also do not have the opportunity to hear the good news about Jesus – that he came to the earth to die for ALL people and that he has compassion for the poor and needy.

Recent Events


impacting livesBethesda School opened in 2013 and now has around 60 children enrolled, with a demand for many more. The children have a number of different disabilities including cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, visual impairments and epilepsy. The teachers strive to work with them at their developmental level, to challenge them to move forward in areas of development, education, social skills, and the skills they need for everyday life.

Bethesda Mercy Ministry believe that every child is made in the image of God and so their top priority is for these children to come to know Jesus and reflect the love of Jesus to others.


discipleshipSupport Groups

Discipleship is a priority for Bethesda, to see people affected by disabilities growing in their relationship with Jesus. A number of support groups take place weekly in the poorest communities around Kabwe. This can often be the only place where people with disabilities really feel like they belong. The groups have a focus not only on discipleship but also empowerment through skills training. This enables people with disabilities to support themselves financially. 



Bethesda recognises the importance of training to see transformed hearts in communities and churches as they begin to embrace people with disabilities with the love of Jesus. The Bethesda team are involved in training programmes for people affected by disabilities in in the communities we are working with around Kabwe. Bethesda also serves as a training platform for OM Mission Students as part of their preparation for wherever God is calling them to.  



lifechanging surgeryCommunity Outreaches

Bethesda organise outreaches to various communities where there is currently no provision for people with disabilities. The villages along the shorelines of Lake Tanganyika are one such area where people with disabilities are rejected from their families and their communities. Many children here have conditions which can be greatly improved with access to health services and even surgery.

Joyce (right) is one of the children Bethesda have been able to take for life-changing orthopaedic surgery at Beit Cure hospital in Lusaka. 


All Ability Sports Training

Sports, especially football, are very popular in Zambia and a great outreach tool to share very popularthe gospel. All-Ability Sports training focuses on training coaches to be able to teach sports to people with disabilities and in doing so provides a platform for sharing the good news of Jesus with them.

Through the sports groups there is opportunity for discipleship and empowering people with disabilities to use the giftings that God has given them.


dealing with stigmaInclusive Churches Training

The stigma in Zambia around disabilities even extends into the churches. Many churches are not currently welcoming people with disabilities into their church family and there is still a lot of fear about disabilities even amongst Christians. The Bethesda team use a programme called Transform Disabilities to train church leaders in disability awareness and equip them with tools they need to take the gospel to people affected by disability and to enable their churches to become inclusive.