The challenges of caring for a child with special needs can be overwhelming. Care must be provided at all times.
Our son, Aaron, had cerebral palsy, and we took loving care of him for 27 years until he passed away in 2009. Our loss devastated us, and we searched for how to make sense of it. We knew God had a plan, we just didn’t understand it during that period.
We didn’t know what to do next, but from our personal experience, we always knew there needed to be some relief for the parents of children with special needs. While we were taking care of Aaron, we didn’t have any time to pursue this idea. But God started revealing His plan to us. A woman came up to us at church and said “The Lord is telling me that you have a dream. I don’t know what it is, but it’s time for you to pursue that dream.” Wow!
With that nudge, we started to investigate the possibility of providing a ministry dedicated to providing respite for parents and guardians who have children with special needs. So we started Aaron’s Staff in 2010.
Volunteers give their time to provide quality care for these children and their siblings while their parents take a Saturday night out for themselves. It’s open to anybody in the community, not just fellow Christians. And it’s not simply babysitting. The children take part in a program that includes arts & crafts, story time, music, recreation and movies, all of which is Christian-based. We minister to these kids.
But just as importantly, we minister to the parents. An overwhelming number of marriages where there is a child with special needs end up in divorce. There is so much stress and frustration with no time to communicate. Hopefully, we are giving these parents the time they need to recharge their batteries and talk with one another. So indirectly, we may be saving some marriages. Our ministry has now spread to three churches, and we stand in awe of where God has taken this little idea.