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Retired Couple Ministers Throughout Africa

Mike and Marie Meaney of Bellevue, Washington, have a unique ministry in their retirement years.

After completing 40 years in their respective careers as caterer and teacher, they knew God wasn't through with them. Sensing God's direction, Marie, on her 60th birthday, flew to Lusaka, Zambia, Central Africa, to assess needs of teachers and students.

She returned home and began writing a curriculum for children at risk. She developed teacher-training seminars and raised money for African schools.

Mike, a double amputee, found his heart touched by the many disabled people he saw in Africa, where disabled people are often perceived as having little value and are cast off with minimal help from the government.

In response to the need they saw, Mike and Marie developed a non-profit ministry called Africa Village Classrooms. Their work grew to include evangelizing remote villages and the adopting of 50 orphans.

Mike is happy to say, "God took my feet and told me to go!" When he puts his arms around a little handicapped child, words are needless. He is in that moment the personification of Christ's love.

Mike and Marie are currently working in conjunction with a local church in Wamala, Uganda, where two classrooms have been built with a church alongside.

Seventeen AIDS orphans reside there. The school has 65 students. It is beautifully equipped with a Christ-centered curriculum that is heuristic in its approach to learning (learning by discovery, invention, creative thinking, as in "Eureka, I found it!").

Mike now serves on the National Council to the Disabled, a Ugandan government committee chartered with the task of improving the plight and status of disabled people.

Through the generosity of American Christians, wheelchairs, surgeries, and other helps are being provided. A school for the blind has been established in Wamala.

Mike and Marie joyfully watch God raise people up from the dirt to being able to walk or use a wheelchair.

For the future, they are planning a children's village that will include a guest house and dining area for teams who come to assist in ministry. Small homes for orphans will be built with a widow as the "house mama." A farm and vegetable garden, schools, and career development center will help the home become self-sustaining.

At age 67, the Meaney's say they are still having the time of their lives. Has it been difficult?

"Oh yes," they say, "but every difficulty is far outweighed by blessing. We know the source of our strength and resources. It is Acts 1:8. 'But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses …'"

Condensed from our sister publication Building Adult Ministries, © 2008 Christianity Today International. For more articles like this, visit Building Adult Ministries.

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