Ministering to People with Disabilities – ACAS Association

The ACAS organization, as the Association for Training Special Abilities is known, was founded with the desire to help both people with disabilities and their families. It all began after 1990 with the case of a small girl diagnosed with flaccid tetreplegia, a disease which affected her physical body.

Ligia Macelaru, president of ACAS:

“Her name is Raluca Popescu. She is well known. At the present she is a City Council member for the municipality of Timisoara. After her mother carried her in her arms for nine long years, without the aid of a wheel chair to transport her, I received the first shipment in which there were wheel chairs for children.”

Ligia’s relationship with this family revealed the problems which families of the disabled are faced with.

At present the support group includes more than 80 families.

Ligia Macelaru, president of ACAS:

?I’m so weighed down with the pain of these mothers and no one stops to listen to them or to offer them encouragement. Maybe I can’t help in any other way except to say: Look, each and every day I’m praying for you!”

During the time parents were participating in the group meetings it was necessary for someone to care for the children. This is how the team of volunteers had its beginning in 2006-2007.

Ligia Macelaru, president of ACAS:

“Let’s set up a group of volunteers to be with us in a side room to take care of the children. They can play games and do activities with them while the parents are together.”

Over time ACAS has developed one project after another, currently reaching 10 in number. One of the programs which is on-going is the distribution of mobility equipment.

Ligia Macelaru, president of ACAS:

“On average we help 40-50 people each month, which are new cases. We have only a minimum financial support base, not even enough to cover salaries.”

In 2015 a mechanic operator became a part of the team to do repairs, refurbishing and adjustment of the wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches.

Ligia Macelaru, president of ACAS:

“A decent salary would be $100.00 per week. Right now we have 2 options: he can work 2 weeks then wait until we receive more funds, or work a few hours at a time, off and on each week. But Petru told me, “No, I’ll work 2 weeks (a month) and….God is good!” This was his answer.”

Petru Stancu, operator mechanic, ACAS:

“I wasn’t really prepared to enter into this work which targets people with disabilites. I never had much contact with this category of people. It is a quite difficult for others to open their eyes to observe this part of society for which everyone has some level of hesitation.”

A special program directed to children with special needs is swimming.

Timea Somogyi, founding member/volunteer, ACAS:

“We have had, and presently have, children with Down’s Syndrome who started swimming here, participating in our courses. Some are already participants in the Paralympic games. We have children who simply came, and it’s a time for them to feel good and be pampered, and they learned to swim. We also have children with different types of diagnoses and swimming is a form of recuperation for them.”

Nela Julei:

“After two years I was able to convince my son to get into the water. Now Timothy is one of the children who goes to the Special Olympics and he has a lot of gold and silver medals… He’s a champion.”

Claudia Leuciuc:

“I’m Benjamin Leucic’s mother. He suffers from a mitochondrial disease which affects his muscles, practically his whole body, his speech, hands, legs are all affected. He moves with much difficulty, and swimming is good for him because it keeps his muscles from atrophying and it’s recommended by his doctors.”

Daniela Humă, founding member/volunteer, ACAS:

“I come weekly with our children to swim. They are pupils in the 7th grade and they are very, very happy that they can participate.”

Andreea Cretiu, volunteer, ACAS:

“My motivation is simply the joy we see that we are able to produce in these children who normally do not have many occaisions for such joy in their lives and in their schedules.”

Ligia Măcelaru, president of ACAS:

“I’m glad that God has helped us to realize such a beautiful project that was first opened in Timisoara at the suggestion of Timea. Over time probably more than 100 children have come and gone. I haven’t kept track of exactly how many children have swum in our program.”

Beyond their suffering, beyond the problems and all the support programs, is God’s promise of eternity.

Petru Stancu, operator mechanic, ACAS:

“When you see children who have problems, and all the elderly people who are so helpless, you can’t help but hope, you can’t help but believe, you can’t help but dream that there is a Heaven where there is no suffering and no pain. It’s something God promises us.”

About Samaritan’s Purse

Samaritan’s Purse is meeting the physical needs of victims of war, famine, natural disaster, poverty and disease with the aim of demonstrating God’s love and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. The aid and assistance are given without regard to the race, creed, gender, religion, or ethnicity of the beneficiaries.

About Franklin Graham

Franklin Graham is the oldest son of the late Ruth and Billy Graham. Like his father, Franklin Graham has devoted his life to proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He serves as President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Samaritan’s Purse. He has spent the past three decades spreading the Good News by holding evangelistic Festivals across the U.S. and around the world.

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