Although this story has been told in other places, it seems like it's time for a transparent update right here on the dogs' blog. Thanks for indulging me as I tell the story again... although, if you choose to slip away quietly, I won't notice.
Several years ago (like, maybe nine years?), I began writing a novel. Although I hadn't planned it, I'd already been toying around with part of what became the story line. One of the main characters happened to be visually impaired, and another character was recovering from an abusive relationship.
As work progressed on that first draft, I heard a preacher on the radio who had a ministry to people who are blind or visually impaired. It so happened that this pastor is also blind, and I immediately thought that would be the kind of professional I could approach to consult with about my fictional character. If anything were to come of my writing, and if the Lord were to bring someone like this across my path, then I'd better take the opportunity to check my work. If.
Several months later, preparing to travel to the Midwest for a convention, the Lord brought that pastor to mind again. My convention was to be in St. Louis, and the headquarters of that ministry was in St. Louis. Imagine that! A few emails brought me into contact with the Lutheran Blind Mission and Pastor Dave Andrus, and a couple more emails set up a meeting while I was in town. There were a number of small miracles, God-ordained details, that brought this about.
The more I heard about the peer-to-peer outreach and support modeled by the outreach centers of Blind Mission, the more impressed I was. Another ministry I'd been involved with used a similar model. One of the benefits I had seen again and again was that brand new leaders were trained in a "safe" environment where it was okay to make mistakes, okay to try new things, okay to find out what didn't work.
As near as I can recall without looking it up, that first contact was in the fall of 2001. Since then, it has been my privilege to learn more about Lutheran Blind Mission as I have participated in an outreach center and participated in three conferences. Those conferences were week-long immersions in blind culture. Amazing experiences. Affirming acceptance.
This weekend, I enjoyed being able to witness Pastor Dave presenting the vision of Blind Mission's outreach to people in my local area. It was good. I'm excited to see what God is preparing to do here.
And in the mean time, I'll keep writing.