“You are special and God loves you.”

That was the message from Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider to a congregation of children with special needs and their parents in Parow West this afternoon ahead of the Children’s Service in Lavistown. 

In his address, the Chief Apostle told the children: “I am thankful to meet you and just want to tell you that I love you, my dear children.”

“I know that many of you have many questions. As a child, you may ask why am I different? Why can I not do what others do? Many parents ask why? I must be honest, I don’t know the answer because we cannot understand God’s will and what he does. But there’s something I know, I know that God loves you and I am absolutely sure that God loves your children, dear parents, there’s no difference in His love, it’s with the same intensity.”

The Chief Apostle related an experience of a sister, who had two children with special needs.

“She had 2 children born blind and totally disabled, they couldn’t speak. But the relationship the mother had with her two boys was absolutely great. They could express their love in a special manner. I always admired this. That’s my wish for all of you. In your situation, have a special relationship with God. My wish is that you feel His love in a special manner. God loves you and He has ways to show you His love. You will experience it. That’s my promise. That’s the commitment of God.”

The Chief Apostle was accompanied by the District Apostle J Kriel and P Schulte of Australia, as well as the District Apostle Helpers A Mhango of Malawi, and P Mkhwanazi. 

Children with special needs together with their parents gathered at Parow West Congregation from as early as 1 pm to hear and see the Chief Apostle. 

Ryan Hendricks, of Ravensmead congregation, said if there was one thing he could tell the Chief Apostle after seeing him, it would be “thank you”.

“I couldn’t believe he was here in person. I was so excited. Thank you, Chief Apostle, for coming to us,” said Ryan. 

Noah Faulmann, 7, of Wavecrest congregation, is autistic. His father, Mark, said he has been counting down the days. “The whole family is excited that he could be here today. It means a lot to us and I know it does to him too.”

After addressing the group, the Chief Apostle greeted the children and made his way to a Lavistown congregation for the special service at 3 pm.