When two pioneers were invited into a certain house in Kenya, they were surprised to see the slight figure of a man lying on a bed. He had a very small torso and short arms. As they shared with him God’s promise that “the lame one will climb up just as a stag does,” the man responded with a wide smile.—Isa. 35:6.
The pioneers learned that Onesmus, now in his late 30’s, was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease. His bones were extremely fragile—so much so that the slightest pressure caused them to break. Since there is no cure or effective treatment for the disease, Onesmus expected to spend the rest of his life in pain and confined to a wheelchair.
Onesmus accepted a personal Bible study. However, his mother objected to his attending Christian meetings, reasoning that this might cause him injury and additional pain. So the brothers recorded the meetings, and Onesmus listened to them at home. After studying for five months, Onesmus decided that he wanted to attend the meetings despite the risks.
Did attending Christian meetings add to Onesmus’ pain? The effect was the opposite. “My constant pain seemed to diminish during the meetings,” Onesmus recalls. He thought that his newfound hope was the reason he felt better. Onesmus’ mother observed the change in her son’s disposition and was so delighted that she too agreed to study the Bible. “Serving God is my son’s medicine,” she would say.
Before long, Onesmus became an unbaptized publisher. In time, he was baptized and now serves as a ministerial servant. Although he is not able to use his legs and one of his arms, Onesmus had the desire to do all he could in Jehovah’s service. He wanted to auxiliary pioneer but was reluctant to apply. Why? Because he knew that he would have to rely entirely on another person to push his wheelchair. When he expressed his concern to his fellow Christians, they promised to support him. This they did, helping Onesmus to auxiliary pioneer.
Onesmus’ desire to be a regular pioneer met with the same concern. At one point, however, the daily text provided the encouragement he needed. The text was Psalm 34:8: “Taste and see that Jehovah is good.” After meditating on that scripture, Onesmus decided to become a regular pioneer. He now preaches four days a week and has several Bible students who are making good spiritual progress. In 2010, he attended the Pioneer Service School. How delighted Onesmus was to have as his instructor one of the two brothers who initially called on him!
Onesmus’ parents have now passed away, but brothers and sisters in the congregation care for his daily needs. He is grateful for all the blessings he now enjoys, and he looks forward to the day when “no resident will say: ‘I am sick.’”—Isa. 33:24.