The Assemblies of God has had a National Center for the Blind since
1994. The center provides services to the blind and visually impaired
and will provide additional assistance when funds become available.
Currently, the National Center for the Blind has a cassette- and
book-lending library. The center has developed Berean University courses,
Assemblies of God periodicals, tracts and other evangelistic materials,
some on cassette, some in braille.
There are two employees in the National Center for the Blind and
three regular volunteers. Another 80 people from around the country
read books recorded on to tapes.
There are about 4.5 million blind and visually impaired people in
the United States. Of those, 1.3 million are legally blind, including
me. I have been legally blind defined as having 20/200 vision
or a visual field of 20 degrees or less since birth due to
an inherited condition.
People who are blind worship in many Assemblies of God churches.
Slightly more than 1 percent of blind people in America use a white
cane or guide dog.
The center would like to boost its childrens collection. Sighted
children have so many Christian materials available to them; children
who are blind have very little. There are more than 55,000 blind children
in this country.
Technology is available to do so much more. Assistive technologies
are being developed that will allow the visually impaired to read
a computer screen by way of synthesized speech or braille output devices.
People who are blind can live fruitful lives. Almost half of visually
impaired adults and one-third of those who are legally blind
are employed in professions such as lawyers, physicians, nurses,
child-care workers and cosmetologists. Nearly a million visually impaired
people use computers.
People who are blind dont dwell continually on their lack of
sight. Most go about their daily routines in schools, workplaces and
Paul Weingartner, director, Assemblies of God National Center
for the Blind