Immersed in Jesus’ Love: Nolan in Community
The night before Tim and Laura Paauw received an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis for their three-year-old son, Nolan, they heard him say “I love you” for the first time. The Paauw’s were deeply moved by this expression from their non-verbal son. They believe the Holy Spirit was at work, equipping Nolan to express these meaningful words, especially in preparation for the doctors’ appointment the following day. When Nolan received an official diagnosis in 2013, Tim and Laura committed to ensuring that Nolan would know he was loved—by God, by his parents, and by others—regardless of the journey ahead.
When the Paauw’s made that commitment, they did not realize the unique challenges they would encounter to help Nolan understand and receive that love.
Tim and Laura desired for their twins, Nolan and Kathryn, to attend a Christian school together, but questioned whether a school could accommodate Nolan’s needs. Church participation was also difficult. Laura asked,
“How does Nolan fit into a mold that maybe isn’t the most accommodating for him at all times?”
The Paauw’s prayed about schooling options for their son and knew he needed to be included in a Christian community—not only for his benefit, but for the impact he would have on others.
“Nolan’s biggest and most special need is to know Jesus Christ, and we realized we could not teach him that on our own; it would take the entire community.”
“Sharing Jesus’ love was our priority, and we needed a Christian school that believed in inclusive education to make it happen,” shared Tim.
Thanks to the faithful support of All Belong donors, All Belong consultants came alongside the Paauw’s, West Side Christian School (Grand Rapids, MI), and Redeemer Orthodox Presbyterian Church (Ada, MI) to help Nolan experience God’s love within community. Tim and Laura credit All Belong’s energy behind their church, school, and family to help them discern ways to teach Nolan that Jesus loves him. As a result of your support, Tim proudly declares,
“Nolan is beginning to understand that Jesus loves him, and that is happening because he is immersed in a Circle of Friends (peers and adults) in every aspect of his life who show him he’s loved.”
Immersion in this loving community fills the Paauw’s with hope—hope for Nolan, Kathryn, and their youngest, Evan, who was recently diagnosed with ASD. Your faithful support of All Belong helped the Paauw’s experience Jesus’ love within community—and they could not be more grateful.
Passionate about inclusive education? Make a contribution to All Belong to help us create inclusive communities for persons of all abilities.
Katie Barkley is the director of marketing and communications at All Belong.