Winter 2018

“If you make another sound, I will shove that ice cream cone down your throat!” These harsh words were directed at Jesse Beers, a teenager attending church camp. Jesse was in junior high at the time who lives with Tourette Syndrome (TS), a neurologic disease that manifests in tics—involuntary muscle movements, sounds, words, and even thoughts. While Jesse ate his ice cream, he kept having a noisy gag reflex that offended a nearby adult who shouted at him. Jesse tried to explain his disorder to no avail. He was quickly misjudged to be just a rude teen. This is a common experi- ence for Jesse who has been confronted in—and sometimes ejected from—stores, theaters, church events, school, and sports activities. Jesse is the son of Jerome and Julie Beers. In the past Jerome has been called to Jesse’s school several times a week to comfort, calm, or take Jesse home. The Beers grew into understanding TS by participating in special learning events with other families whose children have TS. To help Jesse, Julie received special training and has developed individualized training plans for him and other students with TS. During a winter retreat, Jesse ‘had it out’ with God. He laid on his face, wept, yelled, pounded the floor, and eventually surrendered his TS to Jesus. A new peace and power has filled his life. While he faces struggles still, Jesse now lives with TS rather than fighting it. He has em- braced his identity in Christ, his disability, and his calling. These events the Beers built into Disabled by Love, a non-profit ministry they lead which serves individuals who have TS, autism, at- tention deficit disorder, and similar neurologic dysfunctions. Because of their first-hand expe- rience and seeking the Lord, the Beers assist families, churches, educators, and pastors who want to care for and minister to similar children and families. Since forming Disabled by Love, Jerome and Julie travel through Pennsylvania and oth- er states to train school districts, doctors, and churches through conferences and one-on-one training. They apply many strategies and ther- apies to address these challenging neurologic disorders. Yet, it is Christ’s message and our identity in Him that is making the difference. Sharing their testimony of how God helped them through the learning process and to find hope in Christ enables them to carry the Gospel into unreached places. The Beers are leading Beers children in back row (left to right): Jesse, Josiah, Jael and Jerome. All attended OCU. Jael is a 2014 OCU graduate. by JEROME BEERS 8 | WINTER 2018 ON A MISSION