As we got off the bus at a home for mentally and physically challenged children in Copse, Jamaica, I didn’t expect to find a football player. While the teen choir and the other adult chaperones dispersed to find kids to hug, love, and play with, I came upon a young man named William.

I’m not sure what William’s medical diagnosis was, but he looked like he probably had cerebral palsy. I had grabbed a football before getting off the bus, so I tossed it gently to William, who dropped it.

But when I picked it up and put it into his hands, he slowly manipulated it until he had it just how he wanted it. Then, leaning back against a railing for balance, William tossed a perfect spiral. For the next 45 minutes, we played toss and catch—he tossed, I caught. William laughed and laughed—and stole my heart. On that day he had as much impact on me, I’m sure, as I did on him. He taught me that we are all needed as a part of Christ’s body, the church (1 Cor. 12:20-25).

People often dismiss others who are different from themselves. But it is the Williams of the world who teach us that joy can come when we accept others and respond in compassion. Is there a William in your world who needs you to be his buddy?