March 30, 2012 Friday Story

From Darkness to Light

From Darkness to Light

March 30, 2012

Greetings and happy Friday!

In many of our stories we talk about how people who are disabled in the developing world are often left alone and in the dark - isolated from the outside world because there is simply no way for their families or caretakers to take them there. Today’s Friday Story goes even deeper.

Meet Kayla from the Philippines. Kayla has never actually seen the world around her - she was born blind and is unable to walk. Her mother, Mary Ann, is her full time caretaker. Kayla does have very keen hearing and uses it to explore the world around her. Just calling her name can give her a broad smile. But mobility was still an issue, as is so often the case, because as she got bigger it became more difficult to carry her places.

And then you came along. With the gift of a wheelchair, Kayla’s world was made so much bigger, so much more vibrant. She is able to go out with her family now and get from place to place with much more ease than ever before. On top of that, just the feeling of riding in her wheelchair makes her completely elated.

I hope this story has brightened your day as we get ready to wrap up another week. Thank you so much for your continued support of Free Wheelchair Mission: our Big Push is well underway and you have been phenomenal in your response!

God Bless, Don

What's been happening?
  • 550 wheelchairs arrived in Indonesia
  • 1100 wheelchairs arrived in the Philippines
  • 1100 wheelchairs arrived in Angola
  • The BIG PUSH is up to 6,124 wheelchairs - over half of our goal!


  • March 23, 2012 Friday Story

    Meet Daniela

    Meet Daniela

    March 23, 2012

    Greetings Supporter, and happy Friday!

    Daniela Before & AfterHigh in the Orizaba mountains of Mexico sits a small town, Zongolica, with a population of roughly 25,000 people. Towering 18,500 feet over the valley, Zongolica sits near the summit of the dormant Pico de Orizaba (or Citlaltepetl) volcano, the third tallest mountain in North America. This is Daniela’s home.

    The weather in Zongolica is chilly and rains 200 days a year. Without much infrastructure to support ease of movement, getting around from day to day is difficult.

    As a child Daniela fell ill. The illness stunted her growth and did not allow her legs to develop properly. Walking was out of the question, but she was able to crawl and could at least move herself around the house. Too heavy for her parents to lift , it was difficult for her to accompany them when they went out.

    Through our distribution partner, Operation Blessing, Daniela was given a wheelchair. "I was very, very happy that I could go out into the streets," she said, "I had never been able to leave home without the help of my parents." Now that Daniela has her wheelchair, she is able to connect with others around the city, rejoining the community.

    We want to finish strong as our Big Push heads into its last few days. Lend a hand and join us!

    God bless,

    Don

    What's been happening?
    • 550 wheelchairs arrived for Uganda
    • 550 wheelchairs arrived for Tanzania
    • 550 wheelchairs arrived for Zambia
    • 550 wheelchairs arrived for Ecuador
    • The BIG PUSH is up to 6,124 wheelchairs - over half of our goal!


    March 16, 2012 Friday Story

    A Plea to Carry On

    A Plea to Carry On

    March 16, 2012

    Greetings and happy Friday!

    Kátia is 24 years old and was born in Luanda, Angola. She is currently a senior at one of the technical schools in Luanda. For her entire life she has had to struggle with a congenital disorder that left her disabled and unable to walk. She writes:

    To reach where I am, it was with much effort and dedication, for I face many challenges in regard to transportation, especially on the way to school…Because my parents are poor, they do not have enough money to acquire a wheelchair for me because it costs between US$450 and US$500 to buy one.

    In March of this year, thanks to the true God, I had the privilege of unexpectedly benefiting from a wheelchair from ANAEIM…I am very grateful to all of you who have voluntarily and unselfishly dedicated yourselves to help all who need your kindness and generosity in getting wheelchairs.

    I beg you not to stop distributing wheelchairs after the first beneficiaries…there are people who desperately need them and deserve them.

    I thank, from the bottom of my heart, all those who have been dedicatedly and voluntarily collaborating in this noble project, "WHEELS OF HOPE".

    May God continue blessing your inestimable efforts.

    God Bless,

    Don

    What's been happening?
    • 550 wheelchairs arrived for Vietnam
    • 1650 wheelchairs arrived for China
    • The Big Push continues to go strong. 16 days in and we’ve raised 3,559 wheelchairs. Thank you for your continued support!


    March 9, 2012 Friday Story

    A Soldier's Next Battle

    A Soldier's Next Battle

    March 9, 2012

    Greetings and happy Friday!

    This is Ba Them, 47 years old. He is nine months into a new life with his wheelchair and his dream job in Vietnam.
Ba Them served the army until 1980 when he stepped on a land mine; half of his right leg was gone and his left was paralyzed. Returning home was not easy. The young man, who had for so long been able to help his family, suddenly became a burden to them. He had to resign himself everyday to simply stay home doing odd jobs while helping his wife take care of the children—she would spend the day selling vegetables around town to raise an income for the family. For someone who had spent his life as a soldier, this was one of the most difficult battles he had to fight:

    "Before having the wheelchair my life was very difficult. I felt guilty for witnessing my wife work so hard from dawn till night to feed our big family. Nine months ago, hope returned back to me, I was gifted the wheelchair and got a job as a mechanic. Now every day, the wheelchair helps me get to work very conveniently… which brings me more than 2,000,000 dong (≈$96) for monthly income, enough to support my family. Thank you so much for your wonderful gift."  

    God Bless,

    Don

    What's been happening?
    • 1100 wheelchairs arrived in China
    • 550 wheelchairs arrived for Ghana
    • 1100 wheelchairs arrived for Vietnam


    March 2, 2012 Friday Story

    The Big Push

    The Big Push

    March 2, 2012

    Greetings and happy Friday!

    Esperanza is a 56-year-old Nicaraguan woman. She has suffered from diabetes for 18 years. Due to a lack of access to proper medicine and medical care, her left leg had to be amputated six years ago. Prior to the operation, she worked washing and ironing in private homes receiving a wage of $30 per month. While Esperanza now lives with her two sisters and daughter whom try to support her, their income alone simply isn’t enough.

    In 2011, Esperanza received a wheelchair and is now able to visit the doctor and her friends without assistance. Slowly but surely, she is regaining her independence. Though her surroundings are humble, her spirit is strong. With a renewed sense of purpose, she has rejoined the community enabling her to contribute and thrive.

    Esperanza, in English, means hope. Thank you for helping us reach more Esperanzas—thank you for helping to provide hope.

    Free Wheelchair Mission is excited to announce The Big Push. We are challenging ourselves to raise funds to ship 12,000 wheelchairs to nine countries on three continents where mobility is so desperately needed, including Esperanza's Nicaragua! Please join us!

    God bless,
    Don

    What's been happening?
    550 wheelchairs arrived in China


    February 24, 2012 Friday Story

    New Horizons in the Philippines

    New Horizons in the Philippines

    February 24, 2012

    Greetings and happy Friday!

    Dante Aguilar lives in the Philippines in the Guimba region. Originally from the Bicol province, he and his family migrated here because of volcanic eruptions in their region in the 1990s. Dante was born without lower limbs, and because of his condition he wrestles with feelings of inferiority. Here is a moving report about Dante from our distribution partner in the Philippines:

    “Dante’s parents are farm workers. Since they arrived in Guimba, Dante has not been able to see the beauty of a town or even the small village nearby. Our community invited him to the awarding ceremony of a wheelchair. This was the first time that he went out to town and entered a church. When we awarded the wheelchair to him, teary eyes and profound happiness were seen on his face. A big round of applause and cheering were heard from the churchgoers. Dante bowed his head and tears fell down his face.

    Dante’s life began to change. He can now go to the barrio even without an escort. Now he has friends, and he is developing self-esteem. Tomorrow Dante’s life will be better and full of hope because he feels the love of his benefactors that has brought him to a new horizon.”

    Thank you for giving Dante the gift of mobility. Thanks to partners like you, Dante is off the ground and looking at his new horizon!

    God bless,
    Don

    What's been happening?
    • 550 wheelchairs arrived in Vietam this week!


    February 17, 2012 Friday Story

    From Amazement and Wonder to Joy!

    From Amazement and Wonder to Joy!

    February 17, 2012

    Greetings and happy Friday!

    Ella lives in the mountains of Orizaba near the peak of the Orizaba volcano in an area called Zongolic. This region of Mexico is extremely cold and living conditions are rugged. She had a disease as a small child which caused her to completely lose the use of her legs. Ella crawls to get from place to place as she is too heavy for her parents to carry.

    Ella received a chair from our partners at Operation Blessing. She told them that she was “very, very happy” that she could now travel the streets of her community. Just look at these photos of Ella receiving her wheelchair as she goes from amazement and wonder to joy. Prior to receiving her wheelchair, she was never able to leave her home alone.

    Thank you to our partners at Operation Blessing for blessing Ella with the gift of mobility. Her smile says it all!

    God bless,
    Don

     
    What's been happening?
    • 550 wheelchairs arrived in Pakistan.


    February 10, 2012 Friday Story

    "Bwana Asifiwe!"

    “Bwana Asifiwe!”

    February 10, 2012

    Greetings and happy Friday!

    Today’s smile comes to us from Kenya, where a shoemaker radiates joy as he receives the gift of mobility.
    With upraised and outstretched arms, Peter Mulinge called out “Bwana Asifiwe!” (Swahili for “praise God”) in his heightened appreciation for the gift of a wheelchair from Free Wheelchair Mission. Peter, his face radiating with a seemingly perpetual smile, is a delightfully positive young man, father of 4 children, who is a shoemaker. He was stricken with polio as a child and has been consigned to sit on the ground and use his knuckles, hands and hips for mobility, as his legs are crippled and useless. With the gift of this wheelchair, he says he can now get to his shop without help and can help his wife with the children and he can get to church where he praises God every day. Peter held up his arms over his head to sing the praises of Free Wheelchair Mission and to God whom he feels sent the chair to him.

    The gift of mobility continues to change lives, families and communities every day. Thank you, Peter, for sharing your story and your contagious joy with us all. Bwana Asifiwe!

    God bless,

    Don

    What's been happening?
    • 1100 wheelchairs arrived in Vietnam
    • 1100 wheelchairs arrived in Haiti


    February 4, 2012 Friday Story

    Sri Lanka Gets a New Life

      Sri Lanka Gets New Life!

    February 4, 2012

    Greetings and happy Friday!

    Today I would like to share a touching story that comes to us all the way from Sri Lanka. Little Vanika was a Tsunami victim, and she has a lesson to teach with her smile…

    In order to oversee the distribution ceremony, we traveled to Mannar, the Northwest island of Sri Lanka. Although the journey was tiresome and risky, and the general advice given in this area was “do not travel unless very necessary!” we trudged on, knowing that we had a greater purpose. There was an ongoing threat of domestic terrorism and much of Sri Lanka remains mined with active bombs.

    When we finally arrived, we were greeted by the president of the Mannar Town Hall and the Bishop of a local church. There was a crowd of over 100 people waiting to receive their wheelchairs. The Bishop gave a short, but inspiring speech about Free Wheelchair Mission, and the ceremony began.

    Little Vanija, aged six at the time, came with her Mithali. They had moved to a refuge camp after the Tsunami because their village had been completely destroyed. Her husband, a carpenter, stayed behind to help rebuild their community, but the distance is putting a strain on their family, and one can see the desperation to reunite in both the mother and daughter’s eyes. Vanija has calipers, and cannot walk. Her mother had to carry the child from place to place, as she searched for any work to support and feed her family. It has become very difficult for Mithali, and her tired bones are becoming weaker everyday she must carry Vanija for hours at a time.

    The perfect smile that spread across Vanija’s face when her wheelchair was gifted to her needed no explanation; her mother danced and immediately began pushing her daughter around the grounds. A weight was lifted for both mother and daughter that day, and a step in the right direction was made through the gift of mobility.

    God Bless,
    Don

    What's been happening?
    • 550 wheelchairs arrived in Niger - Our first to this country!
    • 550 wheelchairs arrived in Honduras


    January 27, 2012 Friday Story

    Picking up in Peru

    Picking up in Peru

    January 27, 2012

    Greetings and happy Friday!

    Lorenzo and his wife EdnaEver notice how sometimes in life we are given a helping hand or a little push that we need, and we may not even realize it at the time? Such was the case for Lorenzo in Peru. He resides with his wife, Edna, and their small dog, in a one bedroom apartment in the city. Lorenzo is 64 years young and has been a laborer for almost 50 years of his life. He and his wife are very active in their community; they enjoy going to town meetings and getting together with locals to have a good meal.

    About three years ago, Edna began to notice how her husband began to walk down their stairs with a limp. A small grunt would exhale out of his mouth each time he landed on his left foot. She mentioned it to Lorenzo and he shrugged it off with a manly wave of his hand. You see, Lorenzo was developing rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, but he was not ready to acknowledge it.

    Finally, one day Edna and Lorenzo were at a local gathering and his knees began to act up. Fortunately, one of the guests that night was a doctor and he diagnosed his symptoms and told him to come see him right away. After the doctor made it official, Lorenzo was given crutches to get around because he could not afford a wheelchair and he could no longer work. “The crutches became very painful and difficult, my wife would try to help move me from place to place, but it was just too much for her, so I began to stay inside more and more.” The look on both Edna and Lorenzo’s face when he received his new wheelchair lit up the entire apartment. Edna began to cry, as she held her husband’s hand and repeated “My prayers have been answered…” Lorenzo rejoiced “Thanks to my wife for always noticing little things, to that doctor for not letting my problems go undiagnosed, and most of all, God for bringing me a way to get around!”

    One never knows when God is sending us angels to help us along, just ask Lorenzo…

    God Bless,

    Don

    What's been happening?
    • 1100 wheelchairs arrived in Chile
    • 1100 wheelchairs arrived in Peru
    • 550 wheelchairs arrived in Botswana


    January 20, 2012 Friday Story

    Wheeled Away in Malawi

    Wheeled Away in Malawi

    January 20, 2012

    Greetings and happy Friday!

    For today’s Friday story, we are traveling to discover how a tiny addition to the Kamuzu International Airport has made a giant impact. When we travel I bet we all take for granted that if we are with a loved one that is physically handicapped in some way, there will be a wheelchair waiting for them, once the plane lands, in order to transport them through the airport. In fact it is hard to imagine a disabled person arriving at an International airport only to find there to be no wheelchair to assist them to their next destination.

    Fortunately, this possibility was removed from the equation in Malawi, Central Africa with the donation of seven wheelchairs to the Airport Authority from the Malawi project, partnered with Free Wheelchair Mission. The operations manager of the airport proudly shakes hands with the Senior Human Recourses manager as they receive their brand new wheelchairs.

    The wheelchairs will be distributed to the three major airports in the area where the most flights in and out of the nation arrive. Now, when somebody needs assistance when they travel into Malawi and the surrounding airports, they will be greeted with mobility and a smile.

    God Bless,
    Don

    What's been happening?
    Let’s all send blessings to everyone leaving on our next mission trip to Belize coming up mid January. May many lives be lifted and safe travels be had by all.

     



    January 13, 2012 Friday Story

    Coming Together in Chile

    Coming Together in Chile

    January 13, 2012

    Greetings and happy Friday!

    As we enter the first few weeks of the New Year I am reminded of an inspiring story of a special family residing in Chile. Rita has suffered from artrogriposis since birth, which leaves her body unable to walk without crutches and only for short periods of time.

    We teamed up with some of our local police officer friends to help get her into a wheelchair, and when they brought the wheelchair to Rita, she was so happy she could not stop crying. Since Bruce, her husband can’t seem to find a steady job; he does whatever he can with minor jobs here and there to support his family. As a result, they can hardly afford rent - let alone a wheelchair.

    After many tears of joy, Rita hugged her son and proclaimed “Thank God that now I will be able to play with Bruce Jr.! We will do many activities together now.” Her husband explained how before she could never go outside with him and this wheelchair is going to forever alter their life and he is very grateful.

    As we left with the local police friends, we looked back and saw Rita, Bruce and Bruce Jr. immediately putting their newfound hope to use. They were all playing outside as a family, giggling and smiling with every move.

    Let 2012 remind us of how a simple gift of mobility can improve not only one person’s life-but an entire family!

    God Bless,

    Don

    What's been happening?
    • 550 wheelchairs arrived for Burundi - Our first to this country
    • 550 wheelchairs arrived for Rwanda
    • Be sure to check out a great music event! St. John’s Church, out of Orange County California, put together some fantastic groups that will be sure to perform an awesome concert. Bring the family, support Free Wheelchair Mission, and have a good time! The concert date is 1/28/12.


    January 6, 2012 Friday Story

    Grateful Words from Guadalupe

    Grateful Words from Guadalupe

    January 6, 2012

    Greetings and happy Friday!

    A large number of the wheelchairs go to Nicaragua, this story in particular stuck out as especially touching and memorable. Mrs. Guadalupe is 74 years old and has 12 children, two of which live with her.

    “Two of my daughters, who live with me, help me with everything: they bathe me, change me, cook and even make and sell nacatamales (steamed corncakes) so we can all subsist.” Now Mrs. Guadalupe is dealing with an injury from a second fall, and she broke her knee. Due to the lack of finances, she did not go to the hospital until 2 months after the fall, and by that time there was nothing the doctors could do.

    So when her wheelchair arrived, it was not only Mrs. Guadalupe that was relieved of a heavy burden, but her two daughters as well. The rejoiced and shared a meal of freshly made nacatamales with the crew. “I am very grateful for the wheelchair because now, most importantly, I will be able to go to church and the hospital, as well as move around the house. I have not been able to leave this room, I have no money, and so my daughters and I are always looking for ways to survive. My only income is that from selling nacatamales, and social security payments I receive. I thank God and Free Wheelchair Mission for helping me, God blesses you for performing these great acts.”

    And God Bless Guadalupe and her family, for allowing us to do God’s work through them….

    God Bless,

    Don

    What's been happening?

    • 550 wheelchairs were delivered to Belize
    • Join me in my resolution for 2012: to pray for all those using our wheelchairs that they continue to feel God’s love for them.  - Don
    Change a Life for $77.91