As I reflect on Good Friday today, when many of us are staying home due to COVID-19, I think of a woman in South Africa named Rose.

A widow with no children, Rose has been living at a home for the elderly in Soweto Township, South Africa, for the past two years. On March 14th, she celebrated her 100th birthday!

Rose can no longer see or hear, nor can she stand or walk on her own. Her caregivers would have to carry her whenever she needed to move from place to place. This meant that Rose would spend much of her time at home, confined to her bed.

When our distribution partner, Network of Caring, brought Rose a new GEN_3 wheelchair, her caregivers were grateful—not just because it would help make their jobs easier, but because it would allow them to take Rose out and participate in more activities, like going outside to enjoy the warmth of the morning sun.

The Network of Caring team assembled Rose’s wheelchair outside, in the garden. When her caregivers lifted Rose into her new wheelchair, she asked one of them to get her handbag while the team adjusted the footrests to make sure she was comfortable.

Rose reached into her bag and pulled out a new pair of sunglasses that someone had given her. With a big, warm smile, she put them on for the very first time—she had been waiting for the perfect occasion to wear them.

New sunglasses to celebrate new beginnings with her new wheelchair.

Rose thanked the team, then held their hands and prayed in gratitude. Her caregivers said that Rose regularly prays three times a day: at 5:00 AM, noon, and 3:00 PM.

Seeing Rose’s picture fills me with hope: She might not be able to see the sun, but she knows it’s there because she can feel its warmth. She might not hear the birds singing in the garden, but she can breathe fresh air and feel the breeze against her skin. And though she might not need to wear new sunglasses, she chose to do so because she was celebrating a new life.

At times, it might feel like COVID-19 has cast a cloud that we can’t see through, but we can sense God’s presence and we know He’s there. We know we have hope. And like Rose, we can choose to celebrate the new life that God has made possible—not just on Easter, but every day that we’re given.

Good Friday might have been a day of darkness, but it was followed by the glorious Resurrection Sunday.

Thank you for helping to give the gift of mobility to individuals like Rose. We’re grateful for you, and we keep you in our prayers.

Have a blessed Passover and Easter,

Don Schoendorfer
Founder and President
Free Wheelchair Mission