Imagine having to rely on friends and family to carry you everywhere you go. Spending virtually all of your time in isolation, without the ability to engage in the world. Unfortunately, this is what happens to many throughout developing countries as their mobility impairment prevents them from connecting with the outside world. The World Health Organization estimates that 18 million people are currently in need of a wheelchair, which can cost a year’s wages in some areas. Meet one organization committed to providing wheelchairs and sharing the love of Christ through their mission work. “It’s about changing the hearts, minds, and lives of people. It’s about transforming societies, village by village, person by person.”
Wheels for the World is a program by Joni & Friends that collects, refurbishes, and distributes wheelchairs to needy individuals in developing nations as part of their ministry. What I particularly love about this Wheels for the World is that they set up permanent missions in these countries and tailor the wheelchairs to suit the terrain. Their ongoing presence in these communities is essential to making a lasting difference and making a real impact. Since 1994, over 63,000 wheelchairs have been distributed worldwide through their outreach efforts.
Our company owner, Randy, felt God calling for Lambert’s to get involved with this worthy program earlier this summer, so Randy got in touch with the local Joni & Friends chapter. Through much prayer and preparation, our company sponsored our ATP (Assistive Technology Professional) rehab specialist, Rusty, to participate in the Wheels for the World trip to Guatemala. Rusty’s professional expertise and spiritual desire to help others made him a perfect candidate, and he will oversee the process of fitting each person in an appropriate wheelchair.
Rusty flew out of Knoxville yesterday morning to begin what will be a great adventure. During the next 7 days, Rusty and 9 others in his group will travel to Guatemala City, Retalhuleu, Quetzaltenango, San Marcos, and Soloa as they touch the lives of over 200 adults and children by providing them wheelchairs and Bibles. Our company prayer group has been lifting Rusty’s group up each day, and Rusty’s wife says that so far he’s having a great time.
We’ll post an update on his travels once he returns to Tennessee, but in the meantime I hope you enjoy this video from a 2009 trip to Guatemala by Joni & Friends and Bethel Ministries International.
’09 JAF Trip
You can help by donating old wheelchairs and mobility equipment to your local Joni & Friends chapter. To learn more about ways you can get involved, visit the Wheels for the World site.
Gospel of Luke 14, “invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind and you will be blessed…make them come in so my house will be full.”