Wheels in Poland
I have been involved with an organization called Joni and Friends. This organization was founded in 1978 by a young woman who sustained a spinal cord injury in a diving accident. This group ministers to people with disabilities both in the United States and abroad. One part of the work that they do is to deliver used and refurbished wheelchairs and other equipment such as walkers and canes to parts of the world where these items are difficult to obtain, if not impossible, without outside help.
I have been on three separate trips to Cuba and one trip to Peru as a seating specialist. It has been my responsibility to help each person to receive the wheelchair that they need. Many people come to us with difficult circumstances, crawling or being carried. Some have very little opportunity to leave their home or their bed because they have no means of getting out. One young mother described to me that she went to school with her child every day and held him on her lap so that he could learn. One man, in his 50's scooted in on his bottom. There are so many stories. Often family members, and the recipients cry tears of joy when they receive their gift of a wheelchair. In addition to the gift of a wheelchair, each person is cared for by team members from their country. They are offered the gift of a Bible and spiritual care and support. People and their families are touched by the gospel, and there are many who receive salvation.
I am currently planning a trip to Poland for June 8-21st, 2007. I am going with a small team of seating specialists, mechanics, and support persons to do deliveries of 400 wheelchairs in 8 different cities. Poland is a country with a struggling economy, and a health system that experiences many shortages in supply and personnel. I would be extremely grateful if you would pray for this trip- that God's will would be done, for spiritual, emotional and physical protection for the group, and most of all for the recipients- that they would come to know the love of Christ and be fit especially well for their new wheelchair. If you are interested in contributing to the cost of this trip (It will be around $3,000) you can make a check out to: Joni & Friends (put my name and Poland 2007 on the memo line).