Friday Story: Joy is Contagious

Greetings and Happy Friday!

In the last three weeks I have shared stories of Elida, Eugene, and Luong.  Three individuals who not only are featured on Free Wheelchair Mission’s Christmas cards this year, but also recipients of our wheelchairs who have overcome obstacles and remain happy and excited to have received a wheelchair that you provided for them.  This week, as we soar into Christmas, may you be blessed by the story of a young boy living in Uganda.


In spite of never being able to walk and his dependency on others, Waiswa never gave up on his desire to go to school. However, entering into his third year of school he was getting too heavy for his father to carry him. With the gift of mobility and seated in a new wheel­chair, Waiswa now has so many places he wants to go! He continues to attend school, is able to be outside among his friends, and even ventures into town on his own with fewer obstacles to over­come. Waiswa not only received the gift of mobility; he received the gift of life given through Jesus Christ. His joy is contagious!

305914_457591424298559_1752220561_nIsn’t it amazing that as we celebrate the birth of Jesus this week that Waiswa gave his life to the Lord because of the gift YOU gave to him?  That young boy accepted Christ because someone in America cared for him and showed him love by providing him a wheelchair – an aide he so desperately needed to make his life easier.

I am so blessed each day that friends like you give more than a gift – you give mobility!

Merry Christmas,


Friday Story: He Radiated Happiness

Greetings and happy Friday!

One of our 2013 Christmas cards features a lovely couple from Vietnam, Luong Chieu and his wife of over 60 years. I shared this man’s story with you in March of 2011, but with him being featured on one of this year’s cards I want to remind you of someone’s life you changed.

Luong is a husband, a father of 12, grandfather and great-grandfather of nearly 60! When we met him a few years ago he was 80 years young and full of happiness. He served in the South Vietnamese Army from 1959 to 1975, where he worked the Seabee base near Danang. He was one of the many who unfortunately got caught in the departure of our military and was sent to camps to help him to “rethink his beliefs of freedom from the communist government”. 

Three years prior to us meeting Luong, he suffered a stroke which left him with paralysis and unable to go outside. When he received his wheelchair he was overflowing with happiness! A huge, toothless grin was coupled with his arms waving around in excitement! He spoke of the places he could go and the things he could do with his gift of a GEN_2 wheelchair.


Despite his paralysis and a life that has seen challenges and war, Luong strives to be happy and see the good in what he has. Because of you, his good has increased with the gift of a wheelchair. As we come closer to the holidays, I thank you for stopping and keeping Free Wheelchair Mission in your thoughts. We truly could not lift lives without you –Thank you!

Merry Christmas,

Don Schoendorfer

Friday Story: No More Hiding for Elida

Happy Monday Everybody! We hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving Weekend. Although our Friday Story went out via email on Black Friday, we didn’t get to give it to you here on the blog until today. Enjoy!

In May 2013 we brought you a story about a fourteen year old girl living in rural Guatemala named Elida. We have chosen to highlight Elida on one of Free Wheelchair Mission’s Christmas Cards this year, so we decided it was important to share her story once again. Let her story remind you of how you have supported us this year to help provide individuals around the world receive the gift of a wheelchair.

Every morning, around 5AM, a rooster’s crowing is mixed with painful cries of a girl trying to get out of bed and walk. Elida, suffers from muscular dystrophy—if she takes more than two or three steps, she falls to the ground in pain. Her struggles have made her extremely self-conscious and when speaking with others she often hides her face and refuses to answer questions.

Her mother Faustina tells us that Hurricane Stan further complicated an already challenging situation. “We lost the house where we used to live when Hurricane Stan hit,” she explains, “[t]he river swept it away…The one who has suffered most is Elida, because I used to carry her to school, but now she’s too big and weighs too much…It’s too far to walk, so she’s resigned herself to staying shut up in the house.” While the Guatemalan government provided the family with a new home after the hurricane, it is deep in the rural heart of Guatemala. There is no public transportation there and it would easily take at least an hour to walk to the nearest highway. Elida wants desperately to walk, but when she tries she falls to the floor and is left in tears, “[w]hen her siblings see her like that,” Faustina says, “they draw near and play with her and she smiles, but it hurts my heart because after a while she tries again and falls.”


Elida spent all her days on the ground, drawing with her fingers in the mud. Scraped knees and bruised elbows were common side effects of her frequent falls and her obligation to crawl. The day Faustina saw her daughter placed in her new GEN_1 wheelchair, she rejoiced knowing, “never again will my daughter be thrown to the floor.” Elida searched for words to explain her joy and newfound gift of mobility. Her words were simple but deeply touching, “thank you, I was tired of writing in the mud.”


This holiday season you can help individuals like Elida gain a new sense of hope. We have three Christmas cards, two with Bible verses, which give the gift of mobility through their purchase. Whether you purchase a card or not, please know that I am blessed by each of you through your support, friendship and prayers. It is because of you that FWM is able to accomplish so much –thank you!


Don Schoendorfer

Monday Recap: Katlego’s New Wheels

As the first Friday Story of our 5th annual Matching Gift Challenge, I want to thank you for your passion and dedication to serving individuals around the globe. You have a unique opportunity at this time to transform two lives with the single gift of a wheelchair. Today I want to introduce to you one such individual that you have helped with your gift of a wheelchair.

Our partner in Botswana, World Community Counselling Centre, shared with us a story about a young man named Katlego. Although Katlego has a physical disability, his parents care for him deeply and wanted to replace an old, broken wheelchair he has had for many years. His old wheelchair was so worn out, it could no longer be used, but Katlego’s parents could not afford one. They felt helpless in trying to give their son the mobility aid that he so desperately needed. When they received their free wheelchair from Free Wheelchair Mission, the family all had huge smiles on their faces and thanked God for the organization and for the person who helped to make their dream come true.

Thank you- without you, Katlego would be on the ground and a burden to his family. With his new wheelchair, he is not a burden and he can rejoice in the Lord and your blessings upon him –thank you.

Words truly do not express my gratitude for you and your blessings – I rejoice in the Lord for you and your partnership – thank you!