Ambassador Highlight: 29 Wheelchairs, 2 Six Graders and 1 Amazing Church

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I know we are just about to enter Spring, but this story from Christmas was just way to sweet to tell!

Thanks to sixth-graders Charise Mitson and Kendra Wickham of Boise, Idaho, 29 people will receive a new wheelchair of their very own!

These two enterprising young ladies hosted a Free Wheelchair Mission display at Ustick Baptist Church for four Sundays preceding Christmas. Their credibility as short-term missionaries and creativity prompted the congregation to buy FWM Christmas gift cards. One donor was so inspired that he offered to match $1,000 of the donations made! The girls met the match in the final hours of their campaign on Dec. 22.

For their display, the girls purchased a Christmas tree, decorations and a special touch — a toy wheelchair and a cast for Charise’s teddy bear. The stuffed animal helped to draw kids to the display (along with their adults), Charise said. She took promoted the campaign with a photo of her display in the church newletter and made sure to include a reminder to donate in the Sunday bulletins.

The girls learned about Free Wheelchair Mission when they attended Ustick Baptist’s ministry fair last March. They had just returned with their families from a mission trip to Belize and experienced first-hand how difficult it is to care for a family member who needs a wheelchair but doesn’t have one.

Kendra’s 10-year-old brother Spencer was among the 29-person Belize mission team. His rare neurological condition, hemimegalencephaly, affected his ability to walk. Though he has since had successful surgery on both of his feet, he needed to use a wheelchair when in Belize last spring.

On a visit to an orphanage, the team met a boy about Spencer’s age who was confined to a crib because he couldn’t walk. Spencer quickly connected with the boy and the attention Spencer gave him made him joyful, Kendra said.

When the team was ready to return to Boise, they decided to leave Spencer’s wheelchair behind for his new friend. They relied on loaned wheelchairs at the airports for Spencer until they came home and bought a new one.

At the ministry fair the girls were so excited to learn that Free Wheelchair Mission had distributed wheelchairs in Belize. They are planning more fundraising efforts and hope to reach a container goal with UstickBaptistChurch! With the help from an ongoing children’s ministry offering and annual vacation Bible school gifts, they are well on their way to their goal.

Thank you Charise and Kendra, for loving your neighbors who await mobility!

Give up to Give is here Tomorrow!


Join us over the next 40 days while we Give up to Give Mobility. We need your help! Check out these awesome video entries and then send us your own! We want to know what you want to give up to give a wheelchair!!

Click here to tell us what you are giving up to give and learn more about how you can get involved over the next 40 days.

Special Delivery: 2,530 Wheelchairs Arrived this Week!

Wheelchairs are flooding into ports all over the world! 2,530 wheelchairs arrived this week!! We have 880 that went to Peru, 550 that arrived in Honduras, 550 in the Philippines and 550 in Ecuador! WOW!! We love seeing numbers like this!

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!