Dreams Coming True

Trinh is a go-getter. Though born with spina bifida and never able to walk, Trinh was always on the move. His crawling ultimately caused an ulcer on his left leg, and doctors had to amputate part of his leg in 2012.

FS Trinh Minh ChungShortly after his surgery our partner in Vietnam, Giving It Back to Kids (GIBTK), was able to give him a GEN_1 wheelchair. Trinh was on the move again.

And then, in 2014, GIBTK traded out his GEN_1 wheelchair for a GEN_3. He began going 500 meters each way to his uncle’s shop to learn electrical mechanics. He spends three hours each morning learning, then he heads home to prepare lunch for his family, and then he spends another two hours in the afternoon practicing in the shop.

When asked if the work and commuting two kilometers a day is tiring, Trinh said no. It is his passion to learn so that one day he can open his own business. He has a vision and a plan!

Trinh is one of many people seeing his dreams become reality through the simple gift of mobility. Thank you, our generous supporters, for being a part of life transformations!

Don Schoendorfer

Changing a Future Together

As a recent wheelchair distribution in China wrapped up, a thirteen-year-old boy in his new GEN_2 wheelchair seemed upset. One of our partners from Henan Disabled Person’s Federation (HDPF) went over to check on him, and his story spilled out.

Tao JingTao’s legs are paralyzed, and his father struggles to make ends meet. By the time Tao was in second grade, they could no longer afford to send him to school. Ever since Tao has been confined to their house. When his father heard about the chance to get a wheelchair they arrived early, and they were both thrilled to receive the wheelchair. Then Tao realized the wheelchair meant he could leave the house, but it didn’t mean he could return to school. His father felt guilty that he still couldn’t afford to give his son the education he wanted so badly.

Several HDPF leaders gathered, and they committed to pay Tao’s school tuition. They even asked Pastor Liu and his volunteers if they would be willing to push Tao in his wheelchair to and from school every day, and they agreed. Tao and his father were overwhelmed by the generosity of HDPF and the church.

In one day Tao received the gift of mobility and so much more—his entire future changed! As we supply wheelchairs, we also supply opportunities for communities to rally together and solve the greater issues around disability.

Thank you for your generosity that makes moments like these possible!

Don Schoendorfer

P.S. Will you join us in our month-long celebration of FWM’s 15th Anniversary and the legacy our supporters are creating and make FWM part of your legacy today?

From Exhaustion to Elation

Our partner in Burundi, Food for the Hungry (FH), sent us Abraham’s story. FH staff members regularly passed by Abraham sitting by the side of the road. That was his office where he fixed old shoes for people.

On the ground next to Abraham was a rudimentary wooden “bicycle” complete with hand-carved wooden wheels. Abraham sat on the bike and pushed himself with one hand to propel himself 1.5 km each way to and from his home to his place of business.

At 47 years old, Abraham is very familiar with disability. He has never walked, and despite the pain of riding his bike, it’s an improvement over the exhaustion of crawling.

When FH gave Abraham a GEN_2 wheelchair, he was ecstatic! Not only could he get to and from work without pain, he could work with much less fatigue seated in his wheelchair.

“I do not have the words to describe what I feel. Just imagine all those years I have spent on this piece of wood, and you will understand why I am so happy. Please tell the donors that I am very grateful!”

Thank you, our supporters, for your commitment to giving the gift of mobility to Abrahams all around the world. Together we are changing lives!

Don Schoendorfer

P.S. As we continue our month-long celebration of FWM’s 15th Anniversary and the legacy our supporters are creating. Will you make FWM part of your legacy today?

Not Forgotten

It can be easy to forget our recipients often face hardships beyond living with disability. A recent report from our partner Mission Eurasia reminds us of some day-to-day realities in Ukraine.

Despite the ceasefire declared in February 2015, people in eastern Ukraine continue to live in constant fear. People with disabilities face especially difficult challenges. Even in moments of great danger, such as bombings, they are unable to move quickly enough to reach their basements.

Some SWW students made several visits to Alexander, who lives in the heavily damaged village of Andreyevka. During their last visit, in addition to food and Scripture, they also brought him a desperately needed wheelchair. Alexander lost both of his legs due to an injury, his wife left him many years ago, and his retirement payments barely cover his medications and utilities.

FridayStory_040816Alexander has felt hopeless since the war began. During a recent shelling, he sat in his room and waited to die. “I will never forget the moment when I realized that the next missile could hit my home,” Alexander shares. “I was not afraid to die, because I didn’t care anymore. Thank you for visiting me, and for bringing me food and a wheelchair! Thank you also for the Bible. Now I will read it. Thank you for giving me hope, and for reminding me that I am not forgotten!

In the words of our partner, “Our wheelchair distribution efforts have helped us to gain considerable credibility among local churches in Ukraine and among refugees. Not only is this credibility allowing us to visit very difficult regions in the war zone, it is also allowing us to share the gospel with people who have never before heard it.”

I hope you find this report from Mission Eurasia as encouraging as we did. The effects of the gift of mobility continue to spread through the lives of the recipients and their communities!

Don Schoendorfer

P.S. Will you consider celebrating FWM’s 15th Anniversary and the legacy we are creating with our supporters by joining our Legacy Campaign today?

New Plans

Life sometimes has a way of turning out differently than we plan. Fred didn’t even consider his parents dying as soon as they did or that he would be involved in a motorcycle accident that would change his life.

After his parents died, Fred looked for a job to save money to put himself through school. And then at 21, he was in a motorcycle accident where his passenger was killed, and Fred sustained a serious spinal cord injury. After being comatose for months, he regained consciousness and was able to leave the hospital and move in with his older sister. Through all of this Fred chose to put his trust in God.

FridayStory_031616Our distribution partner in Uganda, Father’s Heart Mobility (FHM), met Fred when he was at his most hopeless. He spent his days reading his Bible at home and waiting for—but not expecting—a miracle. People had promised him wheelchairs before, so he didn’t believe FHM when they interviewed him and found him to be a good candidate to receive one in their next distribution.

Three years after his accident, Fred was ecstatic to receive his GEN_2 wheelchair. He learned how to get in and out of it himself so he could get around the house. He even built up the strength to wheel himself four kilometers to church and then home again.

A friend offered him a job as a shopkeeper complete with rides each day to and from work. But the GEN_2 wouldn’t fit in the car. Thankfully FHM had a few GEN_3 collapsible wheelchairs, and they were able to trade out his GEN_2 for a GEN_3!

Fred believes it was God’s divine plan that connected him with FHM and Free Wheelchair Mission. So many doors have opened for him already, and he trusts God will continue to provide for him.

Thank you for the role you play in providing the gift of mobility around the world to those who need it most.

Don Schoendorfer

One Miracle at a Time

There is such a great need for wheelchairs, and every recipient’s story is unique.

hernestinaIn a recent report from our distribution partner in Chile, Fundación FEDES, the breadth of the need was captured so well. Their recipients spanned a wide range in age, ability and disability. Some had lost limbs because of disease or accident. Some had chronic health issues that made walking impossible. Some had never had the ability to walk. Some found ways to work and go to school, while others were completely homebound and dependent on family or friends for all their needs.

One grateful recipient was Hernestina. Her daughter said, “My mom is so happy with her wheelchair! She is so amazed that she does not have to stay inside her room all day. Now she can go outside, visit the neighbors and also get fresh air on her patio. She has heart problems and a bad respiratory disease. She worked picking fruit and got really sick from the pesticides in the fields. This wheelchair is a miracle from God!

To our recipients, the gift of mobility truly is a miracle. What a humbling thought!

Free Wheelchair Mission wouldn’t exist and couldn’t change lives without you. Thank you for your faithful support and generosity.