Hope in a Box

As we give thanks this week, will you join us in expressing gratitude for our partners around the world who receive and distribute wheelchairs?

In Malawi, the Namikango Mission staff carefully unloads box after box from the trailer of a 40-foot truck. Each box contains possibilities for another person who has faced near hopeless conditions. The label says it all: “Free Wheelchair Mission.”

Malawi unloading wheelchairs 2 smallerThe box contains mobility. It contains community contact. It contains freedom to go to school, church, shopping and visiting. It contains the ability for parents to take their growing children with them to the fields while they work, to market while they shop and to visit family and friends. No longer must people be carried on someone’s back or left alone at home because no one can carry them.

FWM supporters fund the wheelchairs and shipping to the African coast. The Malawi Project picks up the cost to get them overland to Malawi and to the distribution warehouse at the Namikango Mission. The staff works with groups and individuals all over Malawi to distribute the chairs to those who need them.

“Every single box they unload is another story of hope, promise and success. There just are no failures with this program. It is a win-win every time,” reports Richard Stephens, a member of the Malawi Project staff.

Our mission would be impossible without distribution partners, and it would be impossible without you, our supporters. Thank you for your role in providing the gift of mobility to people in Malawi and around the world!


Don Schoendorfer

P.S. The Christmas season has arrived. If you’re looking for a unique gift for someone on your list, consider an FWM holiday greeting card or eCard from our Christmas shop.

One Smile at a Time

What if your only way to communicate was with your mouth? Not by speaking, but by smiling. That’s Norik’s life. Born with cerebral palsy and unable to move or speak, he can smile. And he does when he sees or hears members of his family. He loves his baby sister!

Norik is eight years old and spends most of his life on the sofa. His family makes him comfortable and tends to his needs. They even sit up with him through the night when he is unable to sleep, so he won’t be lonely or scared.

norik in wheelchairBut all of them want a better life for Norik, and—with the support of World Vision Armenia— Norik received his very own GEN_2 wheelchair.

“It is a huge support for these families who’ve lost hope, but keep doing their best for their children. Norik’s family can now easily cultivate the land next to their house and take Norik with them to enjoy the sun,” shared Artyom Grigoryan, World Vision Armenia Aparan Area Specialist.

“Now Norik can easily be a part of our day. We will not be attached to his sofa that much anymore. I know that this will bring a good change in his life,” his mother, Elmira, said with tears in her eyes before adding, “I really hope that one day we will be a healthy and happy family all together.”

Giving the gift of mobility to one, changes the lives of many. Thank you for helping change the future of Yorik’s family and countless others!


Don Schoendorfer

P.S. Are you interested in giving a unique gift this Christmas? Make a global impact with an FWM holiday greeting card or eCard from our Christmas shop.

Giving Good Gifs

This week we bring you a story from China where a Vision Trip team worked in October with our distribution partner Henan Disabled Person’s Federation.

After climbing up and down the streets in a hilly village, we found the Shang family home at the bottom of a hill next to a field where the corn had been recently harvested and ears of corn were scattered on the ground. The Shangs have three daughters. Their middle daughter Shenzhen, now 29, was born with mental disabilities and though never able to attend school, she helped around the farm. About nine years ago, Shenzhen became physically disabled when she fell from the roof of their home where they were drying corn.


HDPF previously provided a wheelchair, but it broke and they were unable to repair it. Shenzhen’s mom is looking forward to using the new GEN_2 wheelchair to take her daughter to see neighbors and visit the park. Her mom shared with us that they are Christians and make a point to take Shenzhen to church at Christmas—with her new mobility it will be much easier this year!

It is such a blessing to see lives changed when wheelchairs are delivered to those in need. Thank you for your generous support and for providing the gift of mobility to families like the Shangs.

As the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5). We, too, give thanks for you and your partnership!


Don Schoendorfer

New Opportunities for Jose

In October a Vision Trip team traveled to Mexico and served alongside our distribution partner Operation Blessing. Over four days they assembled and distributed 60 wheelchairs in Queretaro and Celeya. What a gift to get a front row seat to see and hear the results of your generous support!

Jose FabianDuring one stop, the team met 13-year old Jose and his mom, Araceli. Jose was born with cognitive and physical disabilities due to TORCH Syndrome. While he has never been able to walk or attend school, Jose enjoys being outdoors and loves listening to music, which calms him when he gets anxious. As Jose grew older, Araceli realized she wouldn’t always be able to carry him, but she had no other means to move him. Increasingly she felt the strain of immobility shrinking their world.

Now with his own wheelchair, she sees a new future for the whole family. Araceli and her younger children can take Jose outside more easily and include him in visits to the park. He can safely and comfortably move in rhythm to the music he loves. The gift of mobility is widening their boundaries and bringing new opportunities for all of them.

There are countless children like Jose and parents like Araceli still hoping for transformation. Generous people like you enable us to provide mobility around the world, and we are so grateful for each one of you!


We received the following story from our Distribution Partner Mission Eurasia, and we couldn’t wait to share it with you . . .

A little less than a year ago, Evgeniy, a young soldier from Kremenchug, Ukraine, was seriously injured in the fighting that still grips the eastern region of the nation, and his lower body was completely paralyzed. His family and friends spent a lot of time and money trying to help him regain his mobility, but it looked like only a miracle could help him.

Before he was injured, Evgeniy was engaged to Svetlana, and despite his injury, they decided nothing would stand in the way of their marriage, but there was one big problem. Evgeniy’s immobility made even a simple wedding ceremony impossible. His family thought a basic wheelchair would allow him to participate in the wedding, so they looked everywhere; but they couldn’t find anything they could afford, and Evengiy remained bedridden.During this difficult time, many students from our School Without Walls (SWW) program in Kremenchug visited Evgeniy. He couldn’t understand why the students wanted to help him, so one day he asked them why they kept visiting him. They shared that their efforts to help him were nothing compared to what God had already done for them in Christ, and that they wanted to share God’s love with others as a way of honoring the love He gave to them.

As the SWW students got to know him, they realized Evgeniy desperately needed a wheelchair, and one day they surprised him with a brand new wheelchair provided by Free Wheelchair Mission! The students helped Evgeniy and Svetlana assemble the wheelchair, and they explained how to prevent Evgeniy from getting pressure sores. When he received this wonderful gift of mobility, Evgeniy couldn’t stop crying and laughing for joy!

A few weeks later, Evgeniy and Svetlana got married. They even invited some of the SWW students and Anatoliy, our SWW Coordinator in Kremenchug! At the ceremony, the SWW students presented Evgeniy and Svetlana with copies of the New Testament, for which they were so thankful.

Evgeniy shares, “For a long time after I was injured, I kept wishing that I could walk again so I could get my old life back. When I realized that this wasn’t going to happen, I began to despair, because I thought I would spend the rest of my life rotting in my bed. I didn’t want to live like that, so I started thinking about suicide. In those dark days, Christians visited me, and they gave me new hope. In the last few weeks, two of my dreams have come true: I am mobile again, and I got married! I believe that there is a God, and that He still loves me. I want to learn more about this God, and I am excited to read His Word!”

These are the stories you, our supporters, make possible. Thank you!


Don Schoendorfer

P.S. Our “Times Two” Gift Challenge ends tomorrow, O​ctober 31, and we’re so close to lifting 13,000 people off the ground, but we still need your help. Will you give today and multiply your impact? Freewheelchairmission.org/x2donate

Eager to Work

Some people are so grateful for the opportunity to work they wouldn’t dream of complaining about their commute—even if they have to crawl to work.

CIMG0297One distribution team in El Salvador met such a man. Cayetano Velasco lost the use of his legs after contracting polio. He moved to San Salvador in 2010 so he could find work and be self-sufficient. A neighborhood carpenter made him special blocks he could use to walk on his hands, and he supported himself by panhandling in front of the cathedral. The $7-8 he made a day was enough to rent a small room in a nearby hotel.

When the distribution team saw him walking on his blocks, they offered him a wheelchair, and he enthusiastically accepted it saying it would “give him the opportunity to go farther.” As he said goodbye, he added, “I will always remember this date as the day I was blessed with a wheelchair.”

What a blessing to transform Cayetano’s life through the gift of mobility! You, our generous supporters, make these moments possible. Thank you!


Don Schoendorfer

P.S. We have just over a week to go in our “Times Two” Gift Challenge. From now through October 31 every dollar given will be multiplied x2. Will you consider making a donation today to help others like Cayetano?

Waiting for school to start

What do you think of when someone talks about going to school? Crumpled homework assignments? Rows of desks? Or do you envision the journey from home to school?

The simple lack of mobility derails the educational dreams for millions of boys and girls with disabilities around the world. Mooketsi was one of those children. His inability to consistently get to school meant he watched his friends progress through the grade levels while he had to repeat classes. Eventually his poor attendance forced him to drop out of school.

Mooketsi was frustrated and discouraged, but he kept praying for a way to go to school. He kept praying for a wheelchair. Finally at 23 years old he received his first wheelchair from our partner World Community Counseling Centre in Botswana.

IMG_3800Mooketsi in wheelchair

And what was Mooketsi’s first goal? To go to school.

Thank you for opening the doors of education to Mooketsi—and so many others. We are able to give the gift of mobility because of your generous support. Thank you for helping us serve


Don Schoendorfer

P.S. We are entering the final two weeks of our “Times Two” Gift Challenge. There’s still time for your donation to be multiplied x2. Will you take the challenge today?