More to the Story

We love sharing stories with you every week, and we hope you love receiving them! As you can imagine, there is always a story behind the story … and an ongoing story still being written.

This week we received an email from Liliana who works with our distribution partner, Camino de Vida, in Peru. She shared an unfolding story of mobility, and it was too good to keep to ourselves.

FridayStory-Peru_020516Two years ago Liliana was walking home. As she waited at a stop light to cross the street she noticed another woman waiting to cross the street. In her arms she was carrying her almost ten year old son. Moved by the sight of this woman and her son, Liliana struck up a conversation and found out that every day she carried Fabricio many, many blocks because he couldn’t walk. Liliana knew only God could give a mother the strength to carry her growing son so far.

Shortly thereafter Fabricio received a GEN_2 wheelchair in one of Camino de Vida’s distributions, but the story doesn’t end there. Last Saturday, as Liliana walked along a street she glanced up and saw her path about to cross with a woman and a boy in a wheelchair. It was Fabricio and his mom. Liliana stopped to talk with them and snapped this picture on her phone, and she wrote, “my heart was so happy to see them again but now in a better quality of life!!”

These weekly stories capture a moment in time, but what a gift to know the story is much bigger. The impact on the lives of recipients and their families continues to be felt for years to come thanks to your generous support!

Blessings,
Don Schoendorfer

Overcoming Obstacles Together

Don Amilcar was born with spina bifida that paralyzed his legs. His family was so committed to keeping his life as normal as possible that his father carried him to school every day, and his dedication helped Amilcar graduate from high school.

While getting an education was hard, finding a job was even harder. Immobility robbed him of most opportunities, but not all of them. Amilcar learned the art of piñateria, so he could make and sell piñatas from his home in El Salvador. His work was excellent, yet getting out and distributing his finished products was a consistent challenge. His parents encouraged him and helped every way possible, but they could no longer carry him.

Amilcar persevered. He married and had two daughters. But he and his family never stopped dreaming of a wheelchair, which would allow him to get out on his own and increase his piñata sales. It would allow him to be more self-sufficient and help his whole family to thrive.

Don Amilcar FSOn the day New Horizons Foundation for the Poor arrived with a GEN_2 wheelchair for Amilcar, the whole family was overjoyed. His mother and wife couldn’t stop smiling as Amilcar settled into his wheelchair, and his young daughter couldn’t wait to climb into his lap.

Thank you, our dedicated supporters, for helping us honor the faithfulness of men and women around the world who have waited so patiently for the gift of mobility!

Blessings,
Don Schoendorfer

Free to Teach

Rebeca is 24 years old. She was born with congenital limb defects in the suburbs of Luanda, Angola, but her family committed to giving her as normal a life as possible. They carried her wherever she needed to go.

“As I got older and increased in weight and height, my father could no longer just pick me up and carry me to the school I needed to attend, which was farther from home. Consequently, I had to stay home, without going to school, for four years.”

Eventually Rebeca’s family managed to get a wheelchair so she was able to finish high school. Unfortunately, Rebeca became homebound again because her wheelchair broke, but her community recognized her passion for education and began sending their children to her home to be tutored, and they paid her with monthly donations.

FridayStory_012216Rebeca said, “the children are our future. It is important for me to do what I can so the children do not fall behind in their education like I did a few years ago.”

When she received her GEN_2 wheelchair, Rebeca said, “It was an answer to my prayers. I am thankful and overjoyed. This invaluable wheelchair will allow me to engage in more daily activities than I was able to in the past. Whenever I crawl around, I can’t help but feel humiliated. Now, I will move around with dignity, without having to crawl in the dust all the time. With this wheelchair, I am free. With this wheelchair, I will visit my relatives with pride, satisfaction and without any remorse of being a weight to them!”

Rebeca’s final words are to each of you, our generous supporters: “I thank God for everything, and I feel indebted to everybody who made this wheelchair donation possible.”

We, too, are thankful for you and your commitment to giving the gift of mobility to the Rebecas of the world.

Blessings,
Don Schoendorfer

A Family Affected

Disability can ripple through generations of a family. One incident, one illness, one moment can affect many people for years.

FridayStory_011516For Bajin’s family one day changed all of their lives. He was injured in a car accident and lost his mobility when he was 41 years old. In the 23 years since then his two daughters have moved away to find work to help support the family. The daily burdens of getting necessities from town, caring for the house and caring for Bajin fell on his wife. Some days she was able to get him onto a pallet-like wheelbarrow and take him out. Other days she made the walk to town alone.

In October a team of FWM supporters made home visits with our partner in China, Henan Disabled Person’s Federation. Together they visited Bajin in his home and fitted him in his own GEN_2 wheelchair.

Now Bajin looks forward to being able to get outside and go into town to sell his roosters. He’s already looking for ways to lighten the load his wife has been shouldering for more than two decades. The effects of his newfound mobility will continue to ripple and spread through each member of their family.

Thank you for your commitment to seeing lives change through the gift of mobility. These stories of transformation wouldn’t be possible without your generous support.

Blessings,
Don Schoendorfer

A Little Piece

Cirilo arrived at one of our distributions in Mexico this fall in his Sunday finest. Quiet and somber he waited with his daughter-in-law for his turn. He’d never had a wheelchair before, and beneath his stoic expression he was eager for the moment he could set down his worn cane and move without debilitating pain.

Cirilo cropped smThe last five years have been hard for Cirilo. His broken left knee never healed correctly, two toes on one foot were amputated, he lost vision in his left eye, complications from four years of dialysis have weakened his left arm, and hardest of all his wife died three years ago. Unable to work or care for himself, he’s been living with his daughter-in-law while his son works in Mexico City. It’s been a strain on all of them.

When a volunteer asked Cirilo if he had a nickname, he got choked up. His wife used to call him “Pedacito” or “little piece.” It started when she would call him for dinner, “Where’s my little piece of my heart?” Over the years he became her “Pedacito.” Waves of emotion washed over him as he talked about his wife.

Then—seated in his own GEN_2 wheelchair—Cirilo smiled and announced he would call his chair, “Pedacito.”

Thank you for giving Cirilo a little piece of his heart. In providing mobility, we are giving more than a means of movement, we are giving a little piece of what’s been missing for so many people.

Blessings,
Don Schoendorfer

Happy New Year

Greetings, name, and Happy 2016!

As we begin a new year, will you join us in giving thanks for the work we did together last year?

In 2015 we shipped 74,840 wheelchairs to 37 countries. It can be hard to quantify the impact those wheelchairs make, but our Ugandan partners, Father’s Heart Ministries, paint a beautiful picture of what our joint work looks like.

fri story 01012016FWM’s gift of mobility enables us to enter a community and carry out our objectives of giving mobility, sharing the gospel, training pastors, raising awareness and advocating on behalf of people with disabilities—“A gift opens the way for the giver” (Proverbs 18:16). Every community we have entered has been impacted. Crowds come out to see what we are doing and are incredulous to see love being shown to the outcasts. People’s lives have been changed – they are no longer dirty or stuck at home or left out of society, and the people with disabilities are excited to know that God loves them. Many can now visit friends or get out of the house, go to school for the first time or get to church. Mobility gives them a whole new life, and 158 people were saved. We have the opportunity at all distributions to encourage caregivers in their role and to challenge the local government and educators to also do what they should to include and care for people with disabilities. Each community we enter is left totally transformed.

Thank you for being a part of this story being written around the world from Chile to China, from Ukraine to Uganda and from your home to the homes of each of our recipients.

God bless and Happy New Year!

Don Schoendorfer