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.”

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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.”

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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!

Blessings,

Don Schoendorfer

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