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

Sharing the Love

I can’t stop thinking about this story we just received from our distribution partner in China, the Henan Disabled Person’s Federation (HDPF). I hope you’ll be as encouraged by it as I am!

Gao worked as a laborer in factories and building sites, but one day as he unloaded a truck the materials shifted and fell on his legs. As a result of the accident, he lost not only the ability to walk but also the means to provide for himself and his parents.

FridayStory_030416Unable to do manual labor, Gao looked for a new line of work. He took an IT class offered by HDPF. After he finished the course, he got a job in customer service that allowed him to work from home. His determination and hard work led him to be named an outstanding employee of the year.

Last fall he received a wheelchair from HDPF. Seated in his new GEN_2 after the distribution ceremony, he turned to a volunteer and said, “I can’t believe there are caring people overseas so concerned about disabled people around the world that they’d offer a free wheelchair. We should follow in their steps and help other people as well. I don’t just want to be a receiver. I want to be a giver of my love to others this year.”

Your generosity and compassion change lives. Thank you for modeling what it means to give!

Wanting to Work

Hazrat is the sole provider for his family of six. When he was in an accident and his left leg was severely damaged, his already challenging economic situation became much harder. The doctor’s best efforts to save his leg were not successful, and they had to amputate.

Newly equipped with crutches, he returned to the small shop he owned in a bazaar near his village. But it was difficult to get around and conduct business on crutches. He desperately wanted to be able to run his shop independently and effectively. Instead, he needed help he couldn’t afford.

FridayStory_022316Our distribution partner, Al-Khidmat Foundation Pakistan (AKFP), assessed Hazrat’s situation and saw how much he would benefit from a wheelchair. Almost as soon as he received his GEN_1 wheelchair, Hazrat mastered using it and couldn’t wait to get back to work!

As he thanked AKFP, he asked for his thanks to be passed on to Free Wheelchair Mission as well.

We in turn thank you. Without your generous support Hazrat would still be struggling to earn enough to care for his family.

Together we have the privilege of providing the transforming gift of mobility to many whose stories we’ll never know, but how wonderful to know stories of changed lives are being written every day!

Transformation for One, Change for Many

Our partner, Food For The Poor Guyana Inc., met Davika and her family in their home. They immediately noticed the ashy callouses on her knees and discovered that when she’s alone, Davika can only get around by dragging herself on the cement floor.

Davika is the eldest child with six younger siblings, but in many ways they look out for her. She was born with a disability and has never been able to walk. She has never gone to school. She’s been largely confined to the house. But Davika’s siblings share what they’ve learned with her as soon as they get home from school. They make sure she’s always included.

Davinika 2-editedA few days after their first meeting, our partners returned with a GEN_2 wheelchair for Davika and other items for the family. Her siblings were ecstatic and began making plans for all the things they could do with Davika now that she had a wheelchair. They may have been more excited than she was!

Through the gift of mobility our partners have been able to establish an ongoing relationship with Davika’s family and are continuing to find ways to support them as they work to improve their economic and social conditions.

Thank you for your commitment to providing mobility and the life change that comes with it. Davika is up off the ground now, and her family has new hope, because of your generous support!

Don Schoendorfer




Like New Legs

Mr. Thai lost both his legs to landmines over 40 years ago in Vietnam. After that he moved around by using two low stools. He placed one stool in front of the other stool. Then he used his arms to swing himself onto the front stool. He moved the rear stool in front and repeated the process over and over. It was a long, slow way to move for a very active man.

For decades Mr. Thai repaired bicycles in his home. But now that he’s retired, he loves to help his wife with chores around the house and getting out to socialize with friends and family. His busy life became much easier when he received one of the first GEN_3 wheelchairs distributed in 2014. “It’s like new legs,” he said.

FridayStory_021216Almost two years later, Mr. Thai continues to push his wheelchair to the limit. He hefts it up from the ground into his raised home and back down again. He folds it up to take it in vehicles. He uses it all day long both inside and outside. He even uses it the rain.

Like Mr. Thai, many people make their own accommodations for their disabilities, but receiving the gift of mobility saves them time and effort and allows them to engage more easily with their communities.

Thank you for helping to lift lives off the ground!

Don Schoendorfer