• Jan. 22, 2016
  • #8800

A disabled man in Haiti is overjoyed when receiving a wheelchair uniquely constructed for his exact needs.


Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I love Wheels for the World.

And you know all about Wheels for the World, I’m sure. It’s our premier program at Joni and Friends through which we collect used wheelchairs across the United States. And then inmates in 17 prisons refurbished these chairs. Then, teams of physical therapists and seating specialists join us in taking these wheelchairs to some of the darkest, most depressing places in the world where we fit desperately needy people with disabilities to each wheelchair, giving not only a Bible in their own language, but an opportunity to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. Tens of thousands of people have come to Christ through this very unique outreach. And more came to Christ last week when our Wheels for the World team was serving in Haiti. It happens because many people pray, and many more work very, very hard.

Take what happened when our Wheels team was working in Downtown Port-au-Prince. An elderly man, named Elisha, arrived with his wife. Now, Elisha is severely disabled from advancing Parkinson’s disease, and he was sitting in a rusty and rickety old wheelchair. It was totally unsuitable, but it was the only one he had. This man was way too tall for this chair; so tall in fact that his shoulders and head kept flopping over the back, and his legs were falling off the foot rests. He was in pretty sad shape – I mean, if anyone wanted to talk with Elisha, they had to hold his head up.

Well, Renée, the physical therapist, told Jeff, one of the seating mechanics, that Elisha required a specialty wheelchair that could be tilted and had a head rest (a tilt-in space wheelchair means that it can tilt way back and locked into a reclining position). It was a tall order and Jeff could not remember seeing such a chair in the big truck where we were storing our wheelchairs. He and another mechanic headed out to the truck, even though they were pretty sure there was absolutely no tilt-in space wheelchair out there – no, no, no, especially for an adult like Elisha. But you’re not going to believe what happened. Way in the back of the truck, (and somehow, the logistics team missed this earlier) in the back of the truck they discovered a miracle. Jeff and his co-worker uncovered a chair that was, indeed, a tilt-in space and was the absolute best size for Elisha.

They wheeled the specialty chair back into the distribution area, and Renée was thrilled, but still, it did not have a headrest. We really needed the headrest for Elisha or else his head and shoulders would fall over the back. So, the two seating mechanics went back out to the truck. Before they entered it they prayed that God would help them find a headrest for the chair. And lo and behold, they found an oversized headrest on a pediatric wheelchair, something that was designed for a child. Jeff and his friend looked at each other and smiled, this would more than do for Elisha. So they unhinged the headrest, adapted it and affixed it to the tilting wheelchair for Elisha. When he was seated on his new throne, it was so hard for Elisha to contain his excitement; he burst into tears, as well as much laughter. He was finally able to sit up and look at life face-on. And receiving a Bible and hearing about Jesus Christ, it made perfect sense to Elisha that the wheelchair came from the Lord and His Word. Hey, friend, our Wheels for the World team just returned from Haiti again where we served more people like Elisha. So please take time and visit my radio page today at joniandfriends.org where we have posted some wonderful photos and thank you for your prayers for Wheels for the World.

© Joni and Friends


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