Herman's Walker

  • Feb. 16, 2006
  • #6209

Joni shares how a Wheels for the World team provided Herman with a walker and he was able to take his first steps at the age of six.

AL: There's lots happening at Joni and Friends right now - we have a Wheels for the World team heading to Guatemala with 200 wheelchairs and Bibles.

JONI: And our team of Christian physical therapists, Al, is going to be working so hard to fit each and every wheelchair absolutely perfectly to the kids with disabilities and the adults they'll encounter.  Children and kids like, well like Herman. 

AL: Who's Herman? 

JONI: Ok. Herman is this adorable little 6-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. I met him when Ken and I were in Africa a couple of months ago with our Wheels team. His mother came to our distribution carrying Herman on her back. 

AL: Let me guess. She had been carrying Herman for six years? 

JONI: You got it. 

AL: Wow! Now there is a kid who really needed a wheelchair!  

JONI: Well... not really. When we sat little Herman in a child-sized wheelchair, at first he was so excited. He was pushing the wheels, turning this way and that.  He was so happy to have freedom to move around. 

AL: And his mother must have been so thrilled too! 

JONI: Oh! You bet! But then our physical therapist took a closer look at Herman's little legs and his hips. She did an assessment and realized that - oh my goodness - this little boy could probably walk if he had a walker and a hip support. She quickly went to the storage area and found a walker -- she asked the seating specialist to cut down the legs and... 

AL: Let me guess. She thought Herman could actually walk? He had never walked before! Joni, how is that possible? 

JONI: We had to work hard to stabilize Herman's hips, but it was clear that he had been pushing himself around in the dirt long enough to develop some good muscles. So when the walker was finished being cut down, the therapist gave it to him. She stood behind him steadying his hips and - lo and behold - the kid began taking his first steps. 

AL: That must have been something. And at the age of 6! 

JONI: And you should have seen his mother, Al. She absolutely collapsed in tears. This African woman had never seen her little boy actually walk. Well, we had to put Herman back in his junior-sized wheelchair so we could make some more adjustments on his walker, but that kid would have none of it. He kept reaching and grabbing for his walker. Once he had tasted what it was like to be on his feet, wild horses couldn't stop him from wanting to walk. It was so incredible. 

AL: And did Herman and his mother receive a Bible, too?

JONI: Oh, yes; and they went to church that weekend at the invitation of one of the local African pastors who was working alongside us that day. You know, Al, this is why Jesus says in Luke chapter 14, "Go out into the streets and alleys and highways and byways and find the disabled and the lame and the blind. Bring them in." And when we do that, a lot of people go away walking and taking their first steps right into the kingdom of Christ!  

AL: Joni, that's why all of us here pray for you and pray for the Wheels for the World teams too.  

JONI: And, especially, the one that's heading to Guatemala today.  

AL: Thank you... all of you at Joni and Friends for following the words of Jesus in Luke 14. And little Herman and his mother thank you, too! 

© Joni and Friends

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