Peter's Story

  • Oct. 15, 2018
  • #9511

On his 11th birthday, Peter takes his first steps and learns about the love of Jesus during a ‘Wheels for the World’ outreach.  

It’s amazing when you see an 11-year-old walk for the first time.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I saw it happen when our ‘Wheels for the World’ team went to serve disabled children in Poland. It’s where we met Peter, an 11-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. Although he has some strength on the left side of his body, he has never walked before, except when his father holds him with both hands like a toddler. So, when Peter’s dad brought his son to see if we might provide a wheelchair for him, we were all ready to help. That is until one of our of our ‘Wheels’ team members, named Martin, took a closer look at Peter’s abilities.

You see Martin is the dean and professor of occupational therapy at Indiana Wesleyan University, so he has seen many children like Peter. True, he felt that a wheelchair would have been okay for Peter, but it would mean having his father or mother push him. So, rather than fit Peter to a wheelchair, Martin who was on that’ Wheels’ team decided to go back to the equipment room and retrieve a pediatric standing walker. He was convinced that this 11-year-old could walk with this piece of equipment once modified; Martin felt that Peter could propel himself independently. Now, Peter’s daddy was skeptical; I mean, his son had never taken any steps on his own. But Martin was convinced and so he made a few key adjustments on the little walker and put on some wheels. It took some effort to properly strap Peter into the walker with wheels, but finally, with Peter’s mother and dad looking on, Martin encouraged the boy to give it a try. At first, Peter’s efforts were kind of uncoordinated. You could see him trying to figure out what to do with his legs; how he was supposed to walk in a forward direction. Then all at once he started putting one foot slowly in front of the other and with each step he began moving faster and faster. The smile on his face began to grow and while his mom was trying to keep up with him behind the walker, he started scrambling, walking all around the gym floor. The entire room stopped everything to watch and cheer for Peter – especially since it was his birthday.

You have to see Peter for yourself. So go to my radio page at and take a look at this little boy trying to figure out how to walk and then discovering that he actually can put one foot in front of the other and then, you just have to see him smile and take off around the room. I found myself cheering, too, as I watched Peter enjoy the thrill of walking on his own for the first time! Martin was right in his assessment of that 11-year-old, and it made all the difference in that child’s life.

But the biggest difference happened when the excitement finally died down. That’s when our ‘Wheels for the World’ team told Peter and his parents about Jesus Christ. Our ‘Wheels’ leader spoke to Peter about Christ and His love for us, and especially for those who have disabilities. Peter was so focused and so attentive there were tears in his eyes when we told him that Jesus has a plan for his life. This little boy and his parents opened their hearts to their Savior. Not only did Peter walk for the first time that day, he also learned how to walk with Jesus.

So, you must visit to watch. And please be praying for our ‘Wheels for the World’ teams this month. We are taking wheelchairs to disabled children in Brazil, El Salvador, India, Cuba and Peru. We are also taking Bibles. May God use our prayers to bring many more children like Peter and his family to a saving knowledge of Jesus. Again, don’t forget to watch that video at God bless you today, and thanks for listening to Joni and Friends.

© Joni and Friends



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