Sebastien's First Wheelchair

  • Jan. 20, 2016
  • #8798

A young man’s life is transformed upon receiving the love of Christ, and his first wheelchair.

Sebastien's First Wheelchair

I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a great story from Wheels for the World.

The thing I love about Wheels for the World is that our teams love to go where the needs of disabled people are the greatest. And there’s no place more needy than in Haiti. Earlier this week I told you about our recent Wheels for the World outreach to the little town of Onaville; it’s just a makeshift community of tiny cinder-block houses: no street lights or running water or sidewalks or trash collection. Just a humble little village filled with very poor people, some of them very disabled.

While our Wheels for the World team was in Onaville, we set up a wheelchair distribution in a small church that had recently been constructed. All day long, families were bringing in their disabled: people with cerebral palsy, people with amputated limbs, paraplegics. One woman carried in her arms, a little disabled boy named Sebastien. The woman was his aunt Marie. It seems that years earlier, Sebastien’s mother decided that his disability was just too much to handle; she felt she just couldn’t take care of him any longer. So, Aunt Marie, bless her heart, decided that she would take care of her nephew. You could see the deep love that she had for Sebastien! She was so ecstatic that this boy with a disability was about to be fitted for his very first wheelchair – a very special pediatric wheelchair with side supports, a chest harness, a head rest, adjustable foot pedals.

Now, when Sebastien was carried over to the seating station, our physical therapist and seating mechanic assumed that he was probably about 8 years old or so. One of our Wheels team members asked the translator to help her talk with Sebastien. But his aunt said that he could not understand anything. He was, after all, she said, disabled. But there was something about this boy, something that stirred our interest, and so our Wheels team member insisted. Well, she and the translator, after much effort, found out that nothing was wrong at all with Sebastien’s mind. It was obvious he wanted to communicate. It’s just that his guttural speech made it difficult to understand. But the French translator persevered, and soon they began slowly talking back and forth, just short questions and answers with words that Sebastien could understand and pronounce. Oh my goodness, this child was so excited to have someone talk to him! And that’s when we learned an astounding fact. Sebastien told our Wheels team member and the translator that he was at least 21 years old. And from his language skill, we knew it had to be so. He just looked like a little boy because of his tiny body and twisted arms and legs.

Oh my goodness, that day, the life of this young (not a boy, but a young man) totally changed. He not only received a wheelchair, he received the love of Christ, he also received the dignity and respect any 21-year-old deserves. He also received the chance to speak. Oh friend, it happens all the time with Wheels for the World. We go into some of the darkest, most desperate parts of the world to find people like Sebastien. In fact, our Wheels for the World team was in Haiti just last week, going out into the streets and alleys to find the disabled (as Jesus commands), to find them and bring them in. So, pray for the success of the Gospel in Haiti; please pray for Sebastien. Pray for the little church in Onaville who is providing follow-up. Pray for our Wheels for the World teams that are giving true help and hope to those who need Jesus most. And if you’d like to see some photos of our Wheels outreach, just visit my radio page at joniandfriends.org

© Joni and Friends

 

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