A post written by Team Leader Rick Fulton
Wheelchair day is an extra special day when working with Bethel Ministries International. Their mission began around 20 years ago and was primarily focused on fitting the disabled with wheelchairs. In Guatemala, there is no safety net. There is no medicare, no health insurance. If you can’t buy the wheelchair you need, you do without. Their wheelchair ministry has grown to where they’ve provided over 1700 wheelchairs to the disabled just in 2016! As they host teams like ours over the next two and a half months, they will distribute over 600 wheelchairs!
Today we participated in a wheelchair distribution at a church hall right next to the Bethel Ministries shop. The morning started with the team moving the wheelchairs and walkers and crutches to the hall. We then organized the chairs, the tools and supplies for the day.
Next, Chris Mooney gave the team a demonstration of how and why we are fitting the people. He explained the proper way to seat the person, and to check for proper size, and how to install a seatbelt. He also reminded us that this process is not about the wheels. It is about sharing the Gospel with these people, showing them how the Lord is providing them with that wheelchair.
We prayed for the team, we prayed for the equipment we were about to provide and we prayed for the folks we were about to interact with.
Chris then called the team to the front of the auditorium. He proceed to explain that we were a team from Iowa and that God sent us here today to help provide them with a free wheelchair! We were here today to Bless them.
Chris asked me to address the crowd. I told them that as we collect the wheelchairs up in the states with Mission: Mobility, we collected for the people of Guatemala. I explained that when our volunteers load the equipment on the shipping container, we always pray for the equipment and for the people who will receive it. I told them that we did not send these wheelchairs to them, but I reminded them that God sent the this equipment to bless them. Throughout the event, the recipients and their families would thank Dios (God), not us!
After dinner, the team had debriefing time. “Where did you see Jesus today?” Even the quietest on the team had stories to tell. Stories of how they saw God moving through the interaction with the recipients and their families. Many were moved when the older Guatemalan ladies and men would lay hands on us and pray for us!
Others told stories of how they can’t imagine the new found independence the families will now have. That a child now can have an independence because of this new gift of mobility. The parent, the new gift of independence from not being burdened with carrying that child, and seeing them gain some independence. 55 wheelchairs were distributed today. Seven people became our brothers and sisters, accepting the Lord!
Tom summed up today very well when he paraphrased the Matthew 25: 35 says, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”
” I was disabled and you gave me a wheelchair!”
Thank you Lord! It was a good day.
Before we headed back to the hotel, we loaded the three homes we will build the next three days into the truck. Everyone pitched in to load the metal for the homes, the stoves, the bunk beds, blankets, tools and other supplies.
Tomorrow we put on our work gloves. We will break into three teams. Team #1 will be hand mixing cement for a floor and foundation for a home. Team #2 will be building a home on a pre-poured slab. Team #3 will be visiting families to provide clothing and shoes and food.
We are in the rainy season in Guatemala. We have seen alot of rain the last two days! We ask for prayers that it doesn’t rain the next three days as we will be working on these projects… rain or shine!
“This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118.24
Dios te bendiga,