Salisa’s chair

I woke up today with a text from Tim that he started feeling off around midnight.  He felt it was best to stay behind today as we had a long van ride to our wheelchair distribution.  I was sad he was going to miss it, but I know the feeling he was experiencing.  Guatemalan roads would not have been good.

We took off for Santa Cruz de Quiche.  Amazingly enough, that is exactly where we went in 2016.  The Mayor of the town is very supportive.  We ended up giving 30 wheelchairs today.  Most of the people were coming from far away.  It was coordinated that many of the people would meet in larger towns and be transported to Santa Cruz.  I guess there was a mix up in one of the remote areas, so nine people were not able to make it from that one particular area.  Bethel has already coordinated to have those people receive their wheelchairs at a later date.  I feel bad for them.  Many of the people we worked with today have been waiting years to receive their very first chair.  One woman I worked with today was in her 70’s and had never had a chair.  So, I am sure people were sad not to make it.  Eight people gave their lives to Christ.  Praise God!  I am thankful to have eight more brothers and sisters.  As so many have said before, “it’s not about the chairs”.  So true.

Ray and I have been a part of many wheelchair distributions over the years.  This was Eddie’s first one.  Since we were down to three people on our team, Ben, Chris and Nick helped fit people.  Nick and Ben worked on the most challenging children’s chairs.  Eddie, Ray and I all ultimately worked on our own stations.  It was hard working next to Ray. 🙂 He was flying through people, and I was still working on my first chair.  Almost every person I worked on needed to have the footrests cut short, which meant I had to take each one apart, cut it down and drill new holes.  It took forever.  I finally got to my second person and I think Ray must have been on his 5th or 6th. Praise the Lord I finally got some easier ones at the end!

Eddie got to work with one very sweet little girl named Silisa.  She did not have any legs.  What a little cutie.  There are those people you meet that touch your heart in a special way.  I’m not sure where the chair came from that Salisa was put in.  I try and imagine who will receive the chairs I collect in Louisville.  I have been blessed to fit someone in a chair I collected.  Seeing little Salisa today in her chair, it gives me renewed enthusiasm for collecting chairs, knowing someone will be blessed by it.

Ray worked with a really neat man named Oscar.  He was involved in a car accident two years ago.  He spent a year in the hospital.  He was very excited to have Ray fit him for his chair today.

Ben and Nick spent a lot of time on a 17-year old girl.  I’m not sure what her exact condition was, but she weighed about 30 pounds.  Her legs were twisted around each other.  Ben had to gently untwist them as her hips were flexed in a very uncomfortable position.  I can only imagine how difficult it is to try and find any kind of good medical care in Guatemala for this girl.  And, if you do find someone, how expensive and unattainable it would be for this family.  We are so blessed in America to have access to health care.  It breaks my heart to look around that room today seeing so many people suffering in pain, with no access to medicine and health care.  Chris found one person who had four bed sores on their bottom.  In America, we could get those healed eventually.  In Guatemala, sores like that can easily be life threatening.

Even in the midst of the pain many of those people were in, the joy you could see in most of them was so encouraging.  They sat patiently waiting for their turn.  They all had a long journey to even get there.  Some were brought in on gurneys from transport cars.  I thank the Lord Jesus for allowing me to be a part of this trip.  I am continually reminded that on my worst day, I have nothing to complain about.  It humbles me and encourages me at the same time to be here with the beautiful people of Guatemala.

After all the chairs were given, we made our way back to Tecpan.  On the drive up, we saw the volcanoes in the distance.  The volcano named Fuego had a tall smoke plume coming out of the top.  Donna said she doesn’t worry about the smoke plume.  In fact, she gets worried when there is not a plume.  It means often times something big is coming.  We were in a hurry, so we decided we would stop on the way back to let Eddie get some pics.  Well, the clouds moved in and you could not see very far at all.  Eddie was a real good sport about it.  He still walked to the ledge and took some pictures of the clouds.

When we got back, Tim was feeling better.  Montezuma’s Revenge can be brutal.  Fortunately, Tim started taking medicine right away.  He’ll be back in the saddle tomorrow.  He had gotten cleaned up and went out with us to my favorite restaurant in the world…Kape Paulinos.  I ate way too much Chorizo.  We all had a great dinner and just got back a little while ago.

Tomorrow we get to see our friend Lucy.  I can’t wait to see her.  I am excited to tell you about her tomorrow night.  She is so sweet and has a special place in our hearts.

Thank you for all of your prayers.  Thank you for your donations.  You made all these projects possible.  There have been so many lives changed and people encouraged.

Dios te Bendiga,Brad

Posted in 2020 Guatemala.


  1. Truly very special moments today with wheelchair, walkers, and cane distributions. My first time to participate in this. A tremendous amount of work behind the scenes occurs by a lot of people to make this happen. Chris and Donna do an amazing job as well as Ben and Emily and Nick and Izzy! It’s amazing to watch them lead and work. Brad and Ray managed their stations well as seasoned veterans. Glad that Donna helped me at my station throughout. As Brad stated, Chris, Nick and Ben were working on the specialized chairs as they have much experience with all the custom adjustments. When we were done with the roster for the non-specialty chairs, Ben called me over to help with Silisa and her chair. Ben made Silisa and her dad feel at ease. It was great to watch Ben get on the litle girls level and just meet her and her dad relationally. She was a little shy and a little scared. Ben provided the dad direction and he placed her on her chair. She was not relaxing until Ben made her feel at ease. Ben sized her up and made adjustments while I stood ready to help with whatever. “Unscrew this, put this here, pad here, tray there, velcro, etc…I just followed Ben’s lead. He was saying “Can’t do it this way because she may get back problems if she leaned the wrong way. Let’s do this… He was like a doctor, taking more measurements while Donna scribed. You can tell they have done this so many times.
    They would like to ultimately get her an electric wheelchair. For now, this will be a tremendous help. Silisa, such a beautiful girl along her pink baseball cap with a unicorn, and her equally precious dad there with her. Words cannot describe today’s experience overall with everyone. Humbled to serve. Thankful for God’s provisions.

  2. Love the pictures and wonderful write ups. Continued prayers for all the special people there and health for the team! Give Lucy a hug from us.

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