Last Full Day

Today was our last full day in Guatemala. It’s been a wonderful week.  I hit a wall physically yesterday afternoon.  I think it was too much sun.  I got off the van and Dave looked at me and I said, “I have to go to sleep”.  So, around 6:00 pm I got cleaned up and went to sleep.  I woke up at 7:45 pm and felt like I had been sleeping for a week.  But, I was able to go back to sleep each time I woke up throughout the night.  I got about 12-hours of sleep.  All of us felt so much better.  Today was wheelchair day, and that’s always a huge blessing.

It’s Not about the chairs…

We packed all of our stuff up and headed out to Chimaltenango (Chimal).  BMI is primarily a wheelchair organization. They have volunteers in just about every area that look for disabled people, take a personal history and measurements for a chair.  They hold all of that material until they have enough for a distribution.  Today we were scheduled for 35 wheelchairs.  As we pulled up in the van, families and support people who came with them were gathering.  Ben gave a quick lesson to our team on how we were supposed to fit a person for the chair.  It’s really not too difficult.  Dave and I were on one team, Bill and Garry were on a second team. They also had Marcos and Chito with their own work stations.  I really love getting to fit people.  Most people come with a family member or friend to help support them.  Many of them are nervous.  This has been a dream for so long for them.  They really don’t know what to expect.  That’s one reason I try so hard to put them at ease and feel seen and loved right away.  It’s amazing what simply saying good morning, asking their age and name, and introducing yourself will do for putting them at ease.  Many of the ones we worked with today are elderly.  Some are in their mid/late 80s.  Some had recently suffered strokes, others had falls.  All of them are in pain.  Person after person told us about their pain they have been enduring for years and years.  This wheelchair is going to be their ticket to less pain and more freedom.  One gentleman said all he does is sit in his house day after day because he has no mobility.  I can only imagine the excitement he will experience when he gets home. After we finish fitting them, we attach the footrests, install a seat belt and then give hugs and say goodbye.  We then send them to the out-processing table and then on to what I like to call the “table of hope”.  A local pastor is there to serve as a contact point, ask how they are feeling and share the Gospel of Christ with them.  Today there 35 people that received wheelchairs.  There were 9 people who made a decision to follow Christ.  Praise God!!!   Interestingly enough, all of the people who accepted Christ were from the family members and people who came along to help them.  I imagine it is a powerful testimony to them to see their family member receive a gift from God.  A life of disability changed in a moment from people who do not know them and ask nothing in return.  The chair is given for free.  They have seen so much pain and suffering.  This is a witness to the love of the Creator God they know is out there.  Working through the hands and hearts of our team.  As someone once said, “It’s not about the chairs”.  It’s really about loving those who need our help.  They are all children of God, created in His image, just like you and me.  They deserve our best.  The houses, stoves, food bags, wheelchairs are all tools God uses to meet their needs.  I’m so grateful to be a part of this. We finally got on the road and headed to Guatemala City.  We will spend the night at a hotel right outside of the airport.  Dave and I are catching the 4:00 am shuttle, and Bill and Garry are catching the 12:00 van.  It’s always hard to leave, but I think we’re all ready to go home and be with our families.  I’ll write one more post, hopefully by Sunday morning.  I’ll try to put together my final thoughts from an amazing week.  Thank you again for following along.  We love you all. Dios Te Bendiga, Brad  

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