Wheelchair Distribution

Today is always a wonderful day.  It’s when our team has the opportunity to help fit disabled men, women and children with wheelchairs, canes, crutches and walkers.  Bethel Ministries International is primarily a wheelchair ministry.  While they build houses, install stoves and help in education, their main passion is helping the disabled. The reality of life for most disabled is that they are hidden away and treated as less than they should be.  Life is hard in Guatemala anyway, but being disabled puts you completely off the social radar.  The roads are difficult for the average person, image being in a wheelchair trying to navigate dirt, rocks and hills.

A Full day

We had to drive about 1.5 hours to Chichicastenango.  It was a beautiful drive, getting to go past Lake Atitlan.  Once we arrived, we had to unload and set up all the chairs.  Several people on the team had never fitted someone for a wheelchair.  Emily took the time to help all of us ensure we knew how to fit someone and modify the chair when necessary.  And, it was necessary a lot. Bethel already has a profile of each person who is receiving a chair.  But, all bodies are different, so for most chairs, some modifications were necessary.  Bethel has all the tools set up at stations where we worked with the people. The first step is to find the correct width chair.  You don’t want it being too big, and certainly not tight while sitting.  The hardest part came next as we needed to adjust the footrests for their feet.  This turns out to be very difficult.  Because many of them did not have long legs, we had to cut down to size the footrests.  Many adjustments, cuts, remeasure, etc.  Then we needed to put a seat belt on the chair.  Many of the roads can cause the person to be thrown out of the chair.  Then, if needed, we put a leg strap to keep their legs from falling through.

Sleeping in the dirt

My favorite person today was a woman named Isabell.  She is 82 years old and lives all alone.  She has no family and cannot walk.  She is fortunate enough to receive some government assistance to pay for her rent.  But, everything else must be provided by generous neighbors.  She does not have a bed, and sleeps on the dirt floor each night.  Imagine your sweet grandmother having to crawl on the floor and find a place to lay her head in the dirt.  She had the sweetest spirit and a smile on her face.  She didn’t ask for anything, but I couldn’t help but offer some assistance.  Some of our good friends from Louisville gave me some money to give to someone special.  The minute I met Isabell, I knew this was the one.  Bethel is going to coordinate Isabell getting a bed.  I know there is so much she needs, but this is a good start.

A successful Day

Forty-four people received a wheelchair today.  That does not count all of the walkers, canes and crutches given away.  Three people gave their lives to Christ.  Everyone’s lives were changed…including mine.

How you can help

Bethel is running very low on wheelchairs and clothing.  If you know someone who works at a hospital or nursing care center, please let me know.  I have a trailer and will gladly drive where necessary.  The disabled in Guatemala need your help.  Together, we can help change lives. Dave’s Poem
Sometimes things Don’t work out right Sometimes things Aren’t a perfect fit You should spend a day sometime with An imperfect body Of humble souls Work out a hundred Technical details To size and fit The human condition To wheels in motion Wheelchairs can be Like our flesh and bones The pieces sometimes Don’t fit in just right But if you take a leap of faith With your heart You just mind find In Christ’s able arms You can adapt and overcome I wonder on the side Of the resurrection What was the story Of the ones who Who rolled away the stone Today I wonder What is the story Of the ones Who rolled away those wheelchairs Carrying hope And restoration To new frontiers

Poem #2

For us Mobility pay the bills For some humble Is a house With no frills Thunder brings Rain Thunder brings Renewal But when your life Your existence Hovers two inches Above dirt and land Thunder brings Cold wet and calamity Guatemalans are perfect situated For epic sunsets And panoramic views Of God’s awesome glory But many are million miles From a perfect situation Walk into a house With no floor Listen to their stories Until only your tears Can take anymore Then take the the journey back With Anna Francisco To homes 5 hours further away Than my mind’s eye And your heart can imagine When you live two inches above The dirt Your tears don’t have that far to fall Jesus you are the greatest of us Teach us every day To love your children Even the ones With the least of all

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