Thailand (MNN) — This February, a woman named Propasson received her very
first wheelchair from a Joni and Friends Wheels for the World team in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She beamed joyfully as a Wheels for the World
therapist and mechanic made adjustments to the wheelchair.
"This is truly the first day of Propasson's life," said her
mother, Nidda. "The wheelchair will set her free."
Propasson suffers from cerebral palsy and has not left her
home for 32 years. She has never
received medical attention, therapy, or schooling to stimulate her active
"I work many jobs to feed us," Nidda said. "I work far away,
so I must leave a bowl of sticky rice for Propasson every morning. She is alone
all day and is able to feed herself from the bowl. To move or use the bathroom,
she must crawl."
Wheels for the World shared the Gospel with Nidda and gave
her a Bible. Her eyes filled with tears
as she heard the Good News of the God who loves her and her daughter.
"Today I have met the new God," she said very softly. "Jesus
Christ is His name. I have never heard that name. It is the beautiful name that
The team partnered with Thai missionaries and churches to
distribute wheelchairs and other equipment, as well as books written by Joni
Eareckson Tada. Most of the 64 million
people in Thailand
are Buddhist, but the country is very tolerant of other religions.
According to the World Health Organization, about 20-30
million wheelchairs are needed around the world. In some countries, a wheelchair costs as much
as a year's wages. People in need of
wheelchairs are isolated, cut off from the local church and from any chance to
hear the Gospel.
As of 2006, Wheels for the World had distributed more than 38,000
wheelchairs in more than 86 countries, including 10,000 wheelchairs in the year
of 2006. Along the way, it has trained
congregations all over the world to minister to the physical and spiritual
needs of the disabled.