The following post was submitted by Nick Frey, Kentucky MM volunteer.
Wheelchair Day. Probably my favorite day of the week. It’s a simple premise with what we are doing: giving a wheelchair to someone who doesn’t have one. But the intensity and intimacy of giving the gift of mobility, something I and many others take for granted, is something I am glad to have experienced.
We had about an hour and a half ride to the community center, where we were to have the distribution. I rode in the truck with Jorge that morning and had a wide ranging conversation, but the conversation would always circle back around to Jesus. Even with my lack of Spanish and his close to average English, we talked the whole way, finding common ground with our love for the Lord.
Once we arrived to our destination, it was business as usual. We saw some familiar faces, said hello again, and started to getting all the chairs ready for our eager crowd. Saul spoke for a few minutes and then handed the microphone to Ben. Ben had been preparing his speech and joke for months and did an excellent job, even if the crowd didn’t laugh. Better luck next time Ben.
Then it was time to start with the wheelchair fittings. Time always seems to speed up when this starts. The excitement and nervousness of making sure I find the right chair, making sure it fits properly, and that the person sitting in front of me is comfortable, all the while not being able to communicate effectively, puts me in hurry mode. I constantly have to remind myself to slow down, take your time. These people have been waiting months and/or years, another few extra minutes will be okay.
Brittney and I were partnered together for awhile, which I really enjoyed. She has a very caring approach that made everyone we fitted feel comfortable and taken care of. We had some very happy people sitting in front of us and they weren’t shy about letting us know that.
My biggest highlight of the day was meeting Layla. We had quite of a lot of fabrication adjustments to do on our chairs, so I wasn’t able to look around and see how everyone else was doing and who they were fitting the chairs for. I had tunnel vision on the person and chair in front of me, but when Layla came by with her mother, Zander, and Nolan, He pointed her out to me.
Last summer, I was having a conversation with a coworker about our upcoming trip to Guatemala, and about what a week looks like for us down there, and all the things that Bethel is doing. The conversation led to Mission:Mobility, and he told me his daughter had broken her leg a while back, and he had a wheelchair sitting in his shed that he would like to donate. He brought the chair to me a few weeks later, and I kept in storage until a few months ago. In May, Ben and I took a load of equipment to Louisville to add to the Mission:Mobility container that was heading to Bethel. Neither of us had been part of a container load, so we were excited to be a part of that and spend some time with our friend Brad Clark.
The container made it to Bethel’s wheechair shop in six weeks. [arriving 2 weeks prior to our arriving in Guatemala for our mission trip!].
At the distribution, I noticed several chairs with Mission:Mobility Lousville stickers, that had been on the container sent down. Then I saw the chair that my coworker had donated the year before, and I was taken aback for a minute, just knowing the process and time it took to get that one chair to this distribution.
And then He pointed out Layla. I abandoned my post for a moment to go help my friends fit her for the chair that made it all the way from Murfreesboro, TN.
She was a sweet girl, very shy. She wasn’t used to attention from boys. So when she had three handsome guys getting real close, making sure all the adjustments were done properly, she would turn to her mom, with a look of “what’s going on?”. We started joking with her and mom, so she started to let her guard down a little and warmed up to us. By the time we were done, we were all laughing and having a good time. Her smile, her happiness, that’s what it is all about. That’s the why. It’s a great thing to share His love.