I’m so excited to share about the great short term missions opportunity that I had to travel with Wheels for the World (WFTW), part of the Joni and Friends Organization to the coastal town of Niteroí which is located across the bay from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Since I was 11 years old, God had placed upon my heart a desire to be a physical therapist (PT) because I loved to be active and wanted to help people in a physical way. I became a Christian during PT school and by His grace, throughout the years have learned what it means to serve the Lord through my profession and my skills as a PT. This trip to Brazil was my second trip with WFTW, having gone to Trujillo, Peru last October.
The team consisted of the same team leaders and a few others from my previous trip as well as being joined by new members who were from the east coast and mid-west. By God’s grace, we all made to Brazil and back without any traveling issues, we all survived the week with good health (we saw no mosquitos) and most importantly we were able to come and work together so cohesively for the glory of God to serve the people of Niteroí.
We fit over 200 wheelchairs that had been donated, refurbished by prisoners in the US and then shipped to Brazil. People came from near and as far as a 7-hour bus ride away to receive a wheelchair, Bible and hear the gospel. The days were long and the chair selection was few for the types of people that we were fitting, especially the children, but God was faithful in providing all that we needed. I fitted many adults with paraplegia and stroke and many children with cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. By the end of the week, almost every person who came was able to be fitted for a wheelchair. In addition, according to my team leader, almost 200 people prayed to receive Christ after hearing the gospel.
Every person who came through the doors had a story of their disabled loved one, but what an encouragement it was to see the joy and dedication each person had in wanting a chair that could help improve the quality of life, even if the chair didn’t fit perfectly. Throughout the week, the Lord also revealed to me my own struggle of perfection, wanting to fit each person with the “Right” chair. I was reminded daily that WFTW is not about the wheels, but it’s about sharing the gospel and demonstrating God’s love by stewarding the gifts He has blessed each one of us with. I was also reminded of God’s faithfulness in providing everything we needed to fit a chair even if meant drilling holes, unscrewing things, and modifying parts that could take up to 3 hours to complete.
As my team leader once said, at the end of the day the wheelchair will break down, it will fall apart because it is temporary, but what really matters is that each person and family/friend who came to receive the chair also received the good news of the gospel and that is an eternal thing. I am so privileged to be a part of WFTW because I am reminded that the skills that I have as PT were given to me by the grace of God and I am to use those skills to further His kingdom by serving others through this missions trip.
I truly thank all of you who prayed and supported me for this trip, praise God for the ways He has also used you to serve these people! And coming soon another WFTW trip in October to Chimbote, Peru.
Obrigado (Thank you),