Spring 2012 Vital Link
The latest Vital Link newsletter (for March to July) is now available. Follow this link to download the PDF Spring 2012 Vital Link Newsletter.
Please get in touch (on 01372 749955 or by following this link to email us) if you have any problems downloading this, or if you’d like to receive future newsletters by post or email.
Kimilili wheelchair distribution
As our volunteers prepare to return to the UK, over 100 disabled people in Kimilili, Kenya, are enjoying their new-found mobility after receiving wheelchairs from our Wheels for the World programme.
This has been our 4th trip to Kimilili working with in-country partners IcFEM. 1158 wheelchairs (which would have been destined for landfill in the UK) are now being put to good use by their new owners.
After wheelchair transportation delays put the whole trip in jeopardy, we were delighted that everything came together in time to make this a really successful distribution. Regular team members were especially pleased to see Moses, a disabled man who had received his wheelchair on our very first visit in 2005.
The only negative aspect of the trip was that we ran out of children's wheelchairs and the team were very upset to have to turn away disabled children. We have suppliers of unwanted adult wheelchairs (though we'd be happy to have other offers!) but we'd be particularly glad to hear from anybody who can help provide much-needed children's wheelchairs - please do contact us if you can help.
News from Kenya
Wheels for the World volunteers arrived safely in Kimilili, Kenya at the end of last week and have already changed the lives of 52 disabled people, by giving them the gift of a properly fitted wheelchair or other mobility aid.
After church visits yesterday, the team are once again hard at work distributing wheelchairs at Angurai today. Two more distribution days based at IcFEM HQ will follow. We'll post news as we receive it.
If you are interested in joining a future Wheels for the World distribution, please do learn more by reading about our previous trips. You can apply to join a team by downloading an
If you would like to apply to go on a wheelchair distribution, please follow this link to download the 2014 International Missions application form and return it to our Wheels for the World Coordinator (the address is on the form).
Minus 15 in Moldova
“You will never forget this winter, all the days of your life,” laughed Doina, as our minibus sped (and slid) along snow-covered roads in temperatures of minus 15. Doina is the daughter of our Moldovan partners, Pastor Petru Chirica (who first connected with Through the Roof at our 2006 European conference in Bognor) and his wife, Antonina, of the Moldova Charity Mission for the Disabled (MCM).
Conditions like these would have brought the UK to a standstill, but it was business as usual for our hosts, the Chirica family. Despite illness forcing team-member Ian to withdraw at the last moment, the intrepid team (wearing five layers of clothing each!) ploughed through snow and ice to train pastors, teachers and community workers to include disabled people in Moldova, Europe’s poorest country.
We were also privileged to visit Gabi, Katjie and Anatol, three young disabled people, full of life and potential. However, all three are stuck at home, not because of the weather, but because typical Moldovan attitudes means there are no education, social or work opportunities for disabled people! Whilst I am very aware of this in Africa, Asia etc I was shocked that this is still the case in our own continent of ‘civilised’ Europe. These children’s example and MCM’s valuable support and input in their lives made us more determined to ‘speak up and defend the rights of the poor and needy’ (Proverbs 31:9) and highlight the value of disabled people.
Our team inspired, encouraged and challenged many people through the workshops we delivered. The results were that delegates wanted to adopt some of the ideas and methods we presented. After gathering together especially to meet our team, a group of social workers wanted to continue to meet and network in future. Also, encouragingly, two young people with visual disabilities were inspired by our disabled role model, Lena, who spoke about her personal experience of disability and Christian faith. They now wanted to make positive changes in their lives and follow in Lena’s footsteps as a positive ambassador to their peers!
Doina was right – I will never forget this icy experience, nor will any of us forget the waste of young disabled lives shut away from society. Our Integr8 programme will carry on doing everything possible to bring young disabled people into the light and be included in church and community life, to help change lives and work for the long-term building of a more inclusive society.
The 2012 Paralympics
The 2012 Paralympics (the world’s 3rd largest sporting event) takes place from Wednesday 29th August – Sunday 9th September. The Paralympics will offer opportunities for elite disabled sportsmen and women to use their gifts, experience community in teams, and use world-class accessible facilities. But the church has an even better offer – for all – of welcome, acceptance, love and using gifts in Christian community. We want to equip you and your church to seize the unique opportunity the Paralympics brings as an opportunity for mission. Check back to this page/post here for ideas and resources as we add them over the coming weeks.
To find out more about the sports, the athletes, and even try out the game of Boccia online, follow this link to visit the Channel 4 Paralympics website.
Ideas for mission, youth sessions and Sunday sermons will follow soon...
Jenny collects her MBE
Our DCF Coordinator, Jenny Edwards, went to Windsor Castle last week to collect her MBE for Services to Disabled People.
Jenny was thrilled to receive the award from Her Majesty The Queen, who commented that Jenny had been doing the work for a long time... and not to stop!
Accompanied by her sister and a friend from church, Jenny described the day as 'awesome'.
Congratulations once again to Jenny for this great recognition of her work.
Hand in Hand with Integr8
Integr8 had a stand at the Hand in Hand (children and families ministry) conference in Eastbourne recently, manned (or ‘womaned’ as Philippa puts it!) by Youth Ambassador Philippa, Project Manager Alan and TTR Trustee Alice.
I was a bit apprehensive at first because I'm used to speaking to captive audiences, or just attending conferences, so to sit behind a table and wait for people to speak to me was a new thing. I wasn't quite sure how it would work, because it would be hard for me to tell if anyone had stopped at our stand, or the stands next door, or if they were waiting for my attention, and if they addressed me, how would I know they were speaking to me? Alice and I came up with a suggestion, we weren't sure if it would work, but it was worth a try. Alice wrote on a piece of paper "Please say Hello Philippa, as I cannot see". I was surprised how many people responded to this - people actually did come up and speak to me!
A Parachute Bible Stories workshop run by Alan and Alice was attended by 65 people, and a number of people also expressed interest in our new Youth Encounter Groups venture.
For more information on Integr8, please see our Youth Zone.
To book Philippa to speak at your church or young people’s group, please email.