Churches Inc in Sierra Leone 2018 - Day 2
Through the Roof has a Churches Inc team in Sierra Leone for the next ten days. They'll be bringing a message of inclusion for disabled people, and working with the church and leaders there to help communities welcome, encourage, and support disabled people. Please pray for them on their trip - we'll bring you blog posts from them as often as they're able to send them through. Here's the team's report from the second day of work.
Today we met with around 16 community leaders including area chiefs. These stakeholders can play a significant role in changing attitudes within the community. We had excellent contributions from our Sierra Leonan speakers. Sahr Yillia spoke about the myth that disability is contagious, meaning children are not allowed to play with a child with disabilities or a pregnant lady is afraid that if a person with disabilities looks at her, her child will be born the same. He spoke of the need for leaders to show by their own willingness to interact with disabled people that this is untrue. A teacher was present who described one of their students with disabilities as 'troublesome'. Sahr responded, 'people say that disabled people are troublesome but I say that disabled people are positively troublesome'. A man with polio agreed explaining that in school he was always left holding the bags in PE. One day he grabbed the football and held onto it and would not let go. The head teacher asked 'why are you being so troublesome?' He replied, 'I just want to be included in the game'.
Churches Inc in Sierra Leone 2018 - Day 1
Through the Roof has a Churches Inc team in Sierra Leone for the next ten days. They'll be bringing a message of inclusion for disabled people, and working with the church and leaders there to help communities welcome, encourage, and support disabled people. Please pray for them on their trip - we'll bring you blog posts from them as often as they're able to send them through. Here's the team's report from their journey, and the first day of presenting events.
We had a smooth flight to Sierra Leone. After a choppy ferry ride in the dark, which felt a bit like a theme park ride, we arrived in Freetown. On Thursday we met Anna's dedicated team who have been working hard to prepare for our events. On Friday, we had our first leader's event with 40 pastors. The program was a mix of bible teaching sessions, personal stories, and reflection. There was a very positive atmosphere where the pastors showed a lot of willingness to listen and to engage in discussion groups. Sahr Yillia, a disability advocate from Sierra Leone shared his story of becoming blind through measles and having to move from village to village for his own protection because he was blamed for any misfortune in that community. Sahr challenged the pastors, saying that "negative traditions have destroyed what God has made...some ministers have labelled disabled children as responsible for your poverty. I have witnessed children being burned or thrown into the bush". We asked questions such as "what can you as a local church leader do?" Responses included preach Christ to them, show much love, tell them they are made in God's image and to accept themselves, and take the church to them.
Wheelsblog - Kenya 2018 - Back Home, Final Thoughts
The Wheels for the World team are now back home after ten days bringing wheelchairs to disabled people around the area, and changing lives with the gift of mobility. In this final blog, team member Jill sums up what the trip has meant to the whole team, and the amazing changes and God-prompted moments they've seen. Thank you for your support through this whole trip!
By now each team member will have returned home and probably have been recounting their adventures with family, a friends and their local church members. It is difficult to sum up the work the team has been doing but it is obvious that many people have had a life changing experience. Time and again carers said that the provision of a wheelchair would lift the burden they have carried for many years. As a direct result of the publicity the Centre has received during our distribution, Pastor Davis has been given a salon hair dryer for his mothers on their Beauty Course and ten white canes for visually impaired people.
We saw God’s intervention right up to the end of the trip. Andy and Jill needed to return to the Centre early Friday morning before leaving for Nairobi. On arrival they found the Medical Superintendent for Nakuru Hospital had just arrived to collect a wheelchair, since he had heard about the distribution and wanted one for use in his hospital. ‘It so happened’ that Pastor Davis had accompanied Andy and Jill so he was able to ask the caretaker to unlock the room where the remaining equipment was stored so we could give out the 118th wheelchair. Only God could have orchestrated everyone to be in the right place at the right time, as 10 minutes later we would be
having our final team meeting in the hotel.
Our pastor, Susan, has had the privilege of praying with almost every client and has written the following: “Carry ‘everything’ to God in prayer - our Heavenly Father loves us, delights in his children and neither slumbers or sleeps. So when I think about carrying ‘everyone’ to God in prayer it includes a child who has hemiplegia and is blind and deaf; the blind man; the child who has never walked and now walks with an adapted Zimmer frame. What is it to carry? I think of the mother who has carried her daughter for 36 years and now has a wheelchair!
A 66 year old man cries with thankfulness, an older man sings praise to God and a young boy with crutches sings in his own language how great God is, Amen, how awesome God is and how amazing God is! The angels in heaven rejoice as a young girl of 14, a man aged 60 and a mother and father all ask to learn about Jesus and confess Jesus as Lord . . . .and this was just the first day. I had the privilege of offering the Bible to each individual in Kiswahili or Kikuyu. Some asked for English Bibles and 4 Gideon New Testament and Psalms were given out. Every Bible showed verses to help when facing fear, weariness, needing wisdom etc. Rejoice, again I say rejoice in the
love, grace and mercy of our God.
Although we leave the work continues. We were distressed to hear from Pastor Davis last night that 74 people were camping in church due to intertribal fighting and they had taken one child to hospital. Please pray for a quick resolution of the problem and wisdom as Pastor Davis and his team support those in great need. Today, Michael, our team member from Kimilili, posted that he had pushed Dylan to church in his new wheelchair. Apparently there were lots of ‘shocked, popped out eyes’ as they saw Dylan, so he asks for prayer that the children in his church will be able to accept and learn to include this boy in the church family.
As a team we would like to thank you for following our Blog and supporting us in prayer. We know that without your input we could not have completed this task and seen God work in so many amazing ways. THANK YOU.
Wheelsblog Kenya 2018 - Day 9 (Final Day)
The Wheels for the World team are returning from Kenya after ten days bringing wheelchairs to disabled people around the area, and changing lives with the gift of mobility. In this blog, team member Jill sums up the final day of distribution, and looks at all the in-country work that goes into these trips. Thank you for your support - please keep praying for the team as they head home, and for all the people who's lives have been changed by their work.
This was our final day and it resulted in the busiest afternoon of the trip as 8 children came from an orphanage early afternoon. Many had complex problems but appeared cognitively alert and there was great camaraderie and friendship amongst the group. One little boy could not settle in the treatment room until he was reassured that his friend would also receive a chair. Once his friend was brought into the room he gave the thumbs up and the therapist could continue her work.
Another little boy was brought in and we were told that he was 8 years old, but it was hard to believe as he appeared the size of a 2 year old. He was not able to sit up as he was very floppy and his lethargy was due to his severe malnutrition. The social worker had made contact with the family two days prior and instead of attending to his nutritional care as an immediate issue they came to receive a wheelchair. We advised that the boy went to hospital to get his nutritional needs met first and the therapists agreed Pastor Davis would hold the chair until he was strong enough to be able to sit in it safety. Some of the children beamed when they were seated as for the first time they could look around without looking up as they do when crawling.
Whilst the team have been enjoying summer sunshine an elderly lady came in wearing a fur coat! She was 86 and was carried in by her son which was extremely undignified. Unfortunately the chair did not have a strap so it was decided to use the sewing machine to sow velcro onto webbing. Unfortunately the cotton and the sewing machine were in such poor condition that Gunn resorted to getting out her needle and thread and sewing it herself as what appeared a simple task had become very frustrating.
Pastor Davis runs training programmes for dress making, knitting, and hair and beauty to empower the ladies who have their children in the Centre to be independent. Those ladies helped during the distribution by sewing cushions for the team, cooking meals, providing endless cups of tea and supporting us in prayer. We are so grateful for the involvement of many church members and it seems impossible that we have only known each other for 10 days as the deep level of friendship and fellowship has developed. ‘Bind us Together’ became our common song for both teams as we sang it before and after each day’s work with Philip being our choir master!
Wheelsblog - Kenya 2018: Day 8
The Wheels for the World team are working around Elburgon, Kenya from the 5th to 15th September, bringing wheelchairs to disabled people around the area, and changing lives with the gift of mobility. In this blog, team member Jill, talks about some of the children at the distribution - it takes a great deal of ingenuity and team work to serve people with complex needs in limited circumstances. Thanks to your support, the team have changed many dozens of lives!
Today we saw a young lad of 17 who had received a wheelchair in 2016 and shortly afterwards became involved in the sport of wheelchair racing. He was so successful operating his wheelchair that he is now an official member of the club and has been selected for the national team. Next February he is competing in Nairobi using the racing chair which has been provided by his sports club. Unfortunately his ‘home’ chair has broken so he has been forced to crawl around the house which is very undignified and does nothing for his self esteem. Needless to say he was thrilled a with his new wheelchair.
Around noon a group of 10 children arrived from a boarding school. Some of them had very complex needs so the therapists and techies worked until dusk. Some children had to wait many hours until they could go home on the school bus so Michael organised balloon games. It was wonderful to watch these kids interact with their not-disabled friends accompanied by peals of laughter.
The day ended with an interesting walk through the the rain to Pastor Davis and Ruth’s house. It is hard enough to avoid the gullies, rocks, pot holes and livestock in the daylight let alone in the dark by torch light! Our perseverance, however, was well rewarded by another delicious meal and lots of laughter before presenting our hosts with gifts. Yesterday Pastor Davis swapped roles and became a ‘techie’ during the village outreach so he was given a multi tool kit in recognition of his new skills.
Wheelsblog - Kenya 2018: Day 7
The Wheels for the World team are working around Elburgon, Kenya from the 5th to 15th September, bringing wheelchairs to disabled people around the area, and changing lives with the gift of mobility. We'll be putting up their blog posts just as often as the internet connection lets them send them. In this blog, team member Jill, recounts a small team trip to the village of Mariashoni, as well as the action from the main distribution centre. Please do keep praying for everyone involved with the distribution, and for everyone who receives a chair or mobility aid.
Our day started with Team Time in the hotel garden enjoying the sunshine before we went to the Centre. On arrival there were only sheep and chickens to greet us but soon clients arrived on motor bikes, taxis and foot waiting to be registered.
Today we sent a small team to the remote village of Mariashoni, 12km from town, which takes about an hour to reach due to poor road conditions. The team worked outside and were soon surrounded by what seemed like hundreds of pairs of eyes gazing at their skills. They saw 18 clients in a very short period of time as they had to return before dusk. As it happened they had to push the car out of the mud, which does not always come in the job description of a Wheels Team member!
Pastor Davis has formed a special link with the village and was delighted that 5 men gave their lives to Jesus and promised to stop drinking. He knows a village family who live in a dark small mud hut 12’x10’ so is currently building a new house for them since water rushes under the boy’s mattress when it rains and comes through the roof. Two years ago our team provided the young boy with hydrocephalus with a wheelchair so he is able to go outside and sit in comfort.
Back at base there was a sudden burst of activity late afternoon as a bus load of mothers with very disabled children arrived at the same time as several loud bursts of thunder. Their journey had taken more than three hours and after everyone had been given a wheelchair or mobility aid they had another long, journey home arriving well after dark. Whilst waiting to see the therapist Pastor Michael entertained the children with Grandpa Puppet and bubbles.
There were many ingenious solutions for complex seating and mobility issues now that many of the small children’s chairs have been distributed and only adult size chairs are available. ‘Creative foam solutions’ are being refined and soft cushions using offcuts of foam save an enormous amount of time to provide corrective positioning. In addition, pulling the foam and filling the covers provides light relief for all concerned even if you do finish up looking like a foam snowman.
An adult frame was cut down to provide a walking aid for a small boy and hopefully it will not be long before he will be able to see over the top. Thankfully the rain held off until most of the work was done, but when it came barrels were put out to catch the rain for flushing the toilet. How much we we take flushing loos for granted!
Stories from Kenya: Wheelsblog Kenya 2018 - Day 6
The Wheels for the World team are working around Elburgon, Kenya from the 5th to 15th September, bringing wheelchairs to disabled people around the area, and changing lives with the gift of mobility. We'll be putting up their blog posts just as often as the internet connection lets them send them - here's just one story of many from Day 6 from team member Jill. Please do keep praying for everyone involved with the distribution, and for everyone who receives a chair or mobility aid.
Josephine is a 50 year old lady who had polio aged 12. She attended a school for the disabled where she was given callipers. She has been a single parent but her sons are at boarding school now, and she lives alone. She arrived in a taxi, following a 3 hour journey, and struggled with elbow crutches and callipers to walk to the distribution.
Her walking was very laboured as both her feet turned in, and her hips did not extend, so her back was hollowed and callipers held her knees straight. She rose from the chair by turning over and pushing on her arms.
On discussion there was some misunderstanding as I thought she was able to crawl without the callipers, so I asked her to take them off. Her legs were completely flaccid and lifeless. I asked her to get in the wheelchair and she said she would be unable to do this without her callipers, so we put them back on and she got up and sat in the chair we had found for her. She was happy to sit with her legs sticking out in front, and able to propel the chair and move about without so much pain and effort. She was pleased with the chair, and we were really glad to see her able to move about more easily, and have greater accessibility to her tailoring business.
Wheelsblog: Kenya 2018, Day 5
The Wheels for the World team are working around Elburgon, Kenya from the 5th to 15th September, bringing wheelchairs to disabled people around the area, and changing lives with the gift of mobility. We'll be putting up their blog posts just as often as the internet connection lets them send them - here's a day 5's report from team member Jill, where the team visited our partner Pastor Davis' church. Please do keep praying for everyone involved with the distribution, and for everyone who receives a chair or mobility aid.
Off to the Abundant Hope of Glory Church for an energetic, dynamic and enthusiastic time of worship. Each group in the church had their own ‘slot’ coming up the aisle singing and swaying to share their song, dance and their love of the Lord with the congregation. When the Youth Group worshipped the Masai dancing / jumping was amazing and Smati, who is profoundly disabled, joined in worship as Michael, our children’s pastor, danced in carrying her. Her smile radiated her joy at being fully included as during the rest of service she lay on a mat still smiling. It was a joy to experience a fully inclusive church.
During the service Pastor Davis spoke on the prophetic message in Isaiah and used the example of the lion we saw yesterday stalking her prey to explain about Jesus the Good Shepherd who walks ahead of us and no enemy can attack us when we are with Jesus. Team members were then introduced and shared about various aspects of the trip so far before giving gifts of percussion instruments to the Sunday School.
After church we headed for our lunch stop at the local “butchery” where we had a great time eating local goat in Kenyan style with our fingers. Some people then went to the market seeking a bargain, especially Kenyan material for dressmaking, whilst others headed back to the hotel for a rest before the evening meal when Pastor Davis and his wife joined us. After an action packed, but extraordinary weekend it is back to work tomorrow.
Wheelsblog Kenya 2018 - Days 1 to 3
The Wheels for the World team are working around Elburgon, Kenya from the 5th to 15th September, bringing wheelchairs to disabled people around the area, and changing lives with the gift of mobility. We'll be putting up their blog posts just as often as the internet connection lets them send them - here's a condensed report from team member Jill on the first three days of the trip. Please do keep praying for everyone involved with the distribution, and for everyone who receives a chair or mobility aid.
We had an excellent journey and our large team of 11, compared with a team of 5 in 2016, have arrived safely and settled into the accommodation. We are waiting to watch many lives transformed through the gift of a wheelchair, mobility aid and bible.
The container was considerably delayed and still at Mombassa when the team arrived. After much prayer Pastor Davis flew to Mombassa again, having already spent days previously travelling on a bus, (1200km round trip) without successful clearance. This time he was able to contact government officials and with their intervention the container was released and driven overnight to arrive at the Centre early Friday morning.... with God nothing is impossible.
On Friday after sorting the equipment and setting up work stations we began work. There were many complex cases involving team discussions but after an 11 hour day the team had seen 33 clients. Michael, a Children’s pastor in Kimilili, has joined the team and is using hand puppets to tell about God’s love. Many children took home knitted puppets to share stories with their families. We are being well served by the team from Pastor Davis’ church and ladies in the kitchen are preparing lunch for us each day.
After 3 long and exhausting days the team are going on safari tomorrow and are hoping to see a wide variety of animals before returning to explore our local town (follow this link to read Day 4's report about this trip). We shall be joining Pastor Davis’ congregation on Sunday to experience a truly African welcome as we share a little about the work of Wheels for the World.
Day 4 - Wheelsblog, Kenya 2018
The Wheels for the World team are working around Elburgon, Kenya from the 5th to 15th September, bringing wheelchairs to disabled people around the area, and changing lives with the gift of mobility. We'll be putting up their blog posts just as often as the internet connection lets them send them - here's team member Jill's report from Day 4 of the trip, their rest day around the Nakura Lake National Park.
We had the most amazing day visiting Nakuru Lake National Park for a morning safari. It was well worth the early start (6:00 am!) as we watched the mist rising and the sun come up over the hills. The first animals we saw was a herd of buffalo, quickly followed by zebra, baboons, warthog, antelopes (Impala, and Thompson gazelles). We were extremely fortunate to briefly see a lion, not realising that later in the trip we would have a very close up view of ‘The King of the Jungle’ with his lioness resting closely under a tree. At the end of our trip we even followed a lioness whilst she was stalking a herd of zebra. Even the guide was amazed at our good fortune!
We also happened upon a herd of giraffes, whose nick name was white socks, a white rhino and the usual selection of buffalo, warthog, jackal and Impala. Other sightings included multi-coloured ‘superb starlings’, black and white kingfishers, egrets, a pelican, ostrich and a flock of shimmering pink flamingoes.
Another fascinating sight were the hundreds of dead trees that lined the shores of the lake, standing upright but dying due to increased salt content, casting beautiful tranquil reflections. We praise God for his beautiful creation and a day that surpassed our expectations.