Jordan - Wheels
Dates: October 17 - 29
Ministry Partner: Joni and Friends
Ministry Focus: Wheelchair distribution, medical outreach
We are excited to again partner with Joni and Friends in Jordan with a wheelchair distribution ministry. We will again show Christ's love to the disabled and their families in Amman. This team will include occupational therapists, physical therapists, and those handy with tools.
Updated Monday, October 28
The Jordan Wheels team arrived home safely yesterday, flying out of their layover in Newark shortly before the airport was closed because of the arriving hurricane! Thank you for praying for their impact in such an important part of the world, among people who are often forgotten unless the love of Christ reaches them.
Updated Sunday, October 28
E-mail from Monique
Greetings - Marhaba!
Our Saturday, Monday,
Tuesday and Wednesday were days full of matching wheelchairs to new recipients
from various locations in Amman, and from villages to the north and to the
east. Here are a few pictures of the work:
Above left, Gene adjusts a pediatric chair for a young girl. Above right, therapist Frank checks adjustments with Pastor Joseph looking on.
This young lady can walk slowly with a walker, so she was given both a chair as
well as a walker to give her the opportunity to strengthen her ability to walk.
This young girl (above left) who was carried in, barefooted,
received a pediatric chair with its own tray for multiple uses, as well as new
sandals from Children's Hunger Fund.
(Right) We were invited to bring
our tools and a selection of 40 wheelchairs to the Hashemite Commission for
Disabled Veterans' Rehabilitation Center in West Amman. There, we fitted
both veterans and members of the public. The female Army Captain in the picture with me had a spinal cord
injury and a sleek chair of her own...but she stopped by to encourage the
recipients at the distribution and to meet the team. It was a joy to meet
her...she was an encouragement to us as well!
Volunteer team members
from India, West Bank, Jordan (one therapist, two mechanics and multiple
translators), and the US joined our hosts and worked together with joy and
harmony, even through long days. Appointments began at 9 AM and we often
worked until 5 or 6 PM.
One family from Syria had endured unspeakable
heartache, as men entered their home and took the lives of their children
before their very eyes, and then wounded the mother. She was fitted with
a wheelchair and even as we grieved for their loss, we were grateful to have
the opportunity to show kindness and compassion, and pray for their wounded
hearts. They received Joni's life story and we hope that will bring
encouragement and comfort.
There are more stories
to tell...and as they make their way into letter form, I will continue to write
and send them! Thank you for remembering us - we can sense your
partnership from afar as the endurance and delight continue to keep us
enthusiastically serving people with disabilities this week!
Shalom, Salam, Peace
Updated Tuesday, October 23
E-mail from Monique
Our third day here is
history in this place of ancient structures and modern construction. In
my last update, I forgot to mention that *George, the gentleman who delivers
many of our host's supplies for humanitarian aid and for our wheelchair
distribution, brought one of his teenage sons to be seen by our therapist, Luke
(from Alabama) as he has been suffering with severe knee and leg pain and
swelling for some time and they are concerned about loss of mobility.
Bringing x-rays to consult, Luke spent a little time with George's son and was
able to recommend a series of exercises to strengthen his knees and aid his
ability to walk and
stand. There was
relief on their faces when they learned of Luke's recommendations and it was a
joy to bring blessing to this family who participates in helping others.
Highlights from Saturday:
A friend in the north
rented vans and a truck in order to drive around his area for an hour and a
half, picking up people with disabilities that need wheelchairs and bringing
them (and their families) to our distribution site....the truck was needed to
transport the newly-fitted chairs back home.
One young woman, dressed in
a long coat, with head covered and face veiled was fitted with a sleek black
chair. After the adjustments. she remarked "I never thought a chair
could be this
host, Jamal, spoke with her about Joni Eareckson Tada, whose organization
founded Wheels for the World, showing Joni's photo on his phone and
offering her a copy of Joni's biography. She was eager to read it
and she said, "I want to encourage other people like me the way Joni has
encouraged us today."
A darling elderly lady
with a smile that revealed two missing teeth and white hair pulled back under
her headscarf, was so thrilled with her comfortable new chair and cushions that
she asked her physical therapist, Celeste (from Colorado), and mechanic,
Sudakar (from India) if, now that they did such a good job helping her get a
new chair, could they please help her with her teeth! We all
enjoyed her cheerful sense of humor as she and her son completed the
Kami and her translator,
Rachel, visited with families with children as they waited in the reception
area and had the fun task of delivering Operation Christmas Child gift boxes to
each of the waiting children.
After the last fitting,
we had a few hours of daylight left so the group prepared the site for our next
distribution day (Monday) and then headed out for a short tour of The Citadel,
site of ancient Nabataean and Roman ruins before the historical park
closed. We walked among the remains of the columns of the Temple of
Hercules, the amphitheater, underground cisterns and the stones of an ancient
church, and walked through the museum. We enjoyed a tasty Jordanian feast
in Jamal's home that evening. (Both the ancient site and the delicious
meal are well-earned treats for those who volunteer for distributions in the
Middle East. Does that sound like I'm recruiting for future trips??)
Updated Saturday, October 20
E-mail from Monique
Greetings - Ahalan!
First full day in Amman
and everyone here is eager and energetic...I didn't see any heavy eyelids at 3
in the afternoon...the time our first wheelchair recipients came for fittings!
We began the day with a
morning orientation to the culture of our adopted home for the next ten days,
and in preparation of the tasks ahead of us a thought-provoking encouragement
from team leader, Gene, reminded us about our main focus: to serve with
compassion and harmony.
One highlight from last year's distribution was
shared regarding *George, the gentleman who often procures supplies for our
hosts - Jamal and Rami's humanitarian work (food box ingredients for families
and backpacks for children, etc.) as well as foam and wood and vinyl supplies
needed for the distribution of wheelchairs. George is an industrious
single father to 5 children, a man from a traditional Christian
background. He brought supplies to last year's distribution on a few
occasions and was deeply touched by the compassion he saw at work among people
with disabilities and their families. A few weeks after that event, he
had to talk with Jamal about what he had experienced and seek the source of the
love that he had seen. He found grace for his own heart that day, and he
is sharing it with his family. We are now eager to see how lives will be
touched this year. (* not his Arabic name)
We then headed off to
the distribution site where the wheelchairs were stored...which proved a
challenge as Amman's annual marathon blocked off many of the roads until the
afternoon....so we had an interesting drive through Amman's narrow, winding
streets! The wheelchairs had been shipped in layers of protective plastic
wrap which required many hands to cut free. Therapists directed the
organization of the chairs by size and function in order to be able to locate
chairs quickly when fittings were in process. Mechanics set up their
tools and work stations as well as the cushion technician station (for me, Kami
and Barbara) where supporting cushions will be hand-crafted. Blessings
over the chairs and their future recipients, and then a tasty lunch of
shawarma, potato crisps and Suzanne's orange cake, and we were getting final
cleaning and set up completed just in time for our first of 10 wheelchair
recipients...both adults and children.
One family came with
their darling 12-yr-old son. frail and unable to walk, with severe scoliosis of
the spine. He received a pediatric Regency chair with great additional
support for his torso, his head and his feet. He was all smiles as the
work tray designed to fit to the arm rests was slid into place. His
father was in tears, and his mother, although covered completely except for her
eyes, was smiling broadly...you could see her eyes dancing and hear the joy in
her voice. The dad's mother was also in need of a wheelchair, and she was
fitted and then Gene provided instruction on proper use of the chairs on curbs
and stairs. The young mother remarked that she had never received such
gifts from their imam, even when they had asked for help. They went home
with two gifts of mobility and the seeds of new hope in their hearts.
First day's work wrapped
by 6 o'clock and was a good warm up for longer days of distribution
ahead! We are encouraged, and ready for a good night's sleep!
Updated Thursday, Oct 18
E-mail from Monique
Greetings - Ahalan!
Just a quick note before getting to sleep horizontally (sounds blissful after a
night sleeping on a plane on a 88 degree angle!) that we have all arrived
safely without any luggage missing! Our volunteers from other places
(India and the West Bank) are also here. Thank you for your prayers for
In the morning we will begin orientation and then prepare
for distribution by unwrapping the wheelchairs (shipped in plastic wrap) and
organizing them by size and features. We just learned that we actually have
some appointments for custom-fitting chairs tomorrow afternoon, so pray we will
be able to work efficiently and effectively as we prepare in the morning!
(and pray for minimal jet lag symptoms so that our processes will function at
May the Master cause us to be a blessing to the wheelchair recipients, to our
partners and to all we meet tomorrow.
P.S.: Airplane seat
recline buttons shouldn't be allowed to be called "recline" when they
only adjust your seat back by 2 degrees. But we just rode safely on seats a
mile high in the sky for a kazillion miles and we got here safely, so I don't
want to be anything but grateful! It's great to be here!