Listen to the story of how one young boy’s wheelchair became a gift of mobility and a tool to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a disabled woman oversees through Wheels for the World.
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a heartwarming story.
It’s of a very special little boy named Joey and his older sister, Jasmine. She has always had a special affection for her 13-year-old little brother in his cute junior-sized wheelchair. Joey has spina bifida, but this little guy was one awesome kid and you didn’t have to spend much time with him before you, too, would be drawn in by his smile, his gentle spirit and soft, sweet eyes. When Jasmine’s family, including Joey, came to Family Retreat, they had a blast! Not long ago, though, Joey contracted a severe infection. The infection got worse and he just wasn’t able to throw it off; the little boy passed away from blood poisoning. The family was devastated — especially his older sister. Jasmine would look at Joey’s little empty wheelchair sitting in the corner, and it made her so sad. But then she had an idea: she decided to donate Joey’s junior-sized wheelchair to our Wheels for the World outreach — plus, it was also her idea to follow that wheelchair where she could personally help fit it to some other little disabled boy in some needy part of the world.
Five months after Joey’s death, Jasmine boarded a plane with Joey’s wheelchair and began the long journey with our Wheels for the World team to Thailand. Jasmine prayed and looked for that special little boy who might receive her brother’s wheelchair. After three full days at wheelchair distributing, still, no one like Joey came to the distribution. On the last day, however, our physical therapist asked Jasmine to come and meet a 31-year-old, slightly built woman. Sompong her name was, and she had polio. Sompong had such a tiny frame, that as soon as Jasmine saw her beautiful smile, her gentle spirit, and those soft, sweet eyes, she knew this was the one who should receive Joey’s wheelchair. When Sompong was placed into Joey’s chair, her joy absolutely overflowed because she fit that chair perfectly.
Originally, Jasmine had thought her little brother’s wheelchair would go to a child, another disabled boy like Joey. But as Sompong went through her final fitting in Joey’s chair, Jasmine realized God's plan was so much better — because where a child would not have understood fully why Jasmine was in Thailand with her brother’s wheelchair and all that it meant, Sompong, a 31-year-old woman, was able to easily grasp what was going on. She saw the tears in Jasmine’s eyes and this Thai woman knew the importance of the gift, much more so than any child would.
And the crowning touch? An evangelist from Thailand came and shared the Gospel of Jesus with Sompong and her mother—he also explained that this wheelchair was ultimately a gift from Jesus Christ. It was then that Sompong bowed her head and prayed to receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Everyone shed more tears of joy as Jasmine embraced Sompong as her sister in the Lord. Only heaven could have written such a perfect ending.
Hey, you’ve just got to see a wonderful video of Jasmine describing this whole story, complete with photos of Joey in his wheelchair, and Sompong and her mother! Don’t miss this soul-stirring video — because the story doesn’t end with Sompong. You will never believe what happened next! Just go to my radio page today at joniandfriends.org; it’s posted right there for you to see. But don’t forget to have a box of tissue handy, it’s really something! And please be praying as our Wheels for the World team returned from El Salvador yesterday, and another team heads out in a couple of weeks for the Dominican Republic. Ask the Lord to write many more happy endings in the lives of people like Jasmine and Sompong.
© Joni and Friends
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