Joni and Friends Blog
Your Life of Service Shines for Jesus
Michael Panther, a former Cause 4 Life intern, is now a disability ministry leader spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. In addition to serving at Family Retreats and on Wheels for the World outreaches, Michael also collects wheelchairs through Chair Corps and lead a Harvest Project outreach last month to Kenya with Joni and Friends, delivering wheelchairs to children and adults with disabilities.
One morning, in the jungle of South Sudan (during the civil war), his village heard gunfire and everyone ran for safety. Michael, only three years old, lost his way in the forest and was without food, water and shelter for a couple days. Eventually, he was rescued by soldiers passing by and was re-united with his family.
As the years went by, Michael began feeling increasingly tired and could not walk for long distances. Michael and his father were flown to a refugee camp in Kenya, and there he was diagnosed with Spinal Tuberculosis. Michael endured multiple surgeries and his last operation left him in a wheelchair. Michael went through depression and did not want to live anymore…
While recovering, a nurse showed him Joni’s movie, and hope began to well up inside of him. Michael watched how God used Joni’s suffering to bring about an even greater good and glory to His name. He shared, “That was the point in my life when I said, Oh God, you can use me too in my wheelchair…”
Recently, Michael answered the call to serve on a recent Wheels for the World trip to Peru. At the wheelchair distribution, Michael shared his testimony and the love of Jesus with those he served through his skills and encouragement. When it was all over, lives were changed, including his own!