Joni and Friends Blog

The Need for Wheelchairs is Great

Despite an increasingly aggressive political climate, God opened a window for the Joni and Friends Central California team to travel safely to Haiti last month. Upon arrival, they set up for a week dedicated to meeting the physical and spiritual needs of families affected by disability in Pignon.

Follow their story to see how the wheelchairs you collect in your community make a difference in the lives of those with disability in one of the poorest nations in the world.

“We bumped and rolled through dusty roads, passing many abandoned roadblocks left by weary protesters on the four-hour trip from Port-au-Prince to Pignon, Haiti.”

When we arrived at our wheelchair distribution site on Monday morning we were met by a line of adults and children with disabilities, wrapped entirely around the church. These desperate, despairing faces greeted our team with extreme anticipation. They had been there since the early morning hours, content to wait as long as needed to receive a word of hope from their local pastor and a wheelchair that (for some) meant their very first encounter with mobility. 

As we began registration, we started hearing their stories. “Stroke”, “fever”, and “sudden illness” were a common thread when asked to describe the cause of their disabilities. Here in the United States, medical treatment is so easily accessible. But for the people of Pignon, a simple illness or wound can turn into a lifetime of infirmity. Many of the people impacted by disability who came to our outreach have lived their entire lives without proper medical care.

Elian Seraphin was one of our first-day wheelchair recipients. She is 65 years old and 10 years ago she suffered a stroke that resulted in complete paralysis on her left side. To get around, Elian would be carried by family members or have to drag herself across the ground.

The day Elian received a wheelchair, her life was forever changed. She was so elated she could not stop smiling, giggling, and calling members of our team over to wrap them in a grateful embrace! When asked what made her so happy, she replied, “I can now come to church and visit with friends.” For ten years, Elian was completely disconnected from her community. Now, she is able to access the Gospel at her local church and fellowship with her neighbors – her heart is filled with joy!

Stay tuned as we share more stories from our recent outreach in Pignon, Haiti.

Joni and Friends Central California

Send the hope of Christ and practical help to individuals and families impacted by disability.