Joni and Friends Blog
The Wheelchair Project
God is doing amazing things in Thailand! I recently had the privilege to visit our partner, the Wheelchair Project, in Chiang Mai and connect with pastors who are involved in disability ministry there, in Chiang Rai, and in Bangkok. The Wheelchair Project is a public service sponsored by the Royal Princess through which the government’s health department provides wheelchairs, physical therapy, and other special therapies through a vast network of public hospitals and clinics around the country. We work with our church partners to distribute through this network.
Those with disabilities in the big cities are often forced to make money by selling lottery tickets on the streets. Organized crime oppresses them, and they only receive a small portion of what they sell. Traffic in Thailand is dangerous, as vehicles of all shapes, sizes, and levels of road-worthiness jam the streets. Air quality warnings are common, and many people wear masks when they’re outdoors so they can breathe normally. Changes to the environment to improve access are rare, which makes it tough for wheelchair users and others with disabilities to get around.
But God continues to bring hope through His church, His Word, and disability ministry. Pastors are beginning to see the desperate need and understand that the Great Commission includes reaching those affected by disabilities. I met with five pastors who are leading efforts in their churches to establish disability ministries and desire to participate in wheelchair distributions as a practical way to show Christ’s love and proclaim the gospel. Some are taking steps to provide respite care, transportation to and from church, and receive training in disability ministry.
We’ve been blessed to see growth and opportunity in wheelchair distribution since we’ve been serving in Thailand for the past 15 years and as we look toward the future. Currently, we send approximately 1,000 wheelchairs to Thailand per year, which is just scratching the surface and there is a need to send more.
Statistically, there are over 8 million people in Bangkok, and over 400,000 are affected by disabilities in just this one city.* Please pray for the church in Thailand, as we equip her to reach countless numbers of those affected by disabilities for Christ.
A person with limited mobility is tragically often excluded from life in their community because they have no way of moving around. But the gift of a wheelchair literally lifts someone from the dirt to a seat of dignity and opportunity.
Learn how you can get involved by donating a wheelchair, serving on an international outreach, or giving so that wheelchairs can be restored and sent to someone in need.