Joni and Friends Blog

Wheelchairs For The Lord

I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with an inspiring story about serving Christ. 

And you are well aware that we need wheelchairs at Wheels for the World, and we depend on volunteers around the country to help us collect child-sized chairs, junior-sized wheelchairs, recliners, specialized wheelchairs, you name it. Each one gets refurbished by inmates at any one of the 15 prisons that Joni and Friends works with across AmericaThe inmates are working hard to restore those wheelchairs, and people like Dave and Carol Kaufman, they’re working hard to collect them. 

Nearly 20 years ago, this couple was driving in their car down a highway in OhioAnd they were listening to Christian radio in Ohio when suddenly, there came on a message from our Joni and Friends team announcing that we were looking for a volunteer with a box truck to help pick up local wheelchair donationsDave and Carol could not believe what they were hearing. The timing was amazing. They had just purchased a box truck a few weeks earlierThey were driving this box truck around, using it to serve other local ministries, and when they heard the message, they thought, “Wait a minute! We can do this; we can pick up wheelchairs for Wheels for the World. And that day, they felt called of the Lord 

So, Dave and Carol signed up to be Chair Corps volunteers, and God took them on a journey that was far bigger than they expected! Over the years, they have formed friendships with so many people who’ve donated wheelchairsAnd they’ve driven – oh, my goodness, boy, how they’ve driven! That old box truck traveled more than 20,000 miles for Wheels for the WorldThey picked up wheelchairs, and of course in Ohio, but they also traveled to Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan to pick up more chairs and take them to our prisonsAnd their passion for Wheels for the World spilled over into their friends and family. And it wasn’t long before Dave and Carol had a whole team of people collecting alongside them, including their children and grandchildren!  

Collecting wheelchairs has really taken off in Ohio, so much so that our storage space became way too crowdedSeveral local companies donated some square footage, but Dave and Carol then decided to take another step of faithAnd what did they do but purchase a warehouse! It permanently solved their storage limitations, and you can imagine the blessing this was for the rest of the volunteers for our Wheels for the World teamWe can now easily store more than 400 wheelchairs at a time in that new space, and it’s a good thing! Because Dave and Carol also host one of the most successful wheelchair drives in the country every AugustWith the support of the local Christian radio station, we gather almost 200 wheelchairs every year! 

And there’s one more thing you should know about this coupleThey are Colossians chapter 3 type people, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a rewardIt is the Lord Christ you are serving. For Dave and Carol, it’s all about Jesus, and the many disabled people who will find salvation through the gift of a wheelchair that they have helped collectNowyou don’t have to serve as big as Dave and Carol; you can just start right where you areHelp us collect used but serviceable wheelchairs, would you? March is wheelchair collection month, and we need you to sign up just like Carol and Dave did when they first heard that call 20 years ago on Christian radioSo, join the movement! Join our Wheels for the World Chair Corps team. Get all the details today at joniradio.org. For you will be serving not just people with disabilities, but the Lord Christ. And one day, you’re gonna receive a rich inheritance from Jesus as your reward. God bless you today and thanks for listening to Joni and Friends!

© Joni and Friends 

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