Last Thursday we traveled into one of the bigger towns nearby expecting only to attend to some basic business matters before returning home; however, the Lord had something more important in mind. While waiting in line we noticed a man sitting on the ground, all slumped over. Although his legs were tucked beneath him, they were obviously malformed and smaller than Michael's. Looking a bit closer, it seemed that this man was strangely familiar....
Could it be?? Is it possible??"Excuse me, sir, where do you live?" I asked, gently rubbing his arm to get his attention. He reluctantly lifted his head with a scowl, but began laughing when he recognized our family and said, "Nuevo Mundo, don't you remember?" Yes, of course I remember!! How could I forget? Sitting before me was the inspiration for the wheelchair ministry we did earlier this year; the ministry that allowed us to give the gift of mobility to over 40 individuals. Sitting before me was the man that we had been looking for since July 2016.
If you haven't read the story of how our wheelchair ministry started, please go to the blog post titled "Free Wheelchair Distribution Party".
Our friend, Ezekiel, was excited by the possibility of receiving a wheelchair and agreed to meet us at a nearby gas station a couple days later. As we bid farewell, we begged the Lord to make straight our path, to remove any obstacles and allow our planned meeting to happen.
This morning, after our service at church, we loaded two wheelchairs into our van and headed out.
The first stop was pretty straightforward. A woman in a nearby village, who desperately needs a wheelchair, had already made all necessary arrangements with our municipality and was waiting to receive the wheelchair which was originally ordered for a gentleman that has since died. Our task was simply to find her, which we did without any trouble.
Anna and Chris taught her grand-daughters about the various adjustment options and maintenance techniques.
Before long, we were on our way.
Through a little investigative questioning we learned that he was at home, in Nuevo Mundo.
Loading back into Burrito Gris, we continued our search.
Having driven a while without any affirmation, we agreed to stop the next time we saw people... Little did we know that those people would be Ezekiel's family.
Adrenaline rushed through our veins as we pulled up beside their rice-sack home. Ezekiel was literally face down in the dirt, hardly able to move. We introduced ourselves to his family who tried to sit him upright, but he just tipped back over. Ezekiel was drunk.
Quickly dismissing the sadness that arose in our hearts, we embraced the joy of the moment. Chris and Ezekiel's brother lifted him into his new chair. Given his intoxicated nature, it was difficult for him to maneuver the wheels, but we all agreed that sober he would have no problem given his tremendous upper-body strength. Despite the influence of the homemade sugar cane brew, Ezekiel was incredibly grateful for the gift of mobility and expressed that gratitude through tears of joy and thanksgiving.
After talking with him and his family, we thanked the Lord for this incredible opportunity and said our good-byes. As we drove back through the unending expanse of rice fields we all rested in the peace that comes from knowing we're right, smack-dab in the middle of Jesus' will for us.
Please pray that we're able to recognize the opportunities the Lord places before us each day, knowing full well that within the shadows there are many others like Ezekiel that are in desperate need of help.
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