2007
Church Delivers Mobility, Freedom in Palau
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“Church Delivers Mobility, Freedom in Palau,” Liahona, Jan. 2007, N5–N6

Church Delivers Mobility, Freedom in Palau

Each year the Church distributes 40,000 wheelchairs in 70 countries as part of an ongoing initiative to provide mobility to individuals across the world. In August 2006 the Church donated 250 new wheelchairs to Palau, an island nation located a few hundred miles southeast of the Philippines. The program blesses the lives of thousands, and it is the individual stories and needs of those thousands of people that motivate the ongoing wheelchair program.

As the result of an accident, Junior Senardo, a member of another church, was left paralyzed from a gunshot wound to his neck 14 years ago. This injury left him bedridden and dependent on others to accomplish simple daily life tasks. That all changed on August 16, 2006, when the Palau Ministry of Health gave Junior one of the new wheelchairs donated by the Church. Now Junior looks forward to being able to attend his church meetings on Sundays and a ball game in the future.

Jonathan Remengesau also is grateful for the blessing of a new wheelchair. Diabetes had caused his leg to be amputated in 2002. When his old wheelchair finally stopped functioning, he looked around for a new one. He was dismayed at the high cost of a new wheelchair—usually more than U.S. $700—a cost he knew he could not afford on his limited income. The plywood seat on his old chair was chafing his legs and causing painful sores. He finally gave up hope and decided to avoid leaving home. He rejoiced when he heard that he was qualified to receive a free wheelchair.

“This is the first time that anyone has really helped me like this,” he said as he sat in his new chair.

Ten-year-old Diraingas Edeyaoch’s first wheelchair came from the Church’s recent donation. Before the donation, she had to be carried wherever she went. As she has gotten older, it has become more difficult for people to carry her places. Now her father plans to take her to see the scenery that she enjoys so much.

These are just three of the many people in Palau who were given new freedom when they received a wheelchair from the Church.

Minister Victor Yano of the Ministry of Health said the donation of 250 wheelchairs is a great blessing for the people of Palau. He thanked the Church for making it possible for people with limited income and long-term disabilities to receive a wheelchair for free. He thanked Church representatives Rebluud Kesolei, Koror Topside Branch president, and Bill Davis, Guam Service Center manager, for coordinating this donation for the people of Palau.

The wheelchair initiative is just one of the many humanitarian relief and development activities the Church has been actively involved in throughout the world. Donations from members of the Church and others fund the Church’s humanitarian programs. The programs aim to help children and families of all nationalities and religions by relieving suffering, helping people help themselves, and providing opportunities for service.

Diraingas Edeyaoch shakes hands with Bill Davis of the Church after receiving her new wheelchair.