Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Chair for Dorothy

I first learned about Dorothy Karimi in Meru when Sharon Moffitt mentioned her during a Women's Bible Study lesson a few months ago. Sharon explained that Dorothy is in her early 20's and was born with disabled legs. I was born with Cerebral Palsy and have always used some type of wheels for movement, so I quickly identified with Dorothy. Sharon told me more about Dorothy over the next few weeks. Unlike me, Dorothy has NEVER had wheels. In fact, her mother carries her 3 km each way to and from school so that Dorothy can pursue her educational dreams. The fact that a woman not much younger than myself is willing to be carried like a child just to attend school rendered me speechless!

I knew God was telling me her story for a purpose, so I prayed and a plan that only the Lord could design began to form. First, I contacted friends who live in the Los Angeles area. Tony Luna works for Free Wheelchair Mission, a ministry that blesses those who cannot walk with wheelchairs designed especially for unpaved, rural surroundings. I knew one of the FWM chairs would suit Dorothy! After contacting Tony and his wife, Heidi, I learned that the Lunas sponsor a boy from Meru too. We all sensed God working. The Lunas offered to split the cost of a wheelchair with me if we could find a way to ship it to Meru. The plan to purchase a chair and fly it from CA to Seattle came together the same morning that the International Justice Mission speaker challenged us to use the resources we have to bless others. Later that Sunday evening, I emailed the Lunas and discovered they were expecting a visitor from Seattle. We quickly decided to purchase a wheelchair and fly it to Seattle two days after purchase so the Lunas’ friend could monitor it on her return flight. Then it could begin its Kenyan trek. The Lord amazes me when He works! Everyone caught my excitement. I arranged for Karen Lau to meet the flight and "wheelchair courier," Erika Syre, at SeaTac. Karen drove to the airport and picked up the wheelchair last Tuesday. The chair will be personally escorted to Meru by Peggy Yuckert who is Dorothy's school sponsor.

This God-designed venture started when I felt the Lord’s tug after hearing a few details about a lady I've never met half-way across the world and has bloomed into something powerful. I understand what life without the ability to walk is like because I face that situation each day. However, I cannot fathom life without mobility. What began as my desire to bless a sister with mobility has transformed into a joint outreach effort. It includes a pair of friends in CA, their friend whom I've never met, several UPPC adults with a heart for Meru, and Free Wheelchair Mission which seeks to "transform lives through the gift of mobility." We’ve all been transformed (and blessed) simply in our effort to literally be Christ’s hands and feet. I know Dorothy's world will be utterly transformed when the UPPC Kenya team delivers her wheelchair in person this August.

Standing in Awe,
Kjersti Johnson

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