“I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”
Four-year-old Ezequiel lives in Santiago, Dominican Republic. He has hydrocephalus, spina bifida and a seizure disorder. And though doctors have told his parents, Reynaldo and Karina, that they shouldn’t expect little Ezequiel to live long enough to reach adulthood, they are still holding on to their dream that their son might live a long, happy life.
Reynaldo and Karina love their son as much as they love his two sisters. The whole family cares for Ezequiel around-the-clock and does everything they can to provide for his needs, but they battle constant frustration and discouragement at not having the resources Ezequiel needs. Reynaldo and Karina had all but given up hope at the thought of their little boy having his own wheelchair.
Something we know to be necessary medical equipment in the United States is often an unattainable luxury in places like the Dominican Republic.
But everything changed for Ezequiel and his family when our Joni and Friends North Carolina team visited the Dominican Republic with Wheels for the World. We were able to give Ezequiel his very first wheelchair. And that brand-new pediatric wheelchair – and the Gospel – completely changed his life! God restored hope for his parents through the gifts of a wheelchair and the Bible, and Reynaldo and Karina’s faith was restored.
As soon as Ezequiel was placed in his new wheelchair, he started moving around on his own. He explored everything and rolled right up to everyone nearby at our Wheels for the World distribution site! No longer would he spend his days sitting down in the dirt, unable to look anyone in the eye.
This seat of dignity allows Ezequiel to see the world from a whole new perspective!
And it’s outfitted with a sturdy tray that will be used as a desk once Ezequiel goes to school, which is now possible due to his new-found mobility.
Because of this custom-fitted pediatric wheelchair, Ezequiel can now play with his older sisters. He can join his family at the dinner table. He can go out in his community and discover the joy of new experiences he could never have imagined before. Little Ezequiel can now participate in all aspects of life and sees himself as an equal member of his family, his neighborhood, and the body of Christ!
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
2 Corinthians 9:15
His mother Karina could barely contain her joy. “Thank you! May you be blessed! Please keep up your good work as you make our lives easier. You have blessed not just us, but many others as well. This wheelchair is beyond our ability to provide for our son. We are thankful that someone from so far away has sent a gift to our son!” she declared.
When a family impacted by disability and poverty receives a new wheelchair through Wheels for the World, not only are their lives transformed – their entire community gains a new outlook on life.
Neighbors and friends are able to realize that God loves us all, regardless of whether we have a disability or not.
No longer will Ezequiel be considered a burden by onlookers. His Wheels for the World experience showcases his value and worth in the eyes of God.
Karina went on to explain, “Ezequiel is very curious and wants to go, go, go! She said she can’t wait to take him to the park and the beach!” And when she does, more and more people will see the light of Christ shining through little Ezequiel.
The wheelchairs and Bibles provided through Wheels for the World help children with disabilities and their families live an abundant life. And you can be part of this great mission, too – in the Dominican Republic and right in your very own communities!