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Wheel Chair Project at the CM’s


click here to go straight to the pics. But if you do, come back to read the story 🙂

“Here he comes,” uttered everyone outside the Chief Minister’s home and office as everyone in the courtyard straightened up a bit. The dozens of guards scattered across the neatly groomed compound came to attention, their rifles lifting from their slackened positions. Those gathered in the hopes of meeting the Chief Minister pushed up against the iron fence which kept them in a controllable group; and we, about 20 Operation Blessing staff, and about 30 people with handicaps severe enough to warrant free wheelchairs for them today, watched intently as he began moving through the group.

Chief MinisterThe Chief Minister is the one in all white

It took Y. S. Rajashekhar Reddy, Andhra Pradesh’s Chief Minister (or CM), quite a while to make his way through the crowd, as the state over which he governs is approximately 70 million people. Someone explained that the CM meets people every day, hearing needs and problems from those all across the state. It is rumored that he gives away about 400,000 Rupees daily to cases that he deems to be sincere. I don’t know how true that really is, but it was a scene that must have been reminiscent of ancient times, when people would come to the king in search of a righteous judgment. I bet that the situation would have looked somewhat like this (minus the guns).
We were there to present 30 wheel chairs to needy recipients and the CM, being a Christian, took interest in this work. But, it was very interesting to be there at the home of one of India’s most important political figures on this hot summer morning, because only one week earlier I found myself on the opposite end of the wealth/power scale in the slums of Hyderabad at a CBN medical camp. And, one of the people I met in that place of poverty and need was now here with me at the CM’s residence: her name is Bibi.
Bibi lives in a little haven of the slums where the dwellers of the old two-story buildings and huts are all Muslim, and they sell balloons for a living. Some blow them up, others tie, others make animal shapes, and then others (mostly children) go out around the city and sell these variously shaped and colored balloons all over. The day we first visited her slum a group of men quickly approached us. They had heard about CBN’s upcoming wheel chair program and were excited at the possibility of getting a chair for a local girl, so they went to bring her to us.
They carried out of one of the houses this beautiful little girl with a broad smile and an old, but nice-looking red dress on. She was probably 10 or so, but it was hard to tell because of how thin her limbs were. She had received a vaccine and shortly thereafter, she contracted Polio. It was easy to see that she had lost mobility in her legs just by how thin they were, and her arms were not much better. The doctor who was with us had her grip two fingers to test her strength and he lifted his hands into the air in the hopes that she would hold on tight enough to hold his hand down, proving she could handle the wheel chair. But, his hand just kept slipping free of hers. The girl’s father encouraged her with passion. Although I didn’t understand the exact words, I know that what he said was something to the effect of, “C’mon honey, show him how strong you are! You can hold on to that hand, it’s important! Don’t let go.”

Cute girl struck with Polio
This is Bibi. I hope to dance with her in the kingdom one day.

When the doctor’s face surely betrayed his assessment, the father set his little girl down on the ground and told her to show them how she gets around the house. There seemed to be a slight protest from the girl’s mother, who was standing off to the side outside their front door, but the girl, with an ear-to-ear smile, took her right foot, slipped it in a cross legged position over her left thigh, then leaned over and placed her right hand on the ground. She then lifted her weight up on the left leg and her hand and swung her hips forward, sitting on the ground a foot forward. She then moved her leg forward and repeated the motion several times, quickly scooting away sidewise like a sand crab would.
When we left that day, I did not know if I would ever see this lovely girl again whose life had been forever changed by polio that she contracted through an injection. Yet, here we both were, her seated in her new chair and I standing, both watching intently as the CM slowly made his way through the mass of requests and petitions. When he finally made it over to the line of wheel chairs Bibi’s bright, warm smile was one of the first to greet him, she handed him flowers as he intently surveyed her and inquired about her life. He was generous to her, as well as to all of those who received wheel chairs that day, and gave them all monthly pensions that they will now be collecting for the rest of their lives. It may not be enough to live on by itself but, it will definitely help as supplemental income.
The CM also gave three wheel-chair-recipients enough Rupees to equate to a month’s rent. It was a real partnership in humanity between the government and the Body of Christ here at CBN. Also, it seems as if this event’s value will even extend beyond the material blessings that the different recipients received that day. There is often much political hindrance that CBN and Operation Blessing face when providing the services that they do for the poor. Often, local political and religious leaders will be skeptical of the motives behind free surgeries, free bored wells, and other humanitarian projects, fearing that the payment for such services would be conversion. But, it is good that such a powerful leader would see clearly the love of Christ in action, that he would support endeavors to help the needy in the future.

Picture of handicap young man
Click on the image to go to the rest of the pictures.

Ultimately, of course, it is only God who can heal these people. Jesus healed people of the worst diseases of His day and we long to see that same healing power today. But, whether we see it or not in this hour, I am so grateful for the wonderful hope of redemption that Jesus offers to all who come to Him for healing—and not just redemption. He also offers the incredible hope of a new life, in a new earth with a new body that will be imperishable and incorruptible, free from disease and death. And that, is the promise of God. Because I know that, I can keep on praying for Bibi, her family, and all the people of India in order that we may sing and dance in the new earth together.

2 Responses to “Wheel Chair Project at the CM’s”

  1. nonna clancy
    April 8th, 2006 21:09

    hi John, just had a chance to read your remarkable story. What a blessing for that little girl to experience the love of God in this way. How blessed you are to be able to be in this ministry.
    you are in my prayers and thoughts constantly.
    your mom

  2. John
    April 9th, 2006 08:08

    Awwww. Thanks Mom!

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