Don's Mission Field
Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and I sure wish you could meet Don Bania.
I mean this guy is so heavenly-minded sitting in his wheelchair. Don broke his neck over 45 years ago and he sits tall and straight in his chair with his arms resting on a lap board. He's pretty handsome with his gray beard, clear blue eyes and very winning smile. I'm looking at a photo of him right now sitting in front of racks of used wheelchairs. Don collects wheelchairs for us and in the photo he's got this, this T-shirt on that says, "Got Wheelchairs?"...you know, like the old TV commercial: "Got Milk?"
Don knows he just can't get up and go be a missionary in some foreign country. As it is in his wheelchair, it's hard enough for him to get around his home town. But Don Bania still has a heart for disabled people like him overseas in poorer countries, people who are not able to sit up in a wheelchair like he can, people who spend most of their days in bed, or they crawl around in the dirt because they
cannot afford a wheelchair, and so Don, with his quadriplegia, is doing something about it. Through his network of friends, he is linked up with the kids at Teen Challenge who help him collect used wheelchairs, then there's a local trucking company that picks up those chairs free of charge, then his friends at a local auto and body shop provide free storage for those wheelchairs, and finally, Don's local Wal*Mart transports those wheelchairs to the prisons nationwide where inmates restore them and make them like new. The thing is, Don Bania has assembled this entire team of ministries: people, friends, locals, churches, local businesses, and he's doing it all from his wheelchair. He's kind of like the 'traffic control center,' organizing everything from his home base on his home phone.
When I asked him about this incredible ministry, Don explained to me that he believes that he and his team have "a little part in eternal salvation of those who receive our wheelchairs. Plus, we're also helping them restore their dignity and liberty, he says. It's amazing, he tells me, that a wheelchair which is often seen as an object of hopelessness and sorrow, has become a symbol of mobility and hope as well as spreading the Gospel worldwide."
You know I read that comment of Don's and I just can't wait for heaven on that wonderful day when he will finally rise up out of his wheelchair to receive his eternal prize. And by his side will be many hundreds like him from every tongue, tribe and nation, people who, like Don Bania, will have shed their disabilities and they will rise up on grateful, glorified legs to praise the Father for His gracious gift of salvation. Hallelujah, I can't wait, because you know what, I'm one of them!
Well, maybe you're not able to go on the mission field like Don Bania, maybe you too have significant limitations which keep you close to home. Well, believe me you can have a part in eternal salvation of needy people in other parts of the world. Like my friend Don, you, I believe you; can collect wheelchairs for Wheels for the World. We need people like you. I’ve posted a video on joniradio.org today that shows you exactly what it’s like to collect used but serviceable wheelchairs in your community. And if you have more questions, I’ve included a link where you can get more info. ‘Cause we need more Chair Corps volunteers, as we call helpers like Don Bania. So, please consider serving with us, would you, by collecting chairs for needy, disabled people. Come on, get involved. Find out how you can get engaged at joniradio.org. Again, that’s joniradio.org to become a Chair Corps rep and collect wheelchairs for people all over the world. Thanks for listening to Joni and Friends.
By: Joni Eareckson Tada
© Joni and Friends
Featured Resources From Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope
Discover the secret to peace, joy, and hope in times of anxiety as the beloved author of Joni weaves contemporary insights with the timeless wisdom of seventeenth-century monk Brother Lawrence.The Practice of the Presence of Jesus offers wisdom from these two everyday saints, writing nearly four hundred years apart, that teaches you how to experience the nearness of God in your life. Through rich devotional content from Brother Lawrence’s Practice of the Presence of God, and through original art and new meditations from Joni, you’ll encounter a unique weaving of past and present spiritual reflections on a God who never changes.As we recognize God with us moment by moment, our mundane becomes holy. Our pain becomes peace-filled. And our uncertainties fade into the greatest, most certain hope of all.