A partnership between the United Methodist Southern Nigeria Conference and the Beautiful Gate Handicap Center recently improved the lives of people with mobility issues.
Fifty tricycles were donated through the conference’s ministries with people with physical disabilities (PWPDs).
Without the bikes, people who cannot use their legs get around by dragging themselves on the ground or crawling on their knees. The tricycles allow riders to put their hands on the pedals to move the wheels.
During the commissioning service, Nigeria Area Bishop John Wesley Yohanna read Acts 3:1-9, using the scenario between Peter and the beggar at the Beautiful Gate of the temple. The man, who was unable to walk, expected to receive alms, but Peter told him, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.”
The man got up and entered the temple with Peter and John “walking and leaping and praising God.”
The bishop encouraged the congregation to have hope and to be thankful to God.
“I call on you who are here to receive these gifts to remain grateful to God in your present conditions,” he said. “You have ears to hear, you have eyes that you can see; though you cannot walk, you are still alive.”
Yohanna urged listeners, both with and without physical challenges, to look to Jesus, the healer. “I assure you,” he said, “that your God can heal every manner of sickness and disease. Healing can come at any time that we don’t expect as we continue to trust God because healing comes in diverse ways.”
The bishop noted that God also heals our spiritual lives. “Whosoever received such a healing,” he said, “God will be with the person. All of us are in need of healing from God.”
He prayed that the tricycles would be the first miracle in recipients’ lives as they glorify and continue to trust in God.
Sandra Yilgwan, a representative of the Beautiful Gate Center, offered a brief introduction to the ministry. She shared the story of the center’s CEO, Chief Burki Gufwan.
“He came down with polio at the age of 5,” Yilgwan said, “and he turned 50 last month. He didn’t allow his condition to deter him. He went to school and had his certificate in teacher`s training school.”
He taught for several years and then was admitted to the university, studied law and graduated successfully. He became involved politically and was elected executive chair of a local government area in Plateau State Nigeria. He is now running for election to the National House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to represent his constituency, she said.
Reminding recipients of their potential, Yilgwan said, “If Chief Gufwan has made these achievements, there is also hope for you. Disability is not the end of life, and as you determine, you can do a lot with your life. We are giving you these tricycles with the love of Christ and as our way of preaching the gospel.”
She expressed hope that the tricycles would enable some recipients to travel to school to learn a vocation.
She thanked United Methodist leaders and prayed that the cordial relationship between the church and the center would be sustained.
Felicia David, conference coordinator of ministries with the disabled, applauded the gesture.
“I am highly impressed with this overwhelming support from our partners in mission, the Beautiful Gate Handicap Center. We assure you that these tricycles will be given to Christians and non-Christians, as the bishop stated, for propagation of the gospel in this manner. We remain grateful. God bless you.”
Before taking a tricycle for a test ride using his hands to move the pedals, Yohanna offered a prayer of dedication to God. “I dedicate these tricycles,” he said, “to be used as dividends of the gospel that they who will use them shall be blessed and remember your goodness to them from these donors and your church. Amen.”