PET: What if we took it seriously?

PET UPDATE: 11-25-14 Built since 1-1-14 1292

What if we took it seriously? A week ago I was in Nicaragua with Rainbow
Network, and representing PET. After leaving the asphalt road and traveling
in low gear by washed out bridges and at walking speed in a 4-wheel drive
pickup, we arrived at a local health clinic where Rainbow’s doctor was
treating the half-day’s list of 20 patients. In due time we were introduced
to a mother and her son, Leni. Leni looks to be 4 years old but is probably
6. He is a victim of Down’s Syndrome, and had been discovered hidden away in
a back corner of his mud-stick home when Rainbow did its recent census of
all the 45,000+- persons in its area of work. He cannot walk and his hands
could not crank a PET, so we had the privilege of seeing this young man
“come out” of his dark corner and into the daylight of becoming a recognized
child of God, under the love and care of Rainbow Network. He was given a new
wheelchair. I will follow his progress with personal interest.

Rainbow Network and PET MO-Columbia have entered into a project to bring
mobility, accessibility and acceptability to ALL the residents of the
Network. Leni is our symbol of saying that we mean ALL.

[PET MO-Columbia: Besides building PET rugged mobility with donations, we
also collect used mobility devices (canes, crutches, foldable walkers and
wheelchairs). If any need repair/maintenance, they go to Hope Haven
International in IA where their volunteers will refurbish. Some persons may
get a PET and another device that might be used around the home. Seun, who
was just here from Nigeria, used her PET inside and outside her apartment.
Go to this link to see her in Nigeria. The 3 min video includes some
general information from a distribution trip in Vietnam in 2006 and
interviews at the Columbia shop. Kathy]

On the plane back I pondered that experience. I remembered the comfort it
gave us in WWII, as servicemen, to know that in case of injury or death on
the front lines, we would not be left behind. That has long been a
recognized rule of our military – no G.I. will be left behind. Soldiers,
marines and sailors have risked and given their lives to bring back a fellow
serviceman, even in the heat of battle. We call those heroes who do that.

What if we were honest enough to admit that we are fighting a war against
poverty, hunger, disease, bad housing, etc., that is equal to the battles we
fought in WWII against two empires seeking to destroy all we hold sacred.
Every day tens of thousands die and suffer from those things which we could
prevent if we chose to do so. We have won a few battles against polio,
smallpox, etc., but the big battles are still ongoing.

What if we took those battles as seriously as we did in WWII, and be
willing to sacrifice as we did then. What would that look like?

Churches would declare a moratorium on new buildings until the poor of the
world had decent hospitals. Automobile manufacturers would turn their plants
to making mobility devices for the world’s leg-handicapped. Food would be
rationed until all the hungry could eat. Colleges and universities would
cease building new additions until all the world had decent and adequate
school buildings. “Peace bonds” would be sold to finance the work.

In the name of all the Leni’s of the world who have been left behind,
let’s take seriously the faith we claim to have, and make the sacrifices
necessary to seek out all the Leni’s of the world and set them free. And
let’s call the folks who do that “heroes.”


“He whom prosperity humbles, and adversity strengthens, is the true hero.” –
Josh Billings

Mel West

One Reply to “PET: What if we took it seriously?”

  1. Reblogged this on jeannejacobysmith and commented:
    This is Seun Oke from Nigeria. A few years ago, she received a PET wheelchair. The film below is an example of how a PET can transform a life. Currently, this young lady has completed two years of college in her PET, and she is engaged to be married. Not a bad track record for one who was considered helpless just a few years ago.
    I might add that there are more than 20 PET shops in the U.S., plus another in Zambia, Africa. The one near us is PET-Kansas. It’s an empowering vehicle for the poor, and it gives them a chance at life. Enjoy!

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