We had a dream to create journal for people with physical disabilities. In Latvia it is someting new and unexperienced. As the result the magazine “Wings for Wheels” has been launched.
Enjoy reading our Magazine!
There is a time to work,
and a time to relax. It’s time to look back at the work done and give thanks to
God for the strength, wisdom, and energy given to us.
Wings for Wheels is a ministry that was started by YWAM Riga in 2007 (now officially registered as NGO Wings for Wheels) with the goal of reaching out to the disabled, to give them a chance to hear the Gospel and attain eternal life. The Sparni Riteniem Magazine is one of the means for reaching the goal. Now part of the team is involved in creating the journal “Wings for Wheels”.
It contains different rubrics where everyone can find something useful for themselves: latest news, inspiring stories, travel descriptions, interesting food recipes, useful ideas for your health, legislative news etc.
Let everyone of us have enough time to contemplate our lives, take some rest and renew our strength to get ready for the new goals God puts in our hearts.
Read, share and inspire others, too.
Editor of the Sparni Riteniem Magazine
Challenge XI, 2018
From 30 June to 7 July, the 11th annual Challenge camp took place in Spāre, Latvia. The participants, assistants and the W4W team made up a camp family of nearly 50 people who, during the week, challenged and inspired each other in various fields.
As many of the 12 participants were Christians already before the camp, this year’s Challenge became a time when the focus was largely on discipling and personal growth. A smaller number of participants gave room for more reflection and one-on-one conversations during which to challenge and encourage each other to take the next steps in everyone’s personal adventure with God. A challenge that was heard several times in different contexts was to think through one’s goals and start taking concrete steps in order to reach them.
Lectures held every morning challenged us in matters of relationships – to ourselves, to God and to the world around us. Together we discovered topics like the importance of attitude, whether and how disability could become an opportunity and what is the Father heart of God like. For many, the most inspiring lecture was the one on purpose driven life, held by guest speaker Normunds Zariņš. As a new opportunity compared to previous years, we met in small groups to continue exploring the questions discussed in lectures. Another new opportunity, coaching, helped to find the areas in life where change is in our own hands. During an individual session, coach Baiba Baikovska helped everyone find their way in the questions most relevant in their lives.
Another time we learned to find our way was in the compass and map workshop. Other workshops gave good advice and interesting knowledge mainly for our everyday life outside the camp, giving tips on creating a personal style and introducing the insides of a mobile phone. The compass workshop, however, came in handy already during the camp, as the challenge of this year’s extreme day was to find a way through the town of Cēsis. Every team had to find their way from one checkpoint to another using a compass, a map and clues given as riddles. Circling nearly the whole town in summer weather was a task that demanded cooperation and ability to support each other both physically and emotionally. All the teams handled the challenge wonderfully, made their way through all the checkpoints and got back to Spāre in time to enjoy fellowship and nice summer weather around the campfire.
The camp had also other elements known and loved from previous years: waking up together during morning worship and exercises, a concert, sport games demanding teamwork and innovative ideas, plus the chance to consult a physiotherapist and an orthosis and prothesis specialist. The meal times and free time gave plenty of opportunities to get to know new friends and spend time with old ones. The shared stories and dreams give strength and inspiration to work towards fulfilling our own dreams and to live more fully the life God has called each one of us for. It was a great joy to meet participants who had given their lives to Jesus in the last year’s camp and see a joy and courage in them that was not there last year.
The week spent together held challenges for everyone involved. The assistants had to learn to always consider several people’s needs at the same time, the participants
needed to communicate their needs clearly and together with the
assistants find the best way to meet them. Challenges related to the
organisation of the camp don’t most often even reach participants or
assistants, but surely there were moments when also the W4W team had to
make good use of their problem solving skills. But the joy and gratitude
that filled us as we started back towards our homes on Saturday morning
are well worth those steps outside of our comfort zone. The memories of
obstacles overcome together will for a long time give us courage – to
take on new challenges, to reach our goals and above all, to trust God’s
Thank you for making the camp and all this fresh courage possible with your prayers and financial support!
Watch camp video
See more photos
Weekend with Agenskalns Baptist Church
We are glad
to tell you that the team of Wings for Wheels has had a dynamic and very
fulfilling weekend with Agenskalns
On 9 June, we participated in the Church’s Garden Festival. Visitors of the
event could not only have a nice time together and enjoy themselves with
various delicacies, but also give their financial support to poor people and
families by purchasing different goods. W4W team offered for selling books,
paintings, and homemade rhubarb buns with garden berries. Part of the revenue
earned will go to the improving Agenskalns
accessibility, and the other part will go to the camp Challenge XI.
10 June, we were part of a special Sunday service „Power in diversity”. As the
weather was sunny and warm the service was held in the Agenskalns Baptist
Church garden. People
with disabilities shared their testimonies and encouraged to look always on
God, find strength in him and live every day like the only chance and opportunity
to give Christ’s love to other people. Pastor Edgars Mazis reminded the words
of Paul that „our
light and transient troubles are achieving for us an everlasting glory whose
weight is beyond description”. We have to focus more on the condition of our inner – spiritual –
self. Contrary to the popular slogan, not in every healthy body dwells a whole
spirit. Likewise, in a physically disabled body can dwell a very active and
strong spirit. It depends on a man’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
More about what is Disability Awareness Sunday and how to conduct and celebrate it at your church you can find in Internet resources like:
European Disability Network: God is able, he does not disable us
The network of Christian ministries working for the
inclusion of people with disabilities celebrated its tenth European gathering
in Riga (Latvia) with the participation of 12 countries.
Previous meetings had taken place in Switzerland
(2001), Hungary (2002), Albania (2003), Spain (2004, although in this case it
was only a meeting between representatives of Spain and Portugal in Terrassa,
Barcelona), England (2006), Ukraine (2009), Germany (2012) and Austria (2015).
This year’s gathering brought together some 50 people from up to 12 countries (Latvia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Lithuania, Italy, Ukraine, Norway and Spain) during four days that served to share resources, experiences, projects, blessings and develop new challenges.
In Europe almost 100 million people have some kind of disability (physical, sensory or intellectual / learning), but we still find deficits in our churches about how to integrate, adapt and, especially, include, although it is also a encouragement to see the work being developed by different Christian organizations in each of the countries involved.
Thus, the main aim of the meeting in Riga was to strengthen visions within a continent that has different cultural and social environments, bearing in mind that these bridges seamlessly connect people with and without disabilities.
The gathering also served as a (partial) farewell
to Thérèse Swinters as coordinator of EDN since its founding. Swinters, founder
in Belgium of the organization Church and Disability, could even announce that
her replacement would be Baiba Baikovska (from Wings for Wheels in
Full version of this article you can find here.
Diversity Celebration Service in Vilande Church
Disability Sunday Services or Diversity Celebration currently is a new tradition in Latvia, and many might not even have heard of it. However, we believe that ever more Christian churches will become interested in it and will become aware of necessity to hold such services.
The first Diversity Celebration Service took place in Agenskalns Baptist Church on 14 January 2018. Four months later, on April 15, a similar service was held in Riga Baptist Vilande Church. Planning of the service was undertaken by the association Wings for Wheels, whose head and several members are the members of Vilande church.
In his introductory speech W4W head Kaspars Apinis underlined that the purpose of hosting a Diversity Celebration Service is to help people see the personality behind the disability. We challenge the Christians to leave behind their usual stereotypes and perceive the differences or diversity as a gift of God and as an opportunity instead of something burdensome and to be rejected.
Santa Survila explained her experience with disability and her way to Christ. Due to congenital and untreatable muscle dystrophy she perceives God's promise of His strength in our weakness not only as poetic words, but as a daily necessity and reality. When addressing the church, Ailita Kuka shortly shared about the meaning of Disability Sunday and invited to view the Diversity Celebration not as an annual campaign, but as a reminder that we have to take care of each other every day. Hosting special services is useless, if our attitude towards other people does not change afterwards and is not manifested in works of selfless love. Christians should be the ones willing to give up their comfort and convenience in order to help those people in society who are weak and excluded.
You can listen to the recording of the service here.
Latvia is a country sandwiched between Russia in the east and Sweden in the west.
In this it connects two very different cultures and ways of life. At the EDN conference we want Europeans from different backgrounds to make new friends over the three days. The internet enables us to be in contact with the whole world, but this conference will give us the chance to get to know people from beyond our day-to-day horizons. We want to focus on inclusion in Europe and not separation! Come and join us building bridges between people with different backgrounds, with- and without disabilities. It will enrich us to share our lives with others from east and west, people with and without disabilities, people with the kind of life experience that we can all learn from. Let’s look at the challenges we face and discover solutions together.
We can learn about God too, for we share the same planet as human beings created in God’s image to support and learn from each other.
How can the foundation of Europe’s culture, Christian faith, give us new hope and perspective in construction and building up our future together in new relations?
Come and cross the bridge to Latvia and connect with people who will enrich your life as you enrich theirs.
Location: Tallink Hotel Riga, Elizabetes 24, Riga, Latvia
- Tallink Hotel Riga (main venue)
- Opera hotel Link: http://www.operahotel.lv/en/
- Mercure hotel Link: http://www.mercureriga.lv/en/
- Grand Poet hotel Link: https://grandpoet.semarahhotels.com/
14:00 Arrival and registration of participants
16:00 Settling in the rooms
19:30 Opening of the conference
09:30 Devotion and worship
10:00 Does time heal all wounds?
11:00 Coffee break
11:30 More Than Words – Reaching People with Learning Disabilities
19:00 Open evening with concert
09:30 Church service
11:00 Coffee break
11:30 How to Start and Develop Services for People with Disabilities?
19:30 Evening program
09:30 Devotion and worship
10:00 Inclusion Makes an Impact
11:00 Coffee break
11:30 Closing of the conference
14:00 Packing, saying goodbye`s and going home
- Pete Winmill (UK) More Than Words – Reaching People with Learning Disabilities
- Roman Scamoni (Austria) Inclusion Makes an Impact
- Sergey and Nataly Bolchuk (Ukraine) How to Start and Develop Services for People with Disabilities?
- Ineta Lansdowne (Latvia) Does Time Heal All Wounds?
- Trusting God with Finances
- Ministry Branding and Marketing
- Vision from Blind people: Blindness and church.
- Bridge between church and disability, what they can give each other
- How person with disability can change Europe?
- Biblical view of disability
Costs: 250€ (covers everything except ticket to Latvia and back)
80€ (without housing and breakfast)
Registration is only valuable after receiving payment
If you need help with the cost please contact EDN or Wings for Wheels
Payment information European Disability Network
Int. bank a/c no: BE 09335011553857
Swift Code: BBRUBEBB Address: ING Genk
Europalaan 40-42; B – Genk – Belgium
European disability Network
Peperhofstraat 58 – B – 3600 Genk
Tel./Fax.: 00 32 (0)89 38 55 64
e-mail: therese.swinters (at) telenet.be
A GIFT OF JOY
A good antidote to depression during the dark season of the year is to bring joy to other people. As continuation to the tradition began two years ago, on December 4 society “Wings for Wheels” organised an event for people with disabilities as dedication to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The invited people arrived both from Riga and more distant locations of Latvia. Especially we were glad to see those who participated in the event for the first time, and there were quite a few people like that. Almost 20 guests had arrived from the social care centres “Mežciems” and “Ezerkrasti”.
First of all, people who were interested could join the excursion to the library, accompanied by guides. Afterwards we all gathered in the cosy restaurant “Klīversala” and were welcomed by kind waiters and beautifully set tables. As the evening went on, speeches were said by representatives of “Wings for Wheels”, and musicians Arvīds Keinis and Artis Gāga created a festive atmosphere with their performances. In the closing part, Ģirts Ašnevics, the pastor of Riga Baptist Vīlande Church reminded the participants of the most joyful event in the history of the world: the birth of Jesus Chirst. He also invited the audience to receive everlasting joy in personal relationships with the Saviour.
We express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone whose responsiveness and generosity helped us to organise this event. We say thank you to administrations of the National Library of Latvia and restaurant “Klīversala”; the donors: bakery “Lāči”, confectionery “Enhars” and Zuja family. Thank you to everyone who invested their time, effort and transportation so that people could come to the event and later return home. And above all, thank you to God who gives us joy so we could share it with others!
After 50 Years in a Wheelchair, I Still Walk With Jesus
On July 30, 1967, a teenage girl went with her sister to a beach on the Chesapeake Bay and suffered a diving accident that rendered her quadriplegic. Today, Joni Eareckson Tada leads an international ministry, advocates for those with disabilities, and is a sought-after speaker, best-selling author, and radio host. This weekend marks the 50-year anniversary of the accident, and CT connected with Tada to discuss how God has worked in and through her life over the past five decades.
Full version of here.Joni Eareckson Tada you can read
The Challenge camp 2017 (Nr. 8)
This year, the Challenge camp took place in
Spāre boarding school from 2 to 8 July. The 19 participants along with the
assistants and team members made up a multicultural company of around 70
The week included all the parts Challenge is known and loved for:
interesting lectures, fun sports activities and workshops, the opportunity to
get a haircut, visit a fysiotherapist and consult a orthosis & prothesis
specialist for free and of course the Extreme Day.
But what made the camp probably most of all was the warm, open atmosphere where everybody was welcomed, no matter the nationality or abilities. Our time together had space for encouraging and challenging conversations that defied physical and language barriers, as well as just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.
The camp had a good prejudice-shattering effect on people both with and without disabilities. A participant shared her surprise over the realisation that in this camp, people actually care when they ask you how you are doing. Another lady who took part for the first time said she had never experienced such genuine care in any church. Perhaps this is the challenge we should take to our home churches with us – how to really notice eveybody’s needs and respond to them in God’s love in our everyday life.
During the week, five people decided to join the family and give their lives to Jesus. Let us pray that the ripple effects of what God started in the camp would continue in the lives of everyone involved.
W4W 10! Birthday celebration of Wings for Wheels
On one hand, 10 years is not much for a ministry with a broad vision, such as Wings for Wheels. We have only taken the first steps in order to become familiar with the third largest country of the world formed by people with disabilities from all over the world.
Yet on the other hand, 10 years has been a long enough
time to work with God and leave a permanent mark on lives of people in Latvia
(and not only). As a result of ministry by Wings for Wheels many people with
disabilities have been able to hear the Good News and accept Jesus Christ as
their Lord and Saviour. We speak to Christians through publications, mass media
and awareness events to help them see people with disabilities through God's
eyes. Our website and e-journal "Wings for Wheels" serve as sources
for information, education and inspiration. We organise small groups for people
with physical impairments, and we also visit the people in care homes. Vision
of Wings for Wheels has inspired people in Norway, Armenia and even Africa!
Even though we are still at the beginning of the road, the work we have done
and what we have experienced during 10 years of existence of Wings for Wheels
is much and worthy to be celebrated in honour to God.
Birthday celebration of Wings for Wheels took place on June 16 - 18 at the guest house "Vecmuiža". The first day was a "team day" when we as the staff of the ministry took our time to fellowship and be immersed in common memories, worship, prayers and merry games. The next day right after breakfast we set about preparing for arrival of guests. We had sent invitations to everyone who had been involved with Wings for Wheels in any way during these ten years: whether as participants of camps and other events, assistants, volunteers, churches, donors, etc. We wanted this celebration to be a possibility to meet old friends and get to know people who might become participants, volunteers or cooperation partners of our future camps.
Even though only a small part of all invited people
could arrive, yet the joy was not diminished because of it. Everyone (almost)
knew everyone, and together we rejoiced to see each other. Our birthday was
akin to a gathering of a large family. Guests could leave their well wishes and
suggestions in our guest book, take photographs by a specially created wall
with Wings for Wheels logo, participate in creation of a joint drawing,
purchase books published by Wings for Wheels and otherwise have a good time.
Official part of the event was focused on remembering the beginnings of the
ministry, and we looked at photos and videos of the previous camps. We also
remembered our friends whom God has already brought home to Himself. Later,
after a bountiful meal, the gathered guests were offered an opportunity to
share how Wings for Wheels has influenced their life and view. We brought the
celebration to conclusion with a delicious, especially baked cake and our
gratitude to God for His great love and surprising plans for us all.
Wings for Wheels team would like to thank everyone who came to celebration and everyone who regularly supports us in different ways. May God bless you abundantly and reward each one who has contributed and will in future do so towards implementation of the vision of Wings for Wheels in helping people with disabilities to know Christ and make Him known.
Wheels got wings!
Do you know how a flying squirrel feels 20 metres up in the air? W4W does. Nineteen participants experienced flying out of their wheelchairs to the treetops during YWAM Latvia’s ropes course on May 25th. Wheels got wings! You can see it in pictures.
Paralympic day in Sport Complex Keizarmezs
On May 20 2017, in Keizarmezs was held Paralympic Day. In it
participated some people from Wings for Wheels team, as well as some of
our camp participants. We actively participated in three sports: darts,
boccia, and table novuss. One of our team received a bronze medal.
As he said, it was a medal of the whole team. The day was warm, and, after the sport part, we had a hearty meal and a walk about the Keizarmezs. We all were in „sporty mood”, just like the Paralympic Day motto sounds, „I am. I can.” We had a really great time together. You can see it in pictures.
Charity lunch in Lido Leisure Centre
On May 3 2017, Youth with a Mission-Riga ministry Wings for Wheels together with Lido Leisure Centre organized a charity lunch for 25 persons. Among the invited guests were people with mobile disabilities from a social care centre and several people who have very limited chances, due to their disability, to get out of their homes. Several of them had not been in Lido Centre for many years.
The charity lunch was opened by
Kaspars Apinis, Wings for Wheels leader, who said a short welcome
speech. After the meal, the participants of the event were invited to
think about meaning of life and giving God the first place in their
daily lives. The highlight of the event was the calling to receive
Jesus, namely, to make a decision nobody would regret. After the speech
and fellowship time a group photo was shot.
Here you can see the photos:
Presentation of the book by Ailita Kuka in the National Library of Latvia
On 22 April 2017, in one
of the reading halls of the National Library of Latvia, with windows facing the
beautiful panorama of Riga,
the presentation of the book "My Flight" by Ailita Kuka took place.
The atmosphere of the event was cozy and heartfelt, with Christian music in the
background. As the author said in her speech, the source of her strength and
inspiration is Jesus, and with His help she has been able to overcome various obstacles
and difficulties of life.
Approximately 40 guests, Ailita's relatives, friends and colleagues, had come to share in the joy of fulfilment of Ailita's dream. Congratulatory speeches were deeply emotional and touching, because Ailita's closest people shared their thoughts and memories. The festive event and important moments of the presentation were captured in photographs. The author of the book gave autographs, and the guests could purchase a book by giving a donation to the ministry "Wings for Wheels". Ailita gifted seven of her books to the library with a wish that each copy of the book would find its destined reader. After the official part, banquet was held with delicious food kindly provided by our cooperation partners "Enhars", "Kafijas draugs", "Moora", "Florestans", and "Kūkotava".
As they left, the guests wished Ailita the ability to be strong and maintain her bright view of life and her special radiance.
"Wings for Wheels" team in cooperation with the National Library of Latvia helped to organise the event. You can buy Ailita Kuka's biography (in Latvian) by contacting the author or "Wings for Wheels". Read it and find inspiration for each day of your life!
Here you can see the photos:
Short summary of the book
Already since her childhood Ailita's life has been full of challenges. Mobility impairments limit her physical freedom; however, her spirit remains unrestrained. Already in her early youth she looks for the meaning and fulfilment of her existence by supporting others who face difficulties. When the family moves from one part of Latvia to another, and the external conditions worsened, the longing in Ailita's heart for the One who can fill up the enormous emptiness only grows, until she meets a person who tells her about Jesus Christ. At first, she resists God's message of love, yet soon she embraces it, and the other members of her family join her.
Thus, a new stage begins in the lives of Ailita and her relatives: the road travelled together with Christ.
Denmark is a country in Scandinavia placed in the northern Europe. Denmark is together with Greenland and Faroe Islands the Danish Kingdom.
Denmark borders at south to Germany and is surrounded with several seas: North Sea, Kattegat, Skagerak, and Baltic Sea.
The Monarch, Queen Margrethe 2, has several ceremonial tasks, but has also an important role according to appointment and dismissal of governments and signing of adopted laws.
Denmark has an evangelical lutheran church as a state religion. The constitutional law ensures freedom of religion, but the danish monarch is to be evangelical/lutheran.
The small country has because of the
of islands and inlets one of the longest coastlines in Europe at 7.314 km.
The climate in Denmark is temperate. The winters are mild with an average temperature at 0 degrees in january and february. The summers are cool with an average temperature at 15,7 degrees in august.
culture is similar to other european countries with celebrating birthday,
confirmation and carnival. Danish humor and the concept of “hygge” is
perceived as special danish cultural features.
food is a composition af traditional danish food as dark bread and meat balls
and foreign food like pizza, burger and kebab.
Danish national dish is fried pork with parsley sauce.
Danmark has several popular sports. The most popular is football.
Educations in Danmark are available for the citizens of the country. Financing is through taxes and own payment.
The danish workforce counts ca. 2,7 mill. persons. 80% are employed in the sector of service, 17% are employed with building construction and 2%with agriculture.
The danish society is build up on the danish welfare model, that garanties all citizens social benefits.
Denmark is a member of various associations ex. EU, FN, NATO, and Nordic Council.
After World war 2. Denmark tried during the cold war to connect the eastern european countries to the west including the baltic countries: Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia which Denmark provided great support.
in 2012 43,9% of disabled persons had a job in Denmark, and 19,1% were employed in jobs at special conditions,
12,8%of these persons used special equipment support ex. personal assistance according to the job.
70% of disabled persons in Denmark has either a car, handicapscooter or handicapmotorbike
Persons that are disabled that cannot use public transport can be approved to individual transport scemes.
It is possible to apply for financial support to residential conversion according to the social law. 54.000 persons between 16 - 64 years have had residential conversation in 2016. Most residential conversations is at kitchen and bathrooms.
Some persons with comprehensive disabilities live in special housing areas.
Housing areas normaly consists of a number of small homes that are gathered i a community. Typical there are privat areas for individuals and common areas for several persons and there are also serviceareal for staff.
Project “Minibus” is successfully completed
Wings for Wheels is one of the ministries of the international Christian organization “Youth with a Mission”. Wings for Wheels was founded in 2007 and its target audience is people with disabilities.
For a long time one of the ministry’s main needs was wheelchair-accessible transport. To help people get to events organized by Wings for Wheels – camps, seminars, small groups, excursions etc. – we had to use regular cars or rent special vehicles.
To solve this situation and need, we began to raise funds for buying a wheelchair-accessible minibus. We organized charity concerts and wrote projects. Finally, with help from God and support from the Latvian state and society, and Charity Shop “Otra Elpa” our goal has been reached: Wings for Wheels has the long-awaited and much-needed minibus! We are truly thankful to each and every one of you who contributed to this project. The new minibus will soon start its full time ministry to people with physical disabilities.
The International Disability Day
For the second year in a row Wings for Wheels delighted people with mobile disabilities by inviting them and their assistants, friends or family members to participate in an event devoted to the International Disability Day. The event started with a tour of the Latvian National Library, and continued with a delicious dinner. We enjoyed beautiful songs performed by Diana Ponaskova, and Olegs Jermolajevs, Pastor of Cesu Baptist Church, invited us to think deeper about the historical significance and the main message of the Advent season. All guests received nice gifts from our sponsors. Thanks to all the supporters of the event!
More photos here
The Ombudsman together with the Association of Disabled People and Their Friends “Apeirons” in the Latvian National Library
On December 3, the International Day of People with Disabilities, the Ombudsman together with the Association of Disabled People and Their Friends “Apeirons” and the Latvian National Library organized a conference called “Accessibility of Education”. Along with the program of the conference that you can see at www.tiesibsargs.lv, exhibition of various disability-related organizations took place. Wings for Wheels was also invited to participate in this exhibition. It was a good chance to represent ourselves and to get to know other organizations working in the disability field. The long term gains from participating in this conference and exhibition are publicity, new contacts, and Acknowledgement Certificate of the nomination “Social Campaign 2016”. This makes us feel pleased and motivates us to keep working.
More photos here
A Charity Concert
In 27 November
2016, Wings for Wheels organized a charity concert that took place in Riga
Pentecostal Hope Church. Its aim was to continue fundraising to buy an adapted
van needed for disability ministry. The concert was given by the Hand Bell
Choir from Cesu Baptist Church, and their performance created a special
celebration feeling. We are grateful to all who attended the concert and, with
their donation, helped us to get one more step closer to the goal.
More info here
By Mike Potter
Over the last seven years since I had my spinal cord injury I have been asking, “What is God’s purpose for disability?” I acknowledge that despite our limitations, people with disabilities have contributed greatly in all facets of human life - Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Sir Murray Halberg, Helen Keller and Joni Eareckson Tada just to name a few. After my surgery in France I read most of the New Testament in three weeks looking for God’s purposes in what had happened to me. Initially I wanted to know about healing.
I learnt that Jesus didn’t heal everyone at the pool of Bethesda, Peter healed a cripple who Jesus could have healed any time over the previous three years, Trophimus was sick, so was unable to go on mission, and as far as we can tell, he wasn’t healed either! In the Old Testament, Isaac was blind, Moses had a speech impediment, Naaman was leprous. There is a long list. Disability was understood to be an undesirable part of the human condition. Sadly, people are judged by their disability rather than their ability, but that is part of our fallen human condition too. It doesn’t make it right.
I concluded also that people were healed and are healed in God’s timing. Having a broken body or a disability is part of being human. We live in broken bodies in the sure hope that one day they will be renewed, and this hope comes from our belief that Jesus has forgiven our sins. A spinal cord injury is serious, but it’s not the end of the world. Having a disability is not a barrier to following Jesus.
God’s mission and purpose in this world includes everyone. Regardless of our limitations, abilities and disabilities we are all invited to participate in God’s kingdom. Through my studies at Carey Baptist College I reflected that many people with disabilities have a leadership role to play, including ALL marginalised people in the community of God, not just people marginalised by disability.
We also have a role to play in addressing barriers to participation in society. Even addressing physical barriers like steps and kerbs that prevent many people from being included in and finding belonging in their community is bringing the gospel to places we live in.
Full version of the article you can find in Magazine Encourager, No 147, pp 8-9
The Challenge camp in Armenia (Nr. 5)
Already for the second year in Armenia, a beautiful and unique in its culture and traditions country, The Challenge camp has taken place for people with physical disabilities.
I was very pleased that this event continued this year. Twenty participants, assistants and the organizing team from different parts of Armenia gathered together to spend amazing and unforgettable time. Some people had already met previously and had been looking forward to seeing each other again. For some, it was a completely new experience and new people. I am filled with joy because this year we had participants from Karabakh with us.
The goal of the camp was not just to get together, but to try yourself in something new, to see yourself from a different perspective and to understand for yourself that equally, as for others, everything is possible regardless of the situation.
As usually, the program was filled with various activities. Each day, new discoveries awaited the participants: sport games, physiotherapy, lectures with a priest, trip to Latvia; also, with great enthusiasm everyone took part in a creative workshopwhere they made their own mug. As I saw all the work, I was amazed at how everyone is so talented and creative.
There was also a new task for each team to make a video about the camp and we had the opportunity to watch their video projects together on the last evening.
I hope that all participants discovered something special for themselves and that they will remember these moments for many years ahead.
Trip to Latvia
Extreme day was one of the most exciting and
intriguing days. Some people were ready for this Challenge as they saw horses,
but for some it was a big step to overcoming their fears. But I think after
spending a few minutes in the saddle, riding one of the kindest and sweetest
animals in the world, their fears disappeared and the goal was reached - the
understanding that everything is possible!
I am so thankful to God for the opportunity to be together with these amazing people!
This year from June 4 to 18 in the guest house "Vecmuiža", Liepupe parish, for the first time in "Youth With A Mission" history mini Discipleship Training School (MDTS) for people with reduced mobility took place; 9 students took part in it. This school that lasted for two weeks was a great challenge for the physical and mental endurance of the students, yet it became an excellent opportunity to experience God's strength in human weakness.
Lectures were read by speakers both from Latvia and abroad: Kaspars Ezeriņš, Kristīna Ēce, Marika Bērtule, pastors Agris Ginko and Oļegs Jermolajevs, Katie Leatherwood (USA), Helina Voogne (Estonia), and Clarita Agsagani (Philippines, Finland).
On the first evening the students were introduced to MDTS programme and YWAM ministry "Wings for Wheels". In further days such topics were eagerly and intensely learned as worshipping God, YWAM history in the world and Latvia, Holy Spirit, individual evangelism, Christian worldview, sin and meaning of the Jesus' cross, God's character, spiritual warfare, identity in Christ, etc. After Sunday afternoon service led by Ģ. Ašnevics, the pastor of Riga Vīlande Baptist church, the students had an evening off and gradually began to feel themselves at home in the study environment.
Each study day began with the morning exercises and intercession and continued with the lectures and other activities. In their leisure time the students actively made entries into their creatively made journal, by summarising what they have heard in lectures in order to remind themselves the most important insights and be able to grow under God's guidance. Three times throughout MDTS small groups took place, offering a heartfelt atmosphere for sharing various interesting topics and getting to know each other better. Every day the students had an opportunity for individual meetings with one of the school's leaders in order to discuss how they are doing, and so that the leader might assess the ability of the student to learn the study topics and fulfil the requirements of the school. Tea time with the speakers gave the students a chance to receive answers to their questions and share their impressions on what they had heard in classes. The students did not let the weariness take over and with great enthusiasm participated in various sports activities.
Practical application was a time when the students in groups prayed for the government of Latvia, refugees in Europe, churches and the persecuted church. One of the mornings started with the creative worship, and students worshipped God in a way each of them felt it, by expressing their worship with the help of paint
and brushes. The students were encouraged to practice one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit each day in order to grow and let the Holy Spirit form them!
Unforgettable and exciting was the hike to the sea that was combined with the practical application of the knowledge. Students had a day of outreach as well, when we served at Valmiera Baptist Church. A few students shared their testimony for the first time and spoke in public. Some of them were very nervous, but it was a great experience and an opportunity to minister the church people because many were strengthened by the students' stories. It was a great joy!
MDTS ended with a Love Feast and testimonies about the insights gained during the studies. By summarising them, it may be concluded that for every student it had been
a blessed experience that
foundations for further life in Christ were laid or strengthened as they spent time with God. Practical knowledge received through MDTS lectures will let the
students acknowledge their spiritual enemies better and fight against them. The main task of the disciples of Christ is to reach other people and do it unobtrusively in order to create interest and desire to follow Jesus.
With the national anthem of Latvia began the graduation of 9 students; each of them received a certificate and two credit points of YWAM's University of the Nations. The first MDTS for people with reduced mobility has left its mark in history. Thank you to all who supported us both financially and in prayer!
May God bless you! Wings for Wheels team Youth With A Mission – Riga
More photos can be viewed here:
The presentation of Nadezda Kuzmina poetry book „Cвeт вoйдeт в твою душу”
In June 22, 2016, a presentation of Nadezda Kuzmina poetry book „Cвeт вoйдeт в твою душу” (Light Will Come into Your Soul) took place in National Library of Latvia. We did our best to memorize this special event in pictures. Nadezda was very pleased and satisfied to see that a deep dream of her heart had come true. The Wings for Wheels team helped her in the book publishing process. About 30 guests participated in the presentation, and the event took place in an unforced, friendly atmosphere. We thanked Nadezda for her book and encouraged her to write more poetry in future.
Nadezda’s poetry is about
faith and love. Her poetry collection (in Russian) is still available for
purchase. Here are a few poems for you to get some insight.
Наш Всевышний, неба Царь,
Господь Бог и государь!
Ты Творец всего земного,
Также неба голубого.
Солнце, тучи, облака,
Звёзды, месяц и луна –
Все они Твои творения
И достойны восхищения.
Воды Господу подвластны,
Бури, ураганы страстны
Мчатся и хотят снести
Всё, что встретят на пути.
Ох, могуч же Отче наш!
Он есть Бог всех нас и ваш.
Его Сын Иисус Христос,
Пострадал, грехи понёс.
Сын — посредник и Учитель,
Он помощник и Спаситель.
Так ищите же дорогу,
Чтоб Иисус привёл бы к Богу.
В жизни своей не грешите,
Праведным путём идите.
Бог всё видит и всё знает,
Когда просишь, помогает,
Только искренность вложите
И от всей души просите.
За все Господние дела,
Всем сердцем Господа любите,
Столь дивны Бога чудеса!
Пусть ваше сердце не скупится
Сказать спасибо лишний раз.
Возможно, кто-то удивится
Услышать слово это враз.
В людях отношения,
В благодарности есть сила,
Свет и слёзы, также радость.
Доброе слово в вас чтобы жило,
Лечение словом Богу во сладость.
Он руку Cвою простирает над вами
И совершает в вас изменения.
Господь удивляет людей делами,
Сердцем воздайте Ему восхваления.
НАДО ЖИТЬ, ПОСТОЯННО ЛЮБЯ.
Почему так бывает часто:
Пока живы, не бережём?
Люди сами того не знают,
Оставляют зачем на потом
И слова, и любовь недосказанные,
И обилие нежных чувств?
И ещё подчеркнуть я обязана,
Что нельзя позволять гнева буйств.
Потому, что потом слишком поздно
И вернуть ничего нельзя,
Подведёшь ты итоги грозно:
Надо жить постоянно любя,
Проявлять к своим близким внимание
И дарить им заботу, любовь.
Безусловно, нужны дарование
И желанье добро творить вновь.
Вы внимательно строчки прочтите,
Загляните немного вперёд.
Тех, кто дорог, живых берегите,
Время всем умирать придёт.
Грех на душу свою не берите
И пример покажите другим,
Что вы любите и дорожите
Отношением тёплым к ним.
The 9th annual Wings for Wheels summer camp Challenge took place in Spāre boarding school from June 27th to July 4th. With the 20 participants, W4W team, assistants and other helpers, there were nearly 70 people from seven different countries and four different continents! The week spent together offered challenges as well as joy and bright memories.
Every day started with worship, devotion and morning exercises. They were followed by lectures on relevant, thought-provoking topics: finding the courage to be yourself; being a man after God’s own heart; being a real Christian and probably the most intriguing title in the schedule – “Can a Christian watch soap operas?” New skills could be learned both in art and video workshops and during fun sports games. Professional physiotherapists as well as a hairdresser offered their services to the participants. A great blessing was the opportunity to get a custom-made orthosis or prosthesis for free, with no more paperwork than signing up at the timetable.
Evenings were a time to relax while travelling to Hong Kong through photos and stories or listening to a concert given by a visiting soft-rock band. At the talent show, we got to know each other better by listening to the participants’ presentations about what brings them joy.
The Extreme Day on Friday surprised us with a laser gun war fought on
the bumpy terrain around the schoolhouse. However, the tension didn’t end with
the game, as in the evening we were struck by a thunderstorm merely an hour
before we had planned to start a bonfire. Just at the right time, though, the
sky started to clear and soon we could enjoy barbeque and testimonies about
God’s faithfulness in the warm evening sun.
The camp lived up to its name and gave plenty of chances to surprise oneself to everyone involved. Orienteering and sports games on sandy, grassy or rocky ground showed the participants that their physical abilities might be beyond what they’ve thought them to be. But even more challenges were posed to the soul and the spirit than to the body. For the assistants, the trial was being someone else’s hands and feet, while for the participants it was (in many cases) entrusting themselves to a stranger’s care. The team task of putting together a video journal of the camp also demanded good communication and creativity. For some, the most testing part was speaking in front of the whole camp at the talent night – or even acknowledging that they have a talent to speak about... Those who have taken part in earlier camps took on new challenges by leading morning devotions and helping the team with sports games. At the closing love feast, Kaspars presented the greatest challenge of all history, given to all mankind: to believe that Jesus Christ is the truth, the life and the way to God. On that night, two people accepted the invitation.
Challenge 9 was
a wonderful illustration of the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 12:27: “Now
you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.“ With our different languages, ages, physical
and mental abilities, skills and characters, we made up a tiny model of
Christ’s body in its amazing diversity, each one of us reflecting a glimpse of
God Himself. There were no separation lines between “typical” and “disabled”
people, Christians or non-Christians, Latvians and foreigners in terms of being
involved and respected. Participants, assistants and organisers all had
different roles, but in order for the camp to succeed, we needed each other
like the parts of a body. And by God’s grace the week became a time to remember
with gratitude and joy.
Wings for Wheels
Participants' video journals:
Creativity event in
Riga Pentecostal church "Hope" (Nr. 3)
On 10 December 2015, in Riga Pentecostal church "Hope" took place the second creative afternoon organized by Wings for Wheels. It offered an opportunity to listen to poetry reading performed by its author Nadja Kuzmina, and to look at paintings of Ailita Kuka. Musical accompaniment was provided by Ilze Gagainis (violin), Kristina Žogota (soprano), and Ilze Jaunzeme (piano).
Organization’s Youth with a Mission-Riga ministry Wings for Wheels in collaboration with Riga Pentecostal church "Hope".
The creativity event run by Wings for Wheels in Jelgava went very well. We were warmly welcomed, and time passed unnoticed as the attendants listened to poetry reading, looked at paintings and chatted in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Nevertheless, the gratest joy for us, of course, was to see that a woman received Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savour. Thanks be to God!
Wings for Wheels experience in Africa (Nr. 3)
A confort and faith to people with disabilities in Togo comes true
My name is Mensa Agbeme Kodzo; from Togo, West Africa. Is there any God of love where people are suffering from serious disabilities and begging by road sides? This was the beginning of my reflexion before going to Europe and attend WINGS FOR WHEELS program in Latvia. I realise that yes there is surely a God of love but also a wicked world flooding people with serious disabilities and making them like hopeless.
My whole journey from Togo to Latvia was full of signs and wonders; and this pushed me to come back to Togo to hold a program of Wings for Wheels (W4W) Togo in order to bring hope, restoration and life to people with disabilities through many challengings teaching topics, sport exercises and prayer with intercession for people with disabilities; in order to show them that it is possible. The love of God for we human beings is so great. The program was held in October 2015 with 104 participants.
What amazed me the most is that, the people with disabilities at the end said that they wanted to cook the food by themselves and the assistants will just serve them; just to show that they are able to do things more than what people can even think. About me Mensa, I faced many challenges but I am happy that my heart desire which is to bring a confort and faith to people with disabilities in Togo comes true. I thank God. Amen!!!
Mensa Agbeme Kodzo.
The first Challenge camp for people with physical disabilities in Armenia took place
on August 26 – 29, 2015. (Nr. 2)
“Challenge” gave an opportunity to think about the meaning of life; to understand that you may be equal with others regardless of your situation; and, most importantly, to reach new goals in your life, despite the difficulties.
I was very happy for the opportunity to participate in organising this camp, to join in its events and to make new friends. I hope that this was the first step of the nation of Armenia in this area; a step towards something new and great.
I rejoice also that Wings for Wheels team became an example and source of inspiration in helping this camp come to pass.
15 participants, assistants and organisers participated in this camp.
Each day began with morning exercise and reading from the Word of God. Each participant had an opportunity to receive the services of physiotherapist. Every day there were classes with a priest, and discussions regarding the people with disability in Armenia and their problems. We also took part in games, swam in a pool, and set out on adventure of extreme day.
We also took a trip to Uzbekistan.
As the camp started, many had a question: “What should we expect? How will it be?”
Orienteering and games
Newspaper by the camp participants
See, how people in wheelchairs were helped along the mountainous Armenian roads, thus halting all traffic and surprising the surrounding inhabitants of the whole town.
Extreme day: fear of height was dealt with and the beauty of the surrounding environment enjoyed
I eagerly await the continuation of this!
Wings for Wheels