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More than 11,000 and counting – that’s how many wheelchairs Lonny Davis estimates his Hope Haven West non-profit has delivered to the disabled poor in the developing world.
Every one of those custom-fitted, mostly-reconditioned
In 2017, seating clinics were held in Peru, El Salvador, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, with more than 1,000 children and adults receiving the “gift of mobility.”
And the plans for this year are even more impressive – with a target list that includes projected deliveries and clinics in El Salvador, Mongolia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Peru, Mexico and perhaps Haiti.
All the credit, Lonny says, goes to God.
“I’m convinced that God loves those people,” he says, “and that I’m a big player in something He’s at work in. I get to cooperate with Him … to partner with Him.”
What makes the ministry of Hope Haven West so amazing is that it is an all-volunteer effort. Gifts from individuals and organizations, and a host of fund-raising events – provide the monies needed, and 100 percent of those donations go to refurbishing wheelchairs, purchasing complex pediatric chairs, and shipping and delivering “gifts of mobility” from Northern California to the desperately poor ends of the earth.
“We’re especially grateful to the volunteers who traveled at their own expense, gave up vacation time, and sacrificed other opportunities to serve the disabled poor in the developing world,” Lonny says.
He calls the volunteers and supporters “our heroes” – and many of them are fellow Partners and participants in Pinnacle Forum groups in Modesto.
Lonny also credits Joni and Friends and other organizations for sending old wheelchairs his way. About half of them are then sent to prisons, where inmates in places like Washington and South Dakota refurbish them. Others are overhauled by volunteers in Hope Haven West’s local warehouse.
For Lonny, giving “dignity though mobility” is one way he seeks to serve “the least among us. When not fitting wheelchairs in a dust village in Latin or South America, he runs a residential home for the mentally ill, and is pushing for local government to provide needed services for the severely mentally ill who account for a share of the community’s growing homeless population.
For more information, visit Lonny’s website at www.hopehavenwest.com.
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The Bible says to “pray without ceasing” and when it comes to the Salton Sea in Southern California that’s exactly what Bryan Williams is doing.
The state’s largest lake is in trouble, as water diversions to thirsty metropolitan areas slowly but surely shrink its size, raise the salinity level, kill off the fish, drive away the birds and create a health and environmental crisis.
It had gotten so bad a few months ago that motorists were having to use their windshield wipers to see through thick layers of tiny water bugs that previously were eaten by fish.
“Now the plague is here,” Bryan said at the time, adding “We’re watching an ecosystem collapse before our eyes.”
Still, there is reason to hope, says the PinnacleForum Partner in the Coachella Valley. And to keep praying, which is what Bryan is all about as director of the Salton Sea Community.
In addition to praying himself, he continues to bring people together from churches, businesses, government agencies and community organizations to unite in asking God to save their sea.
Every Sunday morning, a prayer request is texted to scores of people – from both in and outside the Coachella Valley. And Bryan invites his PinnacleForum peers across the county to join, by texting 41411 and typing in “praynow” and then confirming it in a follow-up text.
While Bryan, his fellow Pinnacle Forum Partners and scores focus on prayer, others are involved in seeking governmental solutions to the growing crisis.
And in the past few months, several rays of hope are poking through the dark cloud hanging over the sea. Three in particular seem to have promise:
First, California Gov. Brown signed a bill putting a $200 million bond measure on this September’s election ballot. If passed, the funds would help complete a 10-year management plan.
Second, the state’s Natural Resources Agency has begun a process of evaluating the feasibility of “sea-to-sea” projects that would carry water to the Salton Sea from either the Sea of Cortez to the south or the Pacific Ocean to the west.
Third, one of the counties that borders the sea is considering a $400 million plan to construct a 4,200-acre lake that would preserve the sea’s shoreline on the north end of the lake.
All three of those have promise, Bryan says, but all three would take years to implement.
In the meantime, the Salton Sea will continue to struggle … the surrounding region will continue to suffer from some of the highest asthma and respiratory rates in the state … and Bryan will continue to call people to pray.