Michelle Dalrymple wrestles at times with finding God's purpose for her life, but she has no doubts about her upcoming trip to deliver 550 special wheelchairs to people in the Philippines.
"People over there don't have chairs," she said. "They're stuck in their homes. I'm going to be showing them how I live and how I transfer out of my chair and how I prevent pressure sores.
"What's really cool about the chairs is that they're made for Third World countries. They don't have paved walkways over there, so they have bigger casters and the wheels are made out of bike tires. They can be easily fixed because they're made out of plastic lawn chairs and bike tires. They have cushions to prevent pressure sores.
"Another exciting thing is I was born in the Philippines. My parents were missionaries there and I was there until I was 6 or 7, so I remember living there. I remember that disabled people were put out on the streets to beg because that's all they could do. This (wheelchair trip) is the main thing I'm working on in my life."
The trip is a joint effort between LifeWind International and Free Wheelchair Mission and was proposed by Michelle's dad, Terry Dalrymple, LifeWind's international coordinator.
"The wheelchairs have been designed by a guy who graduated from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)," he said. "Because they're made with bicycle tires and resin chairs, materials available locally, they can be easily maintained."
The trip, May 8-20, will be to Cebu, the second-largest Filipino city. The group of 15 people, mostly from Big Valley Grace Community Church, will assemble the chairs and help with distribution through businesses, schools, churches and nonprofit groups. Some wheelchairs will go to poor, rural areas.
"We'll bring the families of the disabled in these impoverished communities together to help them learn how to meet the needs of their disabled children and meet the needs in their communities, provide relief to each other and connect to nonprofit services," Terry Dalrymple said. "From the spiritual side, we'll be doing Bible studies with these groups as well, training these parents to go into homes and prevent disease through sanitation, kitchen gardens, etc."