Anomalies From the Rooftop

Theology from Anomalies. One story a day from the world of Christianity that is just a little off-beat. Sometimes, in shouting the good news from the rooftop, Christians do some strange things.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Methodists Make ATV Wheelchairs

According to this article from the United Methodist News Service, a group of retirement age Methodists in central Texas are spending their days building special wheelchairs designed to be operated by hand and to stand up the challenges posed by Third-World infrastructure. The article does not even do the wheelchairs justice, but this picture speaks its thousand words. And the word wheelchairs doesn't do these vehicles justice either, the proper term is Personal Energy Transportation, or P.E.T.

This ministry is not limited to these Texas Methodists. Indeed, the umbrella group, A Gift of Mobility, has workshops all over the country. Some of these workshops even have their own websites, like the Tampa P.E.T. group.

In thinking about this project from the standpoint of an individual church, the great thing is that it allows a church to undertake a mission project to a poverty stricken part of the world without ever having to go anywhere. Mission trips where people build things always seem to be the most powerful mission trips for the people who go on them, but it can be so hard (and is often economically wasteful) to get people to fly across the world. But it would be relatively easy to get a group of people together to measure and cut the wooden and metal parts that will finally be constructed into P.E.T.s.

It is impossible to build a cinderblock house or church in Texas and ship it to Africa. But with these P.E.T.s. it is possible to send build something at home that could radically improve a person's life half a world away.


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