CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija — The first time we saw her, I noticed she was a bit shorter than me. It was then I realized she was on her knees, excited to see a visitor.
We informed Luz Velasco that she would be one of the beneficiaries of a new wheelchair from Operation Blessing, done in cooperation with Free Wheelchair Mission and Adventist Development and Relief Agency. The moment she heard the news, a broad smile spread across her face.
Last May 21, Operation Blessing distributed wheelchairs to 12 individuals with disabilities in Cabanatuan, and Luz was one of them.
Not an Easy Past
When she was three, Luz was diagnosed with a disease that made her muscles move involuntarily, making her twitch uncontrollably all the time.
Going places can be tiring since Luz has to crawl on her knees. But her disability does not hinder her from attending church regularly. If she is not able to crawl, she is carried by either her nephew or her sister-in-law Ruby.
At the age of 31, Luz was sexually assaulted by a stranger in her own home while she was alone sleeping. The last thing she could remember was she blacked out and found herself naked in the morning. Because of that incident she now has a 13-year-old son, who works in a duck farm and goes home during weekends.
Her brother Mario lives across her house and is constantly helping her get by every day.
A Better Future
Luz arrived at the church with her brother accompanying her. She sat on her new wheelchair and Mario wheeled her in.
As she waited for the program to start, people talked to her, and they shared their stories to one another. You could feel their joy just by watching them from a distance.
“Para akong nabunutan ng tinik nung nagka-wheelchair ako. Naginhawaan ang puso ko,” (It’s as if a thorn in my heart was removed when I received the wheelchair. My heart was relieved) said Luz.
Ruby approached us during the program and asked if we can give Luz a sari-sari store as her source of income. Since her home is just beside the school gate, her store would surely be full of students during recess or lunch.
Operation Blessing granted her request. On the same day, Ruby, along with Operation Blessing staff, went to the supermarket to buy things to fill up a sari-sari store, like food and toiletries.
When we arrived at her house, Luz was surprised to see us with boxes full of groceries, and immediately tears welled down her face. She promised that she will take good care of her new livelihood.
Starting a new life seemed exciting for her, and when asked how she felt about all the blessings she had received, Luz simply said, “Napakadakila Niya. Lahat ng mga hiling ko ay natupad.” (He is great! All my wishes were granted.)
(Contributed by Ana Pascual)
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