Catalyst Project

Facilitating wheelchair services through faith-based hospitals in low-resource countries.

I wrote this yesterday on US Thanksgiving Day. Our Canadian day was in October. Either way, thanksgiving comes in the fall. It's a rich harvest time, but is on the cusp of winter. Here in Alberta, all of nature is downsizing and heading into challenging times. The pasture where I walk our dog gets simpler with the loss of summer birds and leaves. The texture of grass, rocks and flowers is lost under the abstract of windblown snow. For songbirds the time of songs, babies and bugs is over, no more home territory, just a long hard trip to a new place.

A robin is sitting on the snowy branch of an otherwise bare bush.

Thank you so much for your friendship, collaboration and prayers over the years we have been doing this!! You all have been such a gift as we partnered together to get appropriate care and wheelchairs to those who need them, collaborating to bring resources and training to existing faith-based health initiatives.

I mentioned earlier that Phil had been diagnosed with Parkinsons. That diagnosis has been modified to include Lewy Body Dementia. He's still mostly okay now. However it seems like time for me to step back to focus on being with him. I'm planning to retire at the end of December.

Good news! Things will be even better on-going because God has brought a great team together.

Kenya team gathered around a tableList of items that constitute an empowered caregiver

A Catalyst team led by Dr. Jessica Tsotsoros was in Kenya recently. The team which included occupational and physical therapy professors, practitioners, and students worked closely with Kenyan therapists. Learning went both ways!  Here’s a picture from a seminar on teaching parents to care for their special needs children.  Look at the collaboration happening!  And the huge impact on lives on the white board that the caregivers themselves listed.

Catalyst logo

God has brought people on board that have broadened our focus to provide different types of training that will enable better care for those with disabilities. We’re also working in Guatemala as well as Africa, so the old logo that focused on wheelchairs and Africa is now only part of what we do. Please pray with me as I mentor and facilitate!

New things happening and new people!

Two pieces of good news.

  • It is so exciting that a colleague has taken the first steps to become a trainer of trainers for the Ubuntu program that helps parents care for their children with disabilities. that program also starts support groups, so parents are no longer alone. We hope to initiate this program at our partner locations.
  • In Kenya last month, Luke McAuley and I were able to meet with the team involved with beginning a centre of excellence in Kenya. That team is moving toward manufacturing wheelchairs for adults with good upper body. This led to an opportunity to provide a study to help them to improve their initial prototype.

The team in Kenya The team working on a chair in Kenya

It’s been a stressful week. I’ve had a cold and so many things are happening with AT Catalyst. Good things, and challenging. The deadline for a trip to Kenya is here - flights out *this afternoon! It's hard to leave Phil, but he wants me to go this time. We live in such a convoluted world, always things to stew over, to try to figure out.

Sign post with an arrow pointing the way to "Prudence."

Prudence is not a word one hears very often. But it has kind of been in my face this week for several reasons. We've been studying Proverbs. Proverbs 1:3&4 talk about the need for prudence. I looked it up, and realized it is so central to things happening for us in 2023. "Good judgement in new situations. Careful use of resources."

Challenges needing prudence

A personal challenge

Bushes with no leaves, covered in snow; a robin sits on one of the branches. Included are the words, ''Merry Christmas.''

I took this photo during the first snow in October.
The robin was on his way to warmer places.
A spot of colour and hope on a cold day. 

Wishing you a Christmas full of hope.

Bright hope in a cold world!

For unto us a child is born. Unto us a son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulders. And his name shall be called Wonderful, the might God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

It was really encouraging to work together with those that joined us from four organizations: Emmanuel, Soddo Christian Hospital, Agape Mobility, and Cure Ethiopia. Doors are opening! And even better, the organization in Ethiopia are beginning to collaborate on caring for those who need wheelchairs and prosthetics. Now we all need wisdom to walk through open doors wisely. Please keep praying!

Flag of Ethiopia

It would be great if you could stop and pray! We are Heading for Ethiopia next week.

God has opened doors for a team to come together that includes two physical therapists with wheelchair expertise, a biomedical engineer, two nurses, a pastor, and a man who is expert in helping farmers with disability keep working. Therapists, prosthetists and other interested people from four organizations are planning to be there: Soddo Christian Hospital, Emmanuel, Agape and CURE Ethiopia. Please pray that the fruit of the Spirit will shine through it all, for unity, for peace, and favour in the details involved. We're brining some pediatric supportive wheelchairs for children with cerebral palsy so please pray that these come safely without trouble.