A Leg Brace Changes Everything

Written by a Christian orthotist in China.

Sam, a famer in China, became the primary provider in his family after his older brother died in an accident. In addition to caring for his wife and two young daughters, he was expected to care for his aging parents as well. But a devastating fall 12 years ago changed his life.
The fall left Sam paralyzed from the waist down. He tried all kinds of cures: Western medicine, Chinese medicine and acupuncture. He and his family had many days of frustration, hopelessness, grief and despair. After their many attempts to find an effective treatment for Sam, he remained wheelchair-bound and unable to even leave the house, as the nearby roads were not paved.

“You visited me”

A Christian couple heard about Sam and often visited him in hospital. They couldn’t bring physical healing, but shared with him their hope in Christ. They journeyed with Sam, prayed with him, encouraged his faith and showed his family unconditional love.
Sam thought he would never walk again, but he fixed his eyes on the unseen and his faith kept him going. God’s grace sustained him, so he smiled even when his family couldn’t.

Walking again

When Sam stood up and walked for the first time in 10 years, no one could contain their excitement. His wife smiled for the first time in a long time. His mother and father, two teenage daughters and myself all beamed as well.
I was grateful to be able to provide these leg braces for Sam. They work by stabilizing his feet and knees so that, though he cannot use his leg muscles, Sam can use his residual hip muscles to stand up. Then using his hips and stomach, Sam can propel his legs forward in the braces and is able to walk around.
It takes lot of energy for Sam to stand and move around like this, but it is good for his physical health and helps psychologically as well.

Restoration: “Dad, I never knew you were that tall!”

Sam’s youngest daughter was only four when the accident happened. For as long as she could remember, Dad had always sat in his wheelchair. As a child, I imagine that she sat on Dad’s lap often. As she got older, she was soon standing above him. She might have wheeled Dad’s wheelchair around when needed, helped him get things off the top shelves of the bookcase or helped him find missing socks or change the light bulbs.
While Mom, Grandma and Grandpa worked in the fields, I imagine she and her sister had to cook the family meals. Dad was always home when she left or returned from school.
But this Saturday, something new happened. Dad was standing. Dad was walking.
“Dad, I never knew you are that tall,” she said when she first saw him.
Indeed. We are called to be ambassadors of reconciliation. Today a daughter saw her father in the towering protection and love that he has always wanted to provide.

Will you pray for China?

  • Give thanks for Sam’s testimony of God’s grace in the face of adversity.
  • Pray for Sam’s testimony to encourage others.
  • Lift up those with disabilities in China. Pray for God to provide for their needs and that they would be given every opportunity to thrive in their communities.

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