Mother and son working with international ministry to deliver wh - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Mother and son working with international ministry to deliver wheelchairs around the world

Mother finds healing through international ministry Mother finds healing through international ministry

A Lubbock man and his mother are working together to deliver wheelchairs to people around the world.

When Travis Rowan, 25, is not working his normal 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job, you can find him in the small town of Locketville, Texas.

After work, he volunteers to collect donated wheelchairs for a Joni and Friends ministry called Wheels for the World.

"We do wheelchairs, walkers, canes, non electric equipment," Rowan said.

Once he gathers enough donated equipment, he drives it to a regional center in Dallas. From there, the wheelchairs are sent to correctional facilities all over the country where inmates work to refurbish the wheelchairs to like-new condition.

Once the wheelchairs are ready, they are shipped to countries all over the world, like Thailand.

"My mom is a full-time missionary in Thailand; she is in the distribution field. She custom-fits the wheelchairs to people in villages who don't have electricity or who have never even seen wheelchairs and they are in their '30s and '40s," Rowan said.

Rowan's mother, Celeste, will serve a full year overseas in Thailand. However, thanks to technology, she does not have to go a day without seeing her son.

Rowan said they have worked out a routine to video chat twice a day.

Celeste said she loves that they are both connected by this ministry.

"He gathers the wheelchairs up and then I get to give them to the people," Celeste said.

It's a full circle ministry for this family.

"That is your prayer when you are raising your children, is that they grow up and serve others," Celeste said.

While Celeste continues her work in Thailand, other volunteers in Cuba are preparing for their next shipment, which will contain a very special purple wheelchair.

"We had a beautiful girl, Julia," said Tracy Baugh.

Baugh said her daughter, Julia, was born with a rare disorder.

Doctors told Baugh and her family that Julia would most likely not live past the age of two, but Julia surprised them all.

Baugh said her daughter lived to be 24-years-old.

"She passed away in December of 2015, right before Christmas," Baugh said.

"After she passed, we felt like it would be such a great honor to her memory and help with her legacy to do something with that wheelchair," Baugh said.

Baugh said her family did some research and learned about Wheels for the World.

She learned Rowan was the volunteer for this area, so she contacted him and decided to donate Julia's chair to the ministry.

Baugh prays the person who receives Julia's chair will be able to experience life in a new way.

Baugh is the franchise owner of Lubbock's Home Instead Senior Care.

She is now working with Rowan to host annual wheelchair drives.

This year's drive will take place on Saturday, April 8, at Home Instead located at 1010 Slide Road in Lubbock.

The drive will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Rowan and Baugh said if you cannot make it to the drive, they would be happy to accept donations at any time throughout the year.

Rowan has also offered to pick up any wheelchairs, canes or walkers if the person is unable to drop them off.

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