Thank you to everyone who has given and prayed for the “Designed to Live Mobile O&P Care Unit”!!
By Katie Leatherwood, Director, Designed to Live, a BBI ministry of mercy
RIGA, Latvia – As of December 25th, I reached my $20,000 goal and was able to purchase the vehicle!! If you gave towards this project, you helped to make phase 1 of the Mobile O&P Care Unit a reality. The funds received for this project have been used on the purchase of the vehicle and will also go towards phase 2 and 3 which includes up-fitting the car with necessary tools and materials as well as maintaining the needed materials and supplies to repair and fabricate O&P devices. Phase 3 will be an ongoing need to keep the Mobile O&P Care Unit functional.
The details of buying the vehicle once again showed how awesome God’s perfect timing and provision are. His faithfulness in blessing the Designed to Live ministry has been abundantly evident.
Different types of vehicles had been considered; pick-up trucks, cargo vans, bread vans, mini vans, station wagon and SUV. When money started to come, I narrowed down the type of vehicle to a station wagon type. Besides cargo space for O&P materials and equipment, other factors to be considered were passenger seating (visitors, translators and assistants), ease of parking in narrow European streets, gas mileage ($6.00 per gallon) and safety on winter roads.
I quickly found out used car shopping in Latvia is MUCH different than in the USA. Different things had to be considered; honesty, warranties, translation, purchase process, repair and maintenance costs and theft targeting. When an odometer says 130,000 km, it is really 300,000 km. Private sales and used car dealerships play this game and it is a well-known and an accepted reality. Also, the service history can be either altered or unknown.
Kaspars Apinis, with Wings for Wheels (YWAM), proved to be invaluable. He had been helping me look, giving me good advice and cautioned me about things to be aware of; keeping my ‘car emotions’ in line with reality. After sorting through many options, talking with salesmen and test driving, Kaspars found an option at a Toyota dealership that seemed perfect. It was practically new and had been previously owned by an old man that hardly drove it. Because of the clear and accurate history of the car, it was ready to go without any needed service or repairs!
After looking, test driving, many questions, thinking and prayer, I was almost sure it was The One. I prayed that God would make it clear to me that this was the vehicle He had provided for the Mobile O&P Care Unit. My parents were arriving that afternoon and I wanted my dad’s opinion. I knew that the car would go fast but also had faith that if it is indeed the vehicle for the ministry, it would still be available when I was ready to buy.
Two days later we met Kaspars at the dealership. I made the final decision to proceed with the purchase. Kaspars was with us through the entire process, ensuring everything was done correctly. We could not have done it without his help or the generosity of those that gave. Another huge blessing is the gift of free parking.
Now for the details:
- 2012 Toyota Avensis Tourer
- 23,000 km (new car smell still present)
- 2 years left on powertrain warranty
- Included: tinted windows, alarm system, winter and summer tires
My church, Vīlandes Baptist Church, is allowing me to park the Designed to Live Mobile O&P Care Unit in a locked area on the church property, saving me $75/month in parking fees. Vīlandes has been a vital part in helping me feel more at home in Latvia. They have welcomed me into their family and provided me with a Christian support system and discipleship.
I will be ordering the needed materials for fabrication, evaluation and repair of O&P devices this week. In the next few weeks I will meet with some people to give me some plans and ideas for up-fitting the cargo area to store the tools and equipment.
I also hope to get the remainder of the donated O&P components shipped from Texas to Latvia.
Thank you for providing the gift of mobility this Christmas!!