$2,110 of $17,000
21 donations

Let's please prayerfully support Christi, as she needs to maintain her mobility independence but which entails unexpected vehicle expenses.

I, Christi Engels, was born with Spina Bifida back in the summer of 1965. The doctors informed my parents, a minister and his wife, that it would be unlikely for me to survive or accomplish much, if anything like graduation, college, becoming a mom, having a career. However, God had other plans for my life that the doctors were unaware of. The prayers of many people were answered and I survived, beating the odds against me. It is a pattern that has been repeated countless times throughout my lifetime.
I have endured many surgeries. I was not expected to ever walk but proved them wrong again, learning to get around on crutches. This amazing spirit given to me by God caught the attention of some people from the PBS television show, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. For three years in the early 70's I portrayed Chrissie, the granddaughter of Mr. McFeely the Speedy Delivery mailman (played by David Newell) in several episodes.  My appearance gave hope to disabled children across the country by showing them that the impossible really is within reach with a lot of determination, faith in God and hard work.
In the mid-1980's, I graduated from high school and went on the earn a teaching degree in Early Childhood Education. Fred Rogers inspired me to make working with children a lifetime occupation and ministry.  I have cared for dozens of children in many various ways, sharing my love for God, His love for all of them and my indomitable spirit with every life, young and old, that I have been blessed to touch.
Several years later, I became a wife, beginning a new chapter in the story of my life. Overcoming surgery just days before the wedding, I still walked down the isle on my crutches to say 'I do' and to enter the covenant of marriage with a very blessed man.
We started building our home together, caring for children as licensed foster parents, eventually opening the door to adopting a beautiful girl. The blessings multiplied as a storm brewed in our future. In the next 3 year period, my husband would lose a job and both of his parents and I lost Grandpa.  Shortly after, my car was hit a deer causing over $4000 in damage (not covered by insurance) and we were down to one car and we lost our house due to the economic collapse. Despite all of these setbacks we continued to trust in God.  My spirit to overcome all obstacles helped to lift us up through all the difficult trials we were facing.
On the flip side, friends from church rallied behind us to help rebuild the car, our pastor first leased and then sold a van to us for a very reasonable price, and we were able to move into an apartment. Slowly we came back.
For many years I have been driving a car with a Braun wheelchair lift/topper on the roof.  I use hand controls to drive because she need the freedom of driving a car to do my work and to keep up with the kids as a mom. However, years of using crutches and pushing a wheelchair has taken its toll. Fibromyalgia and arthritis in my hands, wrist, neck and shoulders makes it painful and difficult to continue to push a manual wheelchair. I would not be looking into a wheelchair accessible van if it was not needed. I have the opportunity to continue to use a manual wheelchair with the assistance of power wheels, operated by a remote control and probably will have to switch to a power chair down the road, neither of which can be transported with the current car adaptations. The wheels go on to the manual chair currently but the chair lift is not capable of lifting the weight of the magnetic power wheels (24lbs. each). I like my independence and this was always an option of last resort. We have funding for the inner workings of the van but need to purchase the vehicle to put it all in to.

(From her husband) The lady who has given so much of herself and has overcome so many trials through sheer determination now is graciously and prayerfully asking for help in purchasing a van to get her through the next stage of life. Be assured that it will be used to continue serving others, just as she always has, with love and a fierce loyalty to God, family, friends and children in need. All donations will be greatly appreciated and used to the best of God's glory. It is humbling to be in the position to ask for assistance, but the need is greater than our ability to provide for it on our own at this time. Thank you for reading this small snapshot into the life of Christi.

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