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Church wheelchair donations aid mobility on the islands of Guam and Palau

A desire to share more about the new Yigo Guam Temple and help others in need led to the donation


A desire to share more about the new Yigo Guam Temple and help others in need led to the recent donation of 324 wheelchairs on the island of Guam from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The process began when R. Ching Batimana, a member of the Church in Guam, met Timothy W. Taitano, who lost both legs just below the knees and was using a worn-out wheelchair.

Batimana then contacted Guam’s Department of Integrated Services for Individuals with Disabilities and discussed receiving donated wheelchairs from the Church.

Besides helping individuals in need, Batimana felt, the project also “would expand the Church’s presence on the island of Guam and indirectly would share more about our Yigo Guam Temple and its members,” reported the Church’s Guam Newsroom

Elder William H.K. Davis, an Area Seventy and an employee of the Church’s Welfare and Self-Reliance Services in the Asia North Area, made a request to order a 40-foot container of wheelchairs. Elder Joseph and Sister Constance Green, communications and humanitarian missionaries working in Elder Davis’ department, helped with the project. 

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Port authority employees stand with Elder William H.K. Davis, Area Seventy in the Church’s Asia North Area, center, and Elder Joseph and Sister Constance Green on the right with Ching Batimana on the left in May 2022 when wheelchairs from the Church arrived in Hagatna, Guam.

La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días

To accommodate the weather and conditions in Guam, each wheelchair was ordered with composite spokes that will not rust, tubeless tires that will not go flat, and a seat cushion for comfort, reported Newsroom. Each has the name of the Church embroidered on the back. 

Department of Integrated Services for Individuals with Disabilities deputy director Michelle Perez said the wheelchair donation from the Church was unique and welcome: “DISID has not received a generous donation like this in at least a decade.”

On May 17, the day of the official donation, Taitano received the first wheelchair with smiles, congratulations and photos. 

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Church missionaries, leaders and members with government officials and wheelchair recipients in Hagatna, Guam, May 17, 2022.

La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días

During the donation ceremony at the governor’s office, Elder Davis explained that offerings and donations made by Church members made the wheelchairs possible. 

“We follow the two great commandments. One is to love God, and the other is to love our neighbor as ourselves, and one of the best ways that we can love our neighbor is to be of service to them,” Elder Davis said.

Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero thanked the Church on behalf of the people of her territory, and Lt Gov. Josh Tenorio said: “You said it was a small token, but the impact is very great for the island. Your congregation has played a pivotal role here on the island of Guam.” 

Both leaders expressed their feelings and knowledge of the Yigo Guam Temple they had recently toured, showing the great influence the members and the temple have on the community, said the Newsroom report.

Palau wheelchair donation

The nearby island of Palau, southwest of Guam, also received 124 wheelchairs from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently. 

The donation ceremony was held at the Belau National Hospital on July 12, reported the Church’s Guam Newsroom.

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From left, Elder Joseph and Sister Constance Green, Church humanitarian and communications missionaries; Koror Branch President Ej Tyler Ozu; Palau Minister of Health Gaafar Uherbelau; Elder William H.K. Davis, Area Seventy; Ernest Simer, recipient of the first wheelchair on behalf of his wife, Wilma, in Koror, Palau, July 12, 2022.

La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días

The president of the Koror Branch in the Barrigada Guam Stake, President Ej Tyler Ozu, gave remarks, saying: “On behalf of our Church, we are humbled, our hearts are full of gratitude that we can help the people of Palau and to provide a service for them. We hope through following in Christ’s footsteps that we can open the doors to a more beneficial community effort, to work together.”

As during the earlier wheelchair donation in Guam, Elder Davis spoke about following the two great commandments and how members of the Church pay tithes and offerings.

“We are so happy to be right here in Palau and to provide this service, especially to some of our most vulnerable people in the community,” Elder Davis said.

The Belau Hospital is the only national hospital in Palau, and serves all 18,092 residents on the island, reported Newsroom. Elder and Sister Green met with the hospital’s director a few months previously to inquire about the hospital’s needs. They found it has a huge need for wheelchairs.

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A shipment of wheelchairs arrives on the island of Palau donated by the Church for the Belau National Hospital in Koror, Palau, in July 2022.

La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días

Minister of Health Gaafar Uherbelau thanked the Church for the wheelchairs on behalf of all who would benefit. 

“It is a very challenging and difficult time, so to be receiving this donation has a very impactful effect on the community, whether it’s seen or not or published or not,” he said. “The Lord works in mysterious ways and so we really appreciate it, especially during this difficult time.”

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