A one-of-a-kind Christian prosthetics ministry, joined by the 15-year-old Bubble Wrap contest winner, will set off to Ghana this week on a mission to change lives – one leg at a time.
Standing with Hope, the world's only evangelical prosthetics ministry, is preparing to introduce Grayson Rosenberger's $11 Bubble Wrap cosmetic covering for prosthetic legs this week to the West African nation.
The eighth grader beat out some 800 contestant in a national contest sponsored by Sealed Air Corporation to invent a new use for Bubble Wrap. Grayson wrapped Bubble Wrap around the pylon of an artificial leg using packing tape and a heat gun to simulate muscle tissue and shape. He then pulled a flesh-colored hose over the limb to create an inexpensive cosmetic covering for prostheses to help amputee better blend into their society.
On the upcoming trip Grayson is joining his parents Peter and Gracie Rosenberger, founders of Standing with Hope, to provide artificial legs with coverings and bring a team of American prosthetists to train Ghanaian technicians to build limbs with the goal of sharing the hope of the Good News to amputees in Ghana.
"Prosthetics is a very personal business because you are holding someone's leg, you are fitting that leg and it is custom made to that person," Peter Rosenberger explained to The Christian Post. "It is our way of communicating to them that they are important as an individual; that God knows their name."
Standing with Hope began its outreach in Ghana in 2005 when it joined forces with the country's government to provide supplies to Ghanaian technicians to develop prostheses for their own people. The ministry's co-founder, Gracie Rosenberger, is a bi-amputee who lost both her legs during a devastating car accident in 1983. Over the next two decades she has undergone 70 surgeries and is still often admitted to the intensive care for persistent pain and other injury related problems.
Despite Gracie's ongoing battle with her disability, she and her husband Peter live and preach a life of hope that they found in Jesus Christ.
Peter recalled his oldest son Parker asking him as a nine-year-old why he should believe in God when he saw what God had allowed his mother to go through.
"Look, I don't know how all this works out with your mom but I know that God loves us enough to send His son to die for us on the cross because we cannot go to heaven on our own," Peter had answered his small son. "If He loves us that much then I'm going to trust Him in this area and that He is faithful."
The couple further taught their sons that "people are more than their disabilities; the limitations are in the heart and everything else is adaptive equipment."
Through the ministry's outreach in Ghana, the Rosenbergers continue to share this message with people overseas who struggle to find hope to overcome the daily challenges confronted by amputees. Each of the patients at the clinic the ministry works with receives a Bible and Ghanaian Christian staffs follow-up with counseling and Bible studies with the patients.
"For us, it is a real privilege to be able to serve and communicate the same hope that sustains us," Peter said. "This is our small part to play in the Kingdom of God. It is about communicating a hope that transcends legs and surgeries and relationships and heartaches and all these things and ultimately points to the cross and says you know it's about Him."
Since 2005 the ministry has helped 50-75 amputees gain the power to stand up with hope. The ministry continues to care for the patient for the rest of their lives providing replacement, adjustment and building new parts for the prostheses. Standing with Hope tries to visit the clinic and patients in Ghana twice a year.
During this latest trip, the ministry will begin training on above the knee and arm prostheses for the first time. The Rosenbergers are scheduled to take off for Ghana on Thursday.