MDFF receives many applications each year for our Accessible Van Giveaway Program. We would love to provide an accessible van to ALL of the families who apply. Unfortunately, we are limited in resources. One of the families whose application for an accessible van was not accepted in 2021 were Lawrence and Patina Winston and their daughter, Jazzaria, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1 (SMA).
It is not fun to tell the families that they are not getting an accessible van. The news fell heavy on the hearts of Lawrence and Patina, but they were genuinely overjoyed for the two families who did receive the two vans MDFF gave away in 2021.
Patina thought it wise to start setting aside money for an accessible van, knowing that it would take years to raise the necessary funds of over $45,000 to purchase a van. Lawrence felt in his heart that the Lord would provide an accessible van somehow.
Long-time family friends of the Winston’s, who also have a very sick daughter, recently purchased an accessible minivan. The family already had a large van to transport their daughter but desired a minivan due to its ease of use. Their new minivan was very nice, but the mother said, "Every time I got in the van, it was like I was driving someone else's van. It never felt comfortable, and it never felt like it was mine." Perhaps all newly purchased cars feel this way. This feeling, however, did not go away.
One day, driving their minivan, the mother said aloud, "Why does this van not feel like it's mine? Whose van is it?”
And she heard a voice that said, "This is the Winston's van."
An immediate peace came over her.
The family knew what they had to do.
In December, the family friends drove their 2009 Chrysler Town and Country accessible van over to the Winston's, put a big red bow on the top of the van and had twenty other friends stand in front of the van, hiding it from view.
They knocked on the Winston's front door and said, "Lawrence and Patina, put your coats on, and come outside."
When the Winston's stepped outside their house and into their driveway, the twenty friends temporarily blocking the vehicle stepped to the side, revealing the beautiful van with a bow on top.
Tears flooded both Lawrence and Patina’s eyes. The van was an answer to prayer and a tremendous blessing for their family.
Patina remarked, "That our response of never losing faith and praising the Lord even when we didn’t win the MDFF van was honest, real, and heartfelt. We were so very thankful for the families that did win - and despite our loss, we praise the Lord for their blessing. Never give up on God - He has promised "to never leave us or forsake us" and the verse that says "and we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose…I saw that verse come to life - in my life - and I cried tears of thankfulness to the Lord."
MDFF is now working with the Winston's on hotel suite accommodations for their one week visit to Cincinnati hospital for Jazzaria in June. In addition, MDFF is researching purchasing a generator for the Winston’s home so that Jazzaria's equipment can still work in the event of a power failure - which happens a lot in LaPorte, Indiana!