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Pure religion: Moving by himself

Just east of the Black Sea and south of the Caucasus Mountains lies the country of Georgia, and in a city on the northern border of that country lived a small family of four. The youngest member of the family was a boy of 13 years. His name is Simon.

Simon had muscular dystrophy and was paralyzed from the waist down. Since he could not walk and could barely move his arms, his mother had to carry him from place to place. As a consequence, Simon had never been to school. In fact, he had rarely gone outside the house.

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As he grew, it became harder to move him. By the time Simon was 13, he was heavier than his mother and, because it was so awkward to move him, had already broken his arm from a fall.

Simon's mother and father had sought help from every source they could think of. If only they had a wheelchair, then they could move Simon from room to room or outside.

But though they asked and asked, no one had the resources to help . . . until the day a large package arrived at their door.

A wheelchair! But not any ordinary wheelchair. This was a motorized wheelchair.

The parents rejoiced. They laughed and wept, they were so grateful. But Simon was terrified. He had never seen anything like this contraption before and he vowed he would never get near it. He cried and pleaded with them to take the dreadful machine away.

After a great deal of persistent begging, they finally persuaded Simon to give it a try. He sat in the chair, touched a lever . . . and moved. For the first time in his life, he could move by himself.

It was a wonder and a miracle.

But who sent the chair? They wished to thank them.

It was delivered by Ray and June Kemp, welfare missionaries from Essex, England, living six hours away in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. It was a gift from the Church.

When Elder and Sister Kemp heard that Simon and his family wanted to thank them personally, they arranged to meet them the next time they traveled to that faraway city. When they arrived, the family was prepared for them. Even though they lived in a humble home and had little money, they had filled a table with every kind of food imaginable.

"They treated us like royalty," Sister Kemp said. "They couldn't afford the meal, but it was the only way they had of thanking us."

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