National Volunteer Week - Eileen

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • April 21, 2018

Since 2012, Eileen Nyholm has served on multiple Wheels for the World (WFTW) outreaches each year. The vision of Joni and Friends was shared with her when she was recruited on an outreach to Ukraine in 2011. Motivated and inspired by this outreach, Eileen quickly signed up for her second WFTW outreach to the Dominican Republic the next year.

Since then, she’s served on 19 WFTW outreaches in 9 countries! Bringing over 35 years of experience as an occupational therapist, Eileen’s role is vital on these teams to identify the orthopedic, neurological, and skin needs of each recipient and determine which piece of equipment meets those needs. She’s often placed in leadership as the team’s Lead Therapist, who makes certain that each recipient receives a wheelchair that’s perfect for them. In 2018 alone, Eileen will be serving on 5 different WFTW outreaches, two of which are student-integrated Outreaches that partner with Huntington University’s Occupational Therapy program. The opportunity to work with students has stretched Eileen beyond what she thought was possible, but she has proven to be a faithful teacher, peer, and is beloved by all. Her willingness to serve wherever the Lord calls her has been an encouragement to many and has even inspired others to join her in serving with Joni and Friends.

Most recently, Eileen served on our WFTW El Salvador Outreach and met a woman in her late 40s who recently suffered from a stroke. The woman already had a wheelchair, but Eileen immediately noticed improper fit and technical flaws in the equipment that could be improved. The woman’s disability left her with use of only one arm, so Eileen creatively adjusted the chair so the woman would be more comfortable and be able to use it independently. Miraculously, Eileen also had the only hemi-bar included on the Outreach materials and it fit the exact side this woman needed! God had perfectly prepared for this encounter so that this woman could meet Eileen and receive the exact tools and parts needed to receive freedom and mobility.

Eileen’s drive to share the Gospel and love people who need it most fuels her mission to volunteer with Wheels for the World. Her heart especially breaks for the elderly who often suffer in less resourced countries. She likes to say, “the best is yet to come” to each person serves who accepts Jesus as their Savior.             

Eileen has recruited countless Short Term Missionaries to serve with Joni and Friends through Wheels for the World and she always tells them the same thing… “you have to experience it for yourself; it is too big and too amazing for me to describe to you, why don’t you come with me and I’ll show you what it’s all about.”

Thank you, Eileen, we’re so thankful for your faithful service at Joni and Friends! If you’d like to send Eileen a note of appreciation, be sure to leave a comment below.

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God has blessed me with Eileen as a dear friend. We met in 2004 and by 2013, I took her advise and served WFTW Cajamarca, Peru! It was my very first mission trip! Thank you dear friend for your encouragement to serve our precious Lord through this amazing ministry.
  • April 22, 2018
  • 11:14 a.m.
  • Sue Bessette
That was a surprise to see! If it helps get retired therapists involved, I say, “praises the Lord!” (It has been 16 trips—19 God willing, by this years end!...- and no, never a lead therapist—-I’m too distractible and get too involved with patient at hand to keep an overview of the “whole picture” in mind😊😍)but I’ll go as long as God sends me, and gives me strength and breath!!🙏Praise His Holy Name!!
  • April 21, 2018
  • 5:34 p.m.
  • Eileen Nyholm