Local group to help in Hurricane relief effort in Haiti, focusing on people with disabilities

Posted at 5:45 PM, Oct 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-17 19:24:37-04

When you look at Shanda Gobeli, your first thought might be focused on her limitations.

"They look at me and they see my limitations, but then they see my God that goes beyond that,” said the Strength of Heart missionary.

Gobeli is anything but limited though. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, she told me she's found her purpose overseas, in Haiti.

“I really enjoy kind of going beyond the normal."

Traveling on her sixth trip with the partner group ‘Mission USA’ in Barberton, Gobeli’s role is to encourage those devastated by tragedy who look just like her.

“Shanda is terrific, we take her because she brings hope and encouragement," said Fred Muffet, Executive Director of Mission USA.

Gobeli explained it’s dear to her heart.

“It's like my just one of them. Because I use a wheelchair that kind of bypasses the cultural differences and the language differences, they accept me and I accept them," she said.

Packing up and preparing, the national and international disaster relief non-profit group will head to Haiti for hurricane relief specifically catering to those with disabilities early next month.

"The reason that I went, I could not drink a glass of water, I couldn't take a shower knowing that all of those people were suffering. It's gut wrenching," said Sandy Muffet, Co-Owner of Mission USA.

Shipping relief supplies is actually more difficult than it seems.

“You just can't send stuff and think it's going to be there in two weeks time... so it's going to be a difficult time for many many Haitians for the next several months," Mr. Muffet said.

That’s why the group is taking more of a "boots on the ground" type of approach.

“And also when we go on our trips we bring back to our local churches the visions that we saw and the needs that are there," said Mr. Muffet.

Gobeli told me going overseas is not just about helping them, it’s also mutually rewarding.

“It's not that we're going to them and helping them, it's a partnership because they help us too. They give us love and affection, and they teach us so much."

The group tells me they're still in need and are continuing to take money and wheelchair donations before their November 8 trip to Haiti for a week. They plan to return again in February.

If you want to help, you can donate and read more information about the group on their website.