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February 11, 2011 - 

When Sandy and Chuck Leininger arrive at church on Sunday mornings, some people describe it as an “event” that amazes and humbles other members of Unity Christian Reformed Church in Prinsburg, Minn.

Three of the Leininger’s eight children have disabilities that require the use of wheelchairs.

Joshua, 17, their youngest biological child, has cerebral palsy. Josiah, 4, and Chelda, 9, are children with disabilities that the Leiningers adopted from Haiti. The Leiningers first heard of Josiah and Cheldea through fellow church members Jan and Bud Bonnema, who helped found the Children of the Promise orphanage in Haiti. Neither child can speak or walk.

As the three children grew and it became more difficult for Sandy and Chuck to lift and carry them, it became clear that the family would need a specially equipped van with a hydraulic lift.

Chuck found the right van in Idaho, but the $35,000 pricetag was pretty steep. That’s when the church stepped in to help pay for the van.

The church organized a fund-raising dinner and auction on January 26, hoping to raise $2,000-$3,000 toward the cost of the van.

Everyone was surprised and delighted when friends, neighbors, and church members turned out in large numbers and more than $12,000 was raised.

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