I am amazed, looking back, at how God prepared me in many different ways to be a special needs mom, usually without my knowlege. Meeting Tony Melendez in 1993 was an example of how He showed me that no matter how a person appears handicapped, the gifts of God enable him to spread the Gospel with his heartfelt example.When Gabbi (seen here with Tony) was a baby, I attended a concert by Tony Melendez, in my parish, and was so impressed with his witness to faith and empowerment, that I read his autobiography. Tony was a Thalidomide baby, born without arms in Nicaragua. His parents emigrated to the USA to give him more opportunities. He taught himself to play guitar with his feet, and has been giving testimony ever since with his beautiful voice and inspirational songs to the goodness of God's gift of life. One of the songs he sang at the Prayer Meeting was,
"Hands in Heaven". You may remember September 15, 1987, in Los Angeles, when Tony sang for Pope John Paul II who was so moved, that he jumped down from the platform he was on and climbed up where Tony was to give him a hug.
When I saw Tony yesterday, at the 14th Annual National Memorial for hte Pre-Born and their Mothers and Fathers, I showed him the baby he had met, now 14 and asked if the prayers he requested to have children with his wife had been answered. The couple have been able to adopt two children. I shared that I had a special needs child, and thanked Tony for his witness to the beauty of God's gift of life.
Tony's biography is available on DVD here.