Catalyst Project

Facilitating wheelchair services through faith-based hospitals in low-resource countries.

Blog December 17th, 2021

As I was growing up my father frequently talked about what he would be doing when he retired. He didn’t like his trade (he was a stone mason and a brick layer) and he didn’t like Edmonton, the city he grew up in. His retirement dream was moving to and building a house in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. From there he expected to make trips to Golf Courses in the area on what sounded like a daily basis. I wonder if even Tiger Woods plays golf every day.

Mom and Dad did move to the island, and they did build that house and in many ways Dad was content, at least for a little while. It became apparent that the amount of effort it took to take care of their new home, the cost of living on the island, and the cost of using the ferryboat system and of course greens fees made things difficult on a retirement salary. So, Mom and Dad modified the dream and moved to Vernon B.C. on the mainland. They purchased a condo that had a grounds keeper included in the deal and of course there were Golf courses nearby.

It wasn’t too long before visits to the golf courses ebbed and life in general slowed to a pace that included a lot of naps, watching T.V. etc. To be fair Dad had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and it progressed slowly eating away his ability to enjoy the things he loved. All of this begs the question, what should we be doing during the retirement years?

When I have questions like that I will go to the Bible for insight as to how to answer the question and you know what, I have found one bit of scripture that addresses the issue, at least for Levites. Numbers 8:23-26. This passage indicates that Levites who reach the age of 50 must stop serving at the Temple but continue to serve the younger Levites by guarding the temple. Some writers have referred to them as warrior priests. Makes me wonder what a trained 50-year-old could do against a trained 25-year- old but I digress.

I think that the modern notion of retirement is not found in the scriptures. There are probably many reasons for this including the fact that very few people lived to what we call retirement age. So, like the Levite, maybe we are supposed to be employed doing the Lord’s work and guarding the younger folks in our circle of influence. I can think of many things the church needs that older people can do:

1. Visiting and encouraging the elderly and infirm

2. Leading bible studies

3. Maintaining the Church Building

4. Prayer

5. Fund Raising

6. Membership on the Church Board

7. Missions

There are probably many more items that could be added to the list, but you get the idea.

Karen and I are both over 65 and have retired from the university professorships we held for 18 years. Instead, we are running a not for profit called “The Assistive Technology Catalyst Project”. The purpose of the project is to get Assistive Technology to people living in low resourced settings. We have focused our efforts on pediatric wheelchairs for children in Kenya. The project is growing and people from other countries and continents have tapped into the project’s resources. Please visit the A.T. Catalyst web page ( or go to our personal web page ( ) and consider how you might become involved.


Phil Rispin