The success of any Joni and Friends Family Retreat depends largely on having enough 'helping hands' to serve the special-needs families who attend. This year, most of our Family Retreats filled up very quickly with families – but we do not have enough 'short-term missionaries' (STMs) to help them. In fact, several of our retreats are in serious need of STMs! If the Holy Spirit is prompting you to come and volunteer, consider coming to these retreats that have the greatest need of your help – and thank you for serving Jesus by ministering to these families!
Mission Springs 1: June 10 - June 14, 2013 · Scotts Valley, CA
Kettunen: July 3 - July 7, 2013 · Tustin, MI
Mission Springs 2: July 15 - July 19, 2013 · Scotts Valley, CA
Fort Bluff Camp Dayton: July 21 - July 25, 2013 · Dayton, TN
Bonclarken 2: August 12 - August 16, 2013 · Flat Rock, NC
Twin Rocks: August 12 - August 16, 2013 · Rockaway Beach, OR
Castaway Club: August 15 - August 19, 2013 · Detroit Lakes, MN
Joni and Friends Cause 4 Life interns walk in the footsteps of Jesus as they minister God’s heart to people with disability in Uganda. In the latest episode of the Cause 4 Life Love.Heal.Defend. web series, Cause 4 Life interns visit Dennis, a recent Wheels for the World wheelchair recipient. As the team meets with Dennis, a group of children from the local village swarm the interns. Watch as they take this opportunity to lead worship and demonstrate the special value God places on children like Dennis.
For those with disabilities in less-developed countries, their health will often deteriorate due to lack of therapy, adequate housing and care, and a proper fitting wheelchair. It’s why we at Joni and Friends make every effort to provide desperately needed mobility and the Gospel of Jesus to people with disabilities around the world. And we can only do it through the help of friends like you. Visit our Wheels for the World page to learn how you can help distribute wheelchairs and Bibles to people in need. And to inspire you, here’s a short video on what our Wheels for the World ministry is doing worldwide.
Happy Mother’s Day! On this special day, we’re sharing a letter from Maria, a special needs mother who was able to attend Family Retreat because of your generosity. Thank you for your gifts that have blessed Maria and many mothers like her…
At the age of 3, Satit contracted polio. Living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, he was the eldest son in a Christian family that loved God’s word and believed in the power of prayer. Even though he could no longer walk, Satit prayed for God to use his life to bring others to Christ in Thailand. At 16, Satit felt God’s call to ministry and applied to many seminaries, only to be turned away. Pointing to his weak legs, he was told over and over again, “God can’t use you.” Without a wheelchair, it seemed they might be right. But Satit’s faith and prayer never wavered. Even though he did not have a wheelchair, “I attended as many Bible studies as I could,” said Satit. “God has called me to be an ambassador for Christ. I prayed for strength, for God’s provision of a wheelchair … and for souls.” Today, Satit and his wife work tirelessly to rescue children from the streets, where they are used in drug trafficking...
Maria lived in extreme poverty in Guatemala. Her husband, ashamed of their daughter’s disability, abandoned the family, leaving them homeless. But through your generosity and the help of our ministry partners and volunteers, we were able to build a “casa” for Maria, that is, a home for her and her family. Want a sneak peak at how we did it? Take a look at this short video clip. We know it will encourage all who watch it, so share it with your friends. And don’t forget to check out the rest of Maria’s story by watching the full TV episode, A Casa for Maria.
Young Ivan in Uganda has cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder. Because of his disability, no one has ever visited him. In the latest episode of the Cause 4 Life Love. Heal. Defend. web series, watch as our team reaches out to Ivan, visiting him in his home, and provides him with a new mattress and electric lantern.
While all major hotels now boast several Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant suites, the Sheraton Agoura Hills located next door to the Joni and Friends International Disability Center is the first to dedicate one such suite to Joni Eareckson Tada, who served on the National Council on Disability in helping to craft the ADA legislation more than 20 years ago. Joni shared, “We are proud to have the Sheraton Agoura Hills as a neighbor here at the International Disability Center, and I am humbled that they would choose to dedicate a suite in my name. The honor truly goes to the entire Joni and Friends staff who serve every day to help share the hope of the Gospel with those with disabilities and their families.” A unique feature of the Joni Eareckson Tada Suite at the Sheraton Agoura Hills is that Joni’s paintings grace the walls throughout the suite. A statement released by the hotel lauded the artwork, calling Joni “a remarkably talented woman.” The statement continued: “The Sheraton Agoura Hills Hotel is proud to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act by providing accessible suites for our guests with disabilities. We have dedicated this particular suite in honor of our friend and neighbor, Joni Eareckson Tada.”
The National Day of Prayer is right around the corner, and Christians across America will soon be uniting together to lift heartfelt cries before Almighty God. Join us this Thursday, May 2, in asking the Lord to send a Spirit-blessed revival across our nation. You can find a National Day of Prayer observance in your community or start one with your Bible study group or neighbors. And to give you a little motivation, here’s a short video message from Joni on this very topic. Let’s get praying, friend, because remember: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:11-12).
Cathryn is a beautiful 21-year-old with a ready smile and a keen intellect. Her dad often serves as Camp Pastor at Family Retreat – but Cathryn has her own reasons for coming every summer. “I’m surrounded by love at Family Retreat,” she explains. “I can be myself without worrying about looking just right. There’s a side of me that comes out at Retreat that doesn’t come out any other place…. It’s an important part of my year because I can do things here I don’t normally do. It means something special to me to share my thoughts and hang out with people who understand me.” Cathryn’s family understands disability firsthand. “We had no clue...