This week marks the 20th anniversary of our Family Retreats – it was 1991 when we held our first retreat for disabled people and their families at Spruce Lake in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Yesterday, Ken and I whipped out a fun video greeting, congratulating the group at Spruce Lake this week. Click on the video and pass on the link to your friends; it’s a celebration worth sharing far and wide as we praise God for His faithfulness over the years!
Wheels for the World is preparing to head to the nation of Jordan with 200 wheelchairs and Joni books in Arabic – and already, we're asking God for his favor over this unique outreach into the heart of the Middle East. The trip dates are November 9–November 19, 2011, and our good friend Gene Newman will be leading the team to the capital city of Amman and beyond. We have a need for more mechanics and seating specialists (physical and occupational therapists). If God is tapping on your heart to serve with us, contact Wheels for the World today!
Our Cause 4 Life summer interns are having a great time at an orphanage in China conducting evaluations, assessments, and specialized training for the teachers and caregivers. Four of our interns are graduate-level students studying Special Ed and Autism, and the others are disability specialists seeking to serve in disability missions...
Sarah Kritikos was lonely. With multiple disabilities and medical issues, she wondered if she’d ever have a true friend. Her prayer was answered when she met Lydia at Family Retreat and the Lord formed a bond between them that filled a vacancy in both of their hearts.
When people with disabilities ‘wheel’ into leadership roles, it makes a Wheels for the World outreach even more powerful. Mike King, community resource coordinator for our Joni and Friends/Eastern Pennsylvania team, recently traveled to China to help deliver wheelchairs, Bibles, and the Joni book in Chinese. When those with disabilities in China were told that Mike was the team leader, they were shocked… then, came the tears. In China, it’s not often a person with a disability gets to lead others. Join us in praising God for the many people who came to Christ during the outreach – and drop Mike King a note of thanks through our blog!
This week was Anatoli Erickson’s 8th birthday and what did she want for presents? Rather than wrapped gifts, she asked friends and family to help her collect funds for one of our Regency pediatric wheelchairs.
Our Joni and Friends/Arizona team is leading a Wheels for the World team into Poland this week (June 13-28). Besides distributing several hundred Bibles and wheelchairs to disabled children and adults, we'll be conducting disability ministry training with pastors and introducing our new curriculum, "Beyond Suffering: Christian Perspectives on Disability Ministry.” We’re laying the foundation to train even more pastors next year – we want every evangelical church in Poland to welcome and embrace special needs families in the name of Jesus. The team will be checking in on our blog, so post them a note of encouragement and assure them of your prayers!
The team just arrived home from Ghana where we held one of our International Family Retreats with all the fun, flair, music and color that you’d expect in Africa. Dawn (an OT) and Jen (a PT) served at the retreat as part of our Team MED, using their combined skills to minister to each family. One little disabled boy was carried to the retreat by his parents – when we saw he had no wheelchair, Dawn and Jen went to the Disability Center and found the perfect chair. Praise God for the way He moved among the families, and thank Him for generous servants like Dawn and Jen. We have lots more International Family Retreats slated for the summer, so pray about getting involved!
The Joni and Friends/Eastern Pennsylvania team worked with Manor Church to ‘decorate the halls’ for a special Young Adult Formal this past Friday night – young adults with various disabilities dressed up and partnered with JAF friends for a ‘going to the prom’ evening complete with music, dancing, great food and even better fellowship! Would you like to get your church involved in disability outreach? Get started by contacting...
We’re working hard this summer to take disability ministry not only “into the streets,” but into seminaries and Bible colleges around the world. Yes, that means holding disability ministry classes in Christian institutions across the States and around the world, including the Gaba Bible Institute (GBI) in Uganda. At GBI, however, we took it a step further and actually helped make the facility itself accessible – through Joni and Friends’ partnership with GBI, we worked alongside to widen doorways and construct ramps! The president of Gaba Bible Institute wrote us this week, “Currently we have completed three ramps to our classrooms, offices and library...