Family Retreats are around the corner and we need your help! 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 volunteer Short-Term Missionaries (STMs) to serve them. In fact, several of our retreats are in great need of STMs! If you feel a prompting to come and volunteer, consider serving at one these retreats with the greatest need of your help – and thank you for serving Jesus by ministering to these families!
Camp ASCCA: June 16 - June 20 · Jackson's Gap, AL
Camp Allen 1: June 18 - June 22 · Navasota, TX
Shawnee: June 23 - June 27 · Shawnee, OH
Spruce Lake 2: June 23 - June 27 · Spruce Lake, PA
Camp Allen 2: June 26 - June 30 · Navasota, TX
Camp Allen 3: July 3 - July 7 · Navasota, TX
Mission Springs 2: July 14 - July 18 · Scotts Valley, CA
Spruce Lake 3: July 28 - August 1 · Spruce Lake, PA
Bonclarken 1: August 4 - August 8 · Flat Rock, NC
Bonclarken 2: August 11 - August 15 · Flat Rock, NC
This year, Joni & Ken: An Untold Love Story has been nominated for two prestigious book awards! Having received a nomination in March for the ECPA Christian Book Awards, this week the announcement was made that Joni & Ken: An Untold Love Story has also received a nomination for the Christian Retailing Best of 2014 Book Awards (formerly CBA) in the auto/biography category. Results of this nomination will be announced the week of June 23rd. Stay tuned!
Are you ready for Family Retreat season? Join us as a Short Term Missionary at one of our 26 Family Retreats nationwide or 12 International Family Retreats. All you need is a willing heart, open hands, and the joy of the Lord to give away! No experience is necessary and training is provided. Serve as an individual, or bring your church or youth group and serve as a team!
David and Tracy Brill have three active boys: Derek, Tyler, and Evan. That’s a handful – and with Evan’s disabilities, it’s easy to become exhausted. But at Family Retreat, this couple is reconnected with God and refreshed in their responsibilities as parents. For dads like David, Family Retreat provides a lifeline of brothers in Christ. “At home I talk about sports with my friends,” David explains. “But at Family Retreat, men understand… Family Retreat gives me a week to reconnect with the Lord and my brothers in Christ. These guys are my heroes. They come back year after year. They don’t jump ship. We’re stickin’ with it because God gives us strength.” David’s wife, Tracy, agrees. “Family Retreat brings us all closer to God and that means we’re closer to each other,” she explains. “We’re spiritually and emotionally reconnected. When you have a disability in the family, you can’t put a price on that kind of encouragement!” Because you pray and stand on their behalf, God is blessing families like the Brills with His power and peace. Thank you for loving dads and moms and...
Are you the parent of a child with a disability? The realization of your child’s disability can hit hard. But be encouraged – you are not alone! Joni and Friends President Doug Mazza and Vice President Steve Bundy, both fathers of a child with severe disabilities, share insight, encouragement and hope in their new book, Another Kind of Courage. Fathers, you’ll learn God’s design for fathers of families affected by disability. Mothers and wives, you’ll get a valuable look inside the heart and mind of your husband, gaining insight about his journey as the father of a child with a disability. Though this road is not one you've chosen, you don't have to travel it alone. Stand strong for your family and walk confidently, with Another Kind of Courage.
Order your copy today!
What is it like to have autism? To wish to communicate with someone, but not be able to speak … To make odd noises and flap your hands at times you don’t want… To love your parents, but not be able to hug them… For Carly, autism is like being in a body you can’t control. In this powerful short film, Carly gives you an inside...
Gina is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, with a degree in violin performance. But serving as a Short Term Missionary (STM) at Family Retreat has taught her lessons in giftedness that can’t be taught anywhere else. “I’m in a world where performance and ability count—where meeting a certain standard of excellence is critical,” Gina explained. “Family Retreat is a lesson in celebrating each individual for who they are and not holding people to a standard of ability or qualifications in the world’s eyes. As a part of the body of Christ, it’s important for me to see the gifts that we all can bring to the church and the world. It’s refreshing and freeing.” This year, Gina brought her younger sister, Amy, to serve as an STM, too! “Gina told me how authentic people at Family Retreat are,” says Amy. “It’s so much fun to see how much joy people have in Jesus, in spite of their hardships. This makes Jesus so real, so exciting!”
Kahla was only 20 when six months into her pregnancy she was in a tragic accident. Miraculously, her baby survived, but little Lillian was born with cerebral palsy. Raising a special needs child as a single mother can be very challenging, but Kahla and Lillian have found help and hope at Family Retreat. The fellowship, fun, and resources at camp have encouraged this small family to press on in Christ. It’s why if you have a child with a disability, or know someone who does, we’d like to invite you to watch this short video of Kahla and Lillian at Family Retreat. And if you’d like to learn more about our Family Retreats, click here and then, pass on the info!
Our faithful volunteer, Gail, hadn’t heard of Joni and Friends when she and her sister passed by the Joni and Friends Bay Area office in 2011. But because Gail’s sister knew Joni’s story, she suggested they stop in. After learning more about the ministry, Gail began crocheting scarves and blankets to share with special needs families at Family Retreat. Through her involvement with Joni and Friends, Gail experienced God’s peace for the first time, even accepting Jesus as her Savior! Since then, Gail has become a regular fixture in the Bay Area Ministry office and Joni and Friends events, crocheting over four hundred items for the ministry! “Whenever I make a scarf or blanket, I feel a sense of peace inside,” she says, adding with a smile, “I don’t feel like a volunteer anymore, I feel like family!”
How did you get involved with Joni and Friends?
I have known since early childhood that I wanted to work with people with disabilities. I went to preschool at a school for children with severe disabilities as a peer mentor. I believe at the very core of my being that the Lord put me there to put His love for His children with disabilities in my heart. By the time I was in high school, I was on a perpetual quest to find opportunities to be involved in disability ministry. I had heard Joni’s story when I was very young; I picked up a cassette tape at the store, simply because it had a person in a wheelchair on the cover. Little did I know that her story and her ministry would become such a large part of my heart and my life. When I was a senior in high school, a family friend told me about Joni and Friends Family Retreats and encouraged me to apply. The...