Joni and Friends Blog

New Shop, New Wheels, New Life

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • Feb. 28, 2014
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  • Wheels For The World

Inmates restoring wheelchairs for Wheels for the WorldLast month was exciting as we opened a new Wheels for the World Restoration Center at the New Mexico Department of Corrections. With 14 Wheelchair Restoration Centers located within correctional facilities across the country, this was the first in New Mexico. In addition to restoring wheelchairs, this center brings hope and change by providing a give-back program for high-risk inmates. Through Wheels for the World, inmates who have been convicted of gang-related crimes have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people affected by disability around the world. The inmates in New Mexico began to shed their hardened exteriors during training when they were shown the meaning of their work. After viewing a powerful video about Didina, a Romanian woman who had been lying in bed for 30 years until she received a wheelchair, the inmates saw the...

Thank You for Giving the Gift of Hope

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • Feb. 26, 2014
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  • Wheels For The World

Mirna in her new wheelchairMirna is filled with smiles and the joy of the Lord. She has never had a wheelchair or been to school – but her mild cerebral palsy hasn’t taken away her hopes and dreams. “I want to be a nurse or social worker!” she says eagerly. Knowing that she is capable, intelligent and full of potential, her parents have prayed and waited for God to show them the next step. “Psalm 146 says, ‘Blessed is he whose help is in God, whose hope is in the Lord!’” says Mirna. “Today God has rewarded our hope!” Blessed indeed – because the wheelchair her Heavenly Father sent through you was a perfect size and fit for Mirna. It was waiting just for her, with few adjustments needed! Mirna beamed and giggled like a daughter who has been given a jewel by her loving Father – because she has. But the jewel you gave that day was better than any diamond...

Wheels for the World: It’s About Restoration

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • Feb. 24, 2014
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  • Wheels For The World

Inmates working at a Wheels for the World Restoration CenterDid you know that the wheelchairs you send have already changed lives – even before they’re shipped overseas to a Wheels for the World distribution? Chairs are collected by devoted Chair Corps volunteers and transported to Joni and Friends Restoration Centers, located within correctional facilities around the country. Here, inmates are trained to become mechanics, restoring the wheelchairs to like-new condition – and in the process, their own lives are restored. At every location, men are eager to work at the Restoration Center. They know something life-changing, something eternal, is happening inside. “I never would have known Christ’s love if I hadn’t been here,” said one mechanic. “I met Jesus here...and man, I’m different now.” “This is the first time I have ever reached out to help somebody,” said another mechanic. “It gives my life new meaning to know...

The Wickersham's First Family Retreat!

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • Feb. 23, 2014
  • 1 Comment
  • Radio, Video Archives

When little Luke Wickersham was born, his parents had no warning that this little boy would have a disability. Luke was born with tuberous sclerosis—a condition caused by multiple brain tumors that resulted in developmental, speech, and behavioral delay, as well as numerous seizures each day. As you can imagine, this strained Brian and Jeresha’s marriage—and their relationship with God. It’s why their church recommended Luke and his family attend a Joni and Friends Family Retreat. But with Brian’s work schedule and Luke’s many surgeries and doctor visits, “taking a break” was not an option. Finally, just last year, Luke and his family were able to attend their first, Family Retreat—and boy, did they have a blast! Luke absolutely loved his volunteer STM (short term missionary), and his parents were even able to go on a date night! You have to hear—and see—it for yourself, so click here to watch a short video we did on the Wickersham family and their experience at Family Retreat. And don’t forget to share it with any special needs families you know!

God’s Encouragement for Caregivers

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • Feb. 22, 2014
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  • What's New in Our Store

God’s Encouragement for CaregiversAs a caregiver, your daily life presents you with unique and important needs. This three-episode DVD series of the John Ankerberg Show features special guests Joni & Ken Tada and Dr. Michael & Cindy Easley – two couples who are well acquainted with disability. Through their stories, you’ll find abundant encouragement for those who suffer and for their caregivers. Order a copy for yourself, or a caregiver in your life.

Order God’s Encouragement for Caregivers - DVD

Join The CID on Facebook and Twitter!

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • Feb. 20, 2014
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  • In the Media, Christian Institute on Disability

Girl serving through the CIDWe see headlines about birth defects, tragic accidents or surgeries gone wrong with the declarations that these lives should be ended because, “No one would want to live like this!” Human life can now be altered, aborted, cloned and euthanized, sometimes even against the will of family and loved ones. As Christians, we are called to make a difference in this brave, new and dangerous world. Through our Joni and Friends Christian Institute on Disability (CID) we strive to be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. Since 2007, the mission of the CID has been to impact the Church, Christian and public institutions, and societies with a biblical worldview and life-giving truth on issues pertaining to life, dignity, justice and equality that affect people with disabilities. You now have a new way to network with the CID through social media. Whether you're an alumni of a CID internship program, or you've completed our groundbreaking Beyond Suffering courses, join us on Facebook...

Disability and the Power of Prayer

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • Feb. 18, 2014
  • 6 Comments
  • Cause 4 Life

Cause for Life intern prayingThe power of prayer is a phrase used regularly throughout the Christian community. Many with disabilities depend on the power of prayer to strengthen them and encourage them on their journey. Some turn to prayer to relieve them of their disability. But when they come to the end of their prayer unchanged, what then? We read that God’s attentive eye sees even the little sparrow that falls from a tree (Matt. 10:29-31). Why then does it seem at times that the Lord is blind to our anguish? When prayers seem to go unanswered, some come to the conclusion that there is no God. They feel He has turned a deaf ear to their desperate petitions. But God promises to be with us each step of the way, even if our prayers for “deliverance” seem to go unheard (Psalm 62:5-8). George Mgoola is a paraplegic living in Malawi. He wasn’t born with his disability, but contracted poliomyelitis as a child...

Our Favorite Superheroes

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • Feb. 17, 2014
  • 1 Comment

Ken and Joni dressed as superheroesWho’s your favorite superhero? Superman … Catwoman … Batman? At Joni and Friends, our favorite superheroes are people affected by disability—and their parents, families, and caregivers. These heroes are in a battle against fear, discouragement, and bitterness, yet they show up victorious by faithfully seeking God for His help and strength. It’s why at our Family Retreat, held at Camp Allen, our Joni and Ken dressed up in their favorite superhero costumes and joined the rest of the campers in a night of games, fun, and dancing. Friend, you have to see it for yourself, so watch this short video of our superhero fun and then, share it with others! It will brighten up your day and remind you that, when hard times hit, you can smile if you trust in Jesus—your Savior.

West Coast Disability Ministry Training

BASS Convention 2014Are you looking for disability ministry training on the West Coast? Next month, as part of the 2014 BASS Convention, Joni and Friends Bay Area will be hosting 12 special needs workshops for ministry leaders and volunteers. Promising to be one of the largest special needs training events in California this year, you’ll hear practical tips from Stacy Hodge and Debbie Lillo of Joni and Friends, as well disability ministry leaders Dr. Cynthia Zierhut, Diane Kim, and Kris Volkir. And you won’t want to miss hearing from one of the most influential voices in the current special needs ministry movement, keynote speaker Amy Fenton Lee (author of The Inclusive Church blog and Leading a Special Needs Ministry). For more information, please contact Debbie LilloRegister today to join us March 7-8 and take your special needs program to the next level!

Your Love Runs Deep

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • Feb. 10, 2014
  • 0 Comments
  • Wheels For The World

Caesar in his wheelchairLast year, through the power of your prayer and generosity, Caesar received his first wheelchair from Joni and Friends. “His life changed immediately!” said his mother Josephina. But Caesar continues to face challenges. Because he can’t walk or run like other boys, Caesar’s father does not believe Caesar is a whole person. Lack of understanding is one of the greatest barriers facing disabled people in developing nations. That’s why Joni and Friends is educating local pastors and lay leaders to understand God’s heart for children like Caesar. One by one, minds and hearts are opened, as God’s truth erases lies and stigmas that run so deep. Today, Caesar’s smile reveals a heart full of anticipation. “Without this wheelchair, I would be crawling on the floor,” said Caesar. “I thank...

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