During my recent visit to Joni and Friends Jackson in Mississippi, the Mustard Seed Bell Choir performed at a luncheon at which I was speaking. The choir is comprised of 15 developmentally disabled adults and, oh, how the Holy Spirit used their music to bless everyone present! When we speak of people being “made in the image of God,” we often assume it means only the intellect or the ability to reason. But to be an image-bearer of God is to also bear godly attributes like joy, love, peace, patience and much more – it’s clear that adults with intellectual disabilities truly possess these characteristics! Want to learn more about including adults with developmental disabilities in your church? Then check out this great resource!
Now that the Oscars are behind us, I'm excited to tell you about a wonderful new film that just opened in theaters nationwide – it’s called “Son of God.” It does not pretend to be an exact account of the Gospels, but gives a broad brushstroke of the life of Jesus and the people He touched. It’s the kind of film that, I believe, will make thirsty people turn to Jesus Christ, the Living Water. I hope you have a chance to see it and tell your friends.
Dianne Sanker is an occupational therapist and seating specialist, and years ago when she first found out about Wheels for the World, she thought it would be a great way to combine her skills and her Christian faith. And now, she has served on 14 Wheels trips from Thailand to Africa and beyond! Dianne is fully committed to raising up a new generation of Wheels team members, and so she's taken her daughter (a nurse) on three trips. She recently emailed, "What keeps us going on WFTW trips? . . . Joni and Friends allows us to give people with disabilities and their families a little earthly tangible love, while most importantly, introducing to them the ULTIMATE Giver of unconditional love that leads to eternal life, our precious lord Jesus Christ!" Dianne will be heading to Cuba later this year. Pray about following her lead – check out our Wheels for the World 2014 schedule today!
During our transfer through the Atlanta airport, my wheelchair batteries became damaged in the baggage compartment – it meant Ken had to borrow a screwdriver from a gate agent (right now, he's filling out damage forms :-). Please pray that my wheelchair makes it safely on the next plane for our flight home to Los Angeles! God bless you for interceding for these small but important details!
Oh, what an amazing trip it has been – and your prayers have sustained us, bolstered our spirits and strengthened our hearts every step of the way! Yes, it was a hugely busy trip that started with the National Religious Broadcasters’ Convention last week, and finished off in Jackson, Mississippi for an array of events sponsored by our Joni and Friends team in that region (I'm so excited that JAF Jackson will be having a Family Retreat in Alabama this summer; the first)! But as we fly back to LA today, I just want you to know how GRATEFUL to God I am for your help through your prayers. You are truly part of the team, and I can’t wait for heaven when you will see the wonderful “harvest of righteousness” your prayers helped reap over the last eleven days. And with that… we’re heading to the airport!
If you visit my blog often, you know how much I love our interns who serve with us at Joni and Friends. Our 2014 Cause 4 Life Missions and Internship Program is filling up fast, but we still have a few spots open -- especially with our East Coast Ministry and Missions Academy, which includes biblical training, hands-on service to kids with disabilities. weekend camps, church ministry and community outreach, and a 10-day mission to Haiti. Scholarships (50-75%) are available and are given on a first come, first served basis! So apply now online!
In light of the Academy's decision to rescind the Oscar-nominated "Alone yet Not Alone," many people have asked if I plan to watch the Academy Awards this evening. But tonight I'll be speaking in Jackson, Mississippi and giving the Gospel (I think that's a wiser use of my time, don't you)?! Besides, I'm looking forward to an awards celebration of a different sort – I can't wait to cross heaven's finish line and hear my Savior say, "Well done, good and faithful servant;" that will be my Oscar-moment! Thanks for praying as we finish up our 11 day trip and head home tomorrow!
In between interviews, I've had a chance to catch up with my quad friend, Lynn Wheeler, and her husband, Doug :-). A great breath of fresh air in between the busyness of the day :-). Be praying for my friend, Lynn, as living with quadriplegia at any age is NOT easy!
At the recent Movieguide Gala in Hollywood, I performed the song “Alone yet Not Alone” at the close of the awards banquet – the Gala will be broadcast on the Reelz TV Channel on Saturday, March 1 at 11 AM PT and 2 PM ET. A repeat broadcast will be aired Sunday, March 2 at the same times. Movieguide is doing a great job of promoting faith and family values in today's TV and movie culture, so be sure to tell your Facebook friends and tune in!
The Joni and Friends Jackson team is doing a fantastic job of church and respite training, Luke 14 dinners, and planning for the first Joni and Friends Family Retreat in this section of the country -- and I'm so proud that so many people with disabilities and special needs moms and dads are a part of the leadership! Today is a pastor's luncheon and the Mississippi Baptist...