Joni's Posts June 2013

Farewell Camp Allen

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • June 30, 2013
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Camp Pastor speaking at Family Retreat
I've been sharing so many fun, crazy highlights of our time here at the Camp Allen Family Retreat, but woven in and through every event has been the solid teaching of the Word of God. Phil Count has served as our camp pastor this week, giving the families much-needed nourishment from the Bible. One of the insights? Ephesians 1:18 says, "I pray that... you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe...

Shaving Cream Surprise 

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • June 29, 2013
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shaving cream battleThere we were last night, Ken and me enjoying a leisurely, candle-lit dinner with the moms and dads when, all of a sudden, we heard screams from outside. We ran to the windows and -- lo and behold -- it was a super-sized shaving cream battle happening on the lawn. We knew that the volunteers were 'taking care' of the special-needs kids and their siblings (while their folks enjoyed an evening to themselves), but we had no idea they'd be pulling out shaving cream cans (scores of them)! Ken and I just had to slip outside and snap a photo for you. THANK YOU for praying. Only heaven will reveal how your prayers have drawn siblings closer to their disabled sibling, mended marriages, lifted depression, and spread the joy of Jesus throughout this entire Family Retreat campus!

Superhero Night!

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • June 28, 2013
  • 17 Comments
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Joni and Ken dressed as superheroesJoni and Friends executives dressed as superheros
Yes, that's me as Wonder Woman (Cat Woman stole my black wig) and Ken as the all-time favorite, Spider Man! That other photo is all four Superheroes ready to make our grand entrance at the disco (our Joni and Friends President, Doug Mazza on the far left striking the fearsome Batman pose, and Marc Stein, Vice President of Field Services as Superman). I cannot begin to describe the sheer FUN of dancing with kids with Down syndrome, in wheelchairs and on crutches, each dressed as their favorite hero...

Lots of New Families!

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • June 27, 2013
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Woodward Family with Joni and Ken
Meet the Woodward family, first-timers to Camp Allen Family Retreat and VERY familiar with the daily challenges of autism. Ken and I spent Wednesday greeting over 20 new families as well as more than 40 alumni-families -- and each mom and dad, each kid with a disability and his siblings, EVERYONE is looking forward to an awesome week! Last night was the big ice cream social with lots on the agenda for Thursday (including spa-time for moms, swimming, arts and crafts, Bible times, fishing, and much more). The...

Press On into Fun and Fellowship

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • June 27, 2013
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Ken under the "Press On" BannerKen climbing the rock wall as Joni watches
Morning worship was awesome, and our camp speaker gave a stirring message. Then, after Ken and I finished our workshop speaking to the moms and dads, we headed outside for some fun (we spoke on Phil. 3:14 and how a disability in the family forces a couple to press into Jesus every minute of every day). We checked out the slip-n-slide, fishing at the lake, hay rides, (also the fresh, hot cookies served on the patio), the pool, the spa for the women, and landed up at the climbing wall. It is so HEARTWARMING...

First Morning At Family Retreat

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • June 26, 2013
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Ken and Joni at Family RetreatWe've arrived at camp, enjoyed a good night’s rest, and now we are off to greet the volunteers-in-training. The special-needs families arrive this afternoon and we are all prayed up! Oh, and thank you so much for praying that my chair would arrive in one piece – the airlines took good care of it and it's in fine working order :-). What a glorious day this is going to be celebrating the goodness of God! We're off!

Family Retreat: Every Life Counts

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • June 26, 2013
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It’s the stories that really get to me when Ken and I are at Family Retreat – the pains, the hopes, the shattered dreams, all of it weaving a beautiful story of the preciousness of life and the need to depend on God every day. Moment by moment. I thought about this when I happened to be online this afternoon and pulled up this video. It, too, is a powerful story – have a tissue handy, friend!  

Flying with Quadriplegia

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • June 25, 2013
  • 16 Comments
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Airplane aisle chairSee this tiny little chair with the hard, plastic seat? This morning, it's what the airlines are using to wheel me down the aisle to my seat on the airplane. My 'sitting' bones are pretty fragile, so Ken always lifts me gingerly onto that hard seat. Inconvenient? A little. But, hey, I'm grateful for whatever it takes to get me to one of our Family Retreats! When you're a quadriplegic, there are a ton of little obstacles to hurdle to get you from one place to another, but thankfully, "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged" (Deuteronomy 31:8). We arrive late tonight into camp, so pray we rest well and awake on Wednesday refreshed to serve all the special-needs families! And, oh yes – pray that my wheelchair arrives in one piece :-)!

A Special Family Retreat Report...

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • June 24, 2013
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Family Retreat Group in Romania
As Ken and I head out to one of our Family Retreats in Texas, the International Family Retreat is just winding up in Romania. The theme for all our retreats this summer is "Press On" – in Romania, the special needs families got visas each day to help them travel to the next adventure; the final day they pressed onto the Land of Joy, leaving behind the Land of Loneliness and Despair. These Romanian disabled people and their families came to the retreat as unbelievers: when the Gospel was shared, one man...

Pray As We Travel

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • June 23, 2013
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Joni wheeling under an orange parachute during a game at family retreatBright and early on Tuesday morning June 25, Ken and I will head to LAX to fly to another Joni and Friends Family Retreat – this one is at Camp Allen near Navasota, Texas (this summer we'll hold 25 Family Retreats across the US and 15 in developing nations). All the camps are fun and Spirit-blessed, but this one especially. Thursday it's the Disco Dance and everyone has to come dressed as a Superhero (I'm going as Wonder Woman; I've even got a long black wig :-). Is it silly and crazy? You bet. But as Proverbs says, "a merry heart makes for good medicine." For when families (despite the pain of a disability) let down their guard and realize that they can have fun, the Holy Spirit can do His most profound work. Ken and I enthusiastically support the outreach of Family Retreats – so join us in prayer and in giving; it's a great way to promote the gospel of Christ where His love is needed most.

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