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!
Do you have a special Christmas memory? Watch as Joni shares a joyful (and humorous) memory from Christmas 1968, 18 months following her paralyzing accident. And after you watch, please share one of your favorite Christmas memories!
Christmas… the season for pie baking, gift shopping, tree decorating, and ice-skating. But what if your arthritic hands can no longer detangle Christmas lights? What if your paralyzed legs restrain you from skating on ice? Or your aging eyes can no longer read your classic family recipe? If this Christmas, you find yourself wishing you could do more or have more, you’re not alone. When Joni was first injured, she wrestled with many of these real, day-to-day struggles of being disabled over the holidays. But friend, you don’t have to be in a wheelchair to feel like you’re missing out during the Christmas season. With Christmas sales galore, holiday parties everywhere, and family photos that look like they’re straight out of Parents Magazine … it’s easy to feel left out. It’s why Joni would like to share with you how, rather than focusing on what you don’t have, you can focus on all that God has given you this Christmas: His precious Son, Jesus. So, take a moment to watch this short, Christmas video greeting from Joni and then, share it...
Can you imagine being trapped in your bedroom for 30 years? After becoming paralyzed at 22, Didina was abandoned by her husband and children. Without a wheelchair and left to her elderly mother’s care, Didina spent 3 long decades in bed. But hope came when our Wheels for the World team visited Didina's home in Romania. Watch as she receives a life-transforming gift!
In developing countries, people with disabilities are often treated as outcasts; this is especially true for children with special needs. Kids are often excluded from schools, mocked and bullied by other children, and neglected by their own families. But Luke 14 says, “When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed." And yes, that includes children with disabilities. So how do we obey to the Word of God in Luke 14? Well, Jenny Jay, a Ministry and Missions intern, does it by serving with our Cause 4 Life ministry outreach in Haiti. There, Jenny worked with other interns on teaching typical children how to love and befriend kids with disabilities. Together, they played games, sang songs, and learned about Jesus’ love for all children. Curious to learn more about how Cause 4 Life is carrying out the Luke 14 mandate? Just watch this short video with a message from Jenny.
Worldwide, there are hundreds of thousands of children without a permanent home—children who live in orphanages, foster homes, or who have been abandoned and left on the streets. You may have thought about reaching out to these children through adoption, but not known where to start. What is it like to adopt? What are the challenges and the blessings that come with adopting a child in need of a family? If you’ve considered adoption before or if you know someone who is in the process of adoption, we want to encourage you to watch this short video about a very, special family.
Psalm 68 says, God is “Father to the fatherless … God places the lonely in families” and this video gives testimony to God’s Word. So if you’re curious to learn more, this week Joni will be sharing through the radio three amazing stories of families who have been blessed through adoption. Tune-in or listen on our radio page and then, share with your friends the power of adoption!
You are putting the Gospel into action! Gloria recently brought her daughter Gabriella to our Wheels for the World outreach in El Salvador. “I have prayed so much for so long,” Gloria told us. “You are His people and you are showing us through this wheelchair that God’s love has no limits!” Today you can meet Gloria and Gabriella face-to-face – through this video, step right into the wheelchair distribution site, as Gloria expresses her thanks for your gift.
Did you know that one in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome? Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition, but there are still many misconceptions about Down syndrome. Well, this being National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, we at Joni and Friends want to shed some light on Down syndrome, provide resources to families, and encourage you to support, include, and love people with Down syndrome. Join us in raising awareness by watching (and sharing) this short video our Kid’s Corner produced on how kids with Down syndrome make great friends. And don’t forget to listen to Joni’s radio programs this week to learn more about Down syndrome.
EDUCATE.TRAIN.ACTIVATE. Through Cause 4 Life Global Missions and Internships, we’re equipping interns for ministry, missions, and advocacy to the world affected by disability. Watch as our interns share their passion for disability ministry and be inspired to get involved! Learn more about our 2014 internships and apply today to receive the education, training and hands on experience that will give you the skills to make a difference in the lives of people affected by disability in your church and community!