This is Joni Eareckson Tada. (Her Dad named her Joni because he was looking forward to having a boy who could be his pal.)
Joni is 5’ 7” tall, has blonde hair and blue eyes and a wonderful smile that makes you feel warm all over. She has three sisters, Linda, Jay and Kathy.
What are her favorite things? She loves reading the Bible (her favorite verse is Acts 20:24… look it up and you’ll see why)! And she’s always on the look-out for the latest books by Dr. John Piper or Francis Chan (you can sometimes find her sitting in the Barnes & Noble café with a good book and a latte).
She also likes Baskin-Robbins chocolate chip ice cream cakes, the color blue, watching The Sound of Music, any kind of horse, full moons, the Sierra Mountains in the summer, cozy flannel sheets and the smell of fresh-cut grass.
She loves to wear fuzzy Angora sweaters, listen to the sound of wind in the trees, visit Knott’s Berry Farm for their great fried chicken, travel with her husband Ken, and eat spinach (yuk!) and New England clam chowder (yum!). Joni absolutely loves to sing hymns and her favorite (at least this month) is “Be Thou My Vision.” When it comes to praise songs, she enjoys anything the Gettys write like, “In Christ Alone.” And what does Joni not like?! She hates spiders and a runny nose (especially when it’s hers) and thinks cliffs are scary.
Joni is an author, a painter, a speaker, a singer, and the chief executive at Joni and Friends (that means she’s the boss at the office). She and Ken love helping other disabled people around the world. They really like going on Wheels for the World trips to deliver wheelchairs and Bibles, as well as attend as many Family Retreats as they can squeeze in during summer. Joni is a wife, a sister, an aunt, and a good friend to lots of special people!
Most things about Joni’s life are pretty regular… She eats, sleeps, works, plays, laughs, cries, goes to the office, the grocery store, the cleaners, Burger King, and to church. Some things about Joni are a bit unusual…
How she talks on her telephone... or the way she eats.
Her favorite chair and her van.
And the way she signs her name.
Can you guess who this strong, handsome, dark-haired man is in the picture below? He is Joni’s husband, Ken. You can tell by the picture that they like each other a lot!
Best of all, Joni loves helping other people with disabilities discover the love of Jesus. Joni believes that her purpose in life is to make God's love real to other people in wheelchairs (although there are lots of other kinds of disabilities)! She started Joni and Friends many years ago in 1979 to train churches on how to reach out to disabled people like her. And now, many years later, the ministry of Joni and Friends reaches across the country and all around the world. And you are a part of helping Joni give the love of Jesus to people with disabilities far and wide – thanks for that!
Joni has received lots of awards (she has worked with two presidents of the United States), and a lot of recognition from Christian colleges and seminaries (they like to have her come and speak to students). Joni has authored over 70 books and lots of her books have been translated into other languages – like Spanish, Russian, and even Arabic!
Thanks for being interested in Joni’s life and work. For more details, you can always visit joniandfriendsnews.com/docs/bio_joni.pdf where you’ll learn lots more. (And if you’re doing a book report on Joni, let us know how you do)!