Heart for the Disabled #5: Mary & Family

  • Jan. 12, 2018
  • #9315

Mary and Aaron have 5 special-needs children — all in need of your love and encouragement this Valentine's Day.

A Mennonite woman

Welcome to the last and best day of our “Heart for the Disabled” week.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and all this week I’ve been telling stories about families with special needs (really big needs) so that you could write notes of encouragement and send Valentine cards. And boy, are you responding — so many of you have already sent in your cards and letters. But I’ve got one more family to tell you about.

Mary (who has diabetes) and her husband, Aaron, are the parents of 5 children: the youngest, Kaleigh is 5, Michael is 9, and then there’s Josiah who is 11, and finally, Marissa who’s 20 and Jaron age 21. Add to it Mary’s diabetes and, oh my goodness, you know at times it’s overwhelming. But get this: all 5 of Mary’s children have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Just what is EDS? Well, this particular disability involves joints that frequently dislocate. So, these children, all of them, know the pain of constant dislocated joints. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome also involves osteoarthritis and scoliosis. And that only adds to the pain. Plus, when you have this syndrome, your skin is extremely fragile – it tears and bruises easily and wounds do not quickly heal.

How do Mary and Aaron deal with all this? Well, first they have a good support system. You see, Mary’s family is Mennonite, and the Mennonite community always helps each other out. But it also means there’s a lot hands-on work involved. As country people, they till the land. While dad works for a nearby chicken factory, Mary and her children toil on their farm and raise chickens. It’s work that makes for just enough income that they don’t qualify for government support — but not quite enough to cover the health expenses of their family.

Like I said, their Mennonite friends help, in fact even buying the family a van. But Mary and her husband are humble farmers, and they do not want to ask their community for more. So, they contacted our ministry for help. Mary told us that their medical insurance won’t cover Kaleigh’s need for hearing aids. She confessed that with five children having chronic health conditions, they are hard-pressed. Can you see how this family needs your encouragement? They need your prayers. And they need reminders from Scripture that God will take care of them.

It would be an incredible blessing for Aaron, Mary and their five children to be on the receiving end of Valentine cards and encouragement! So, would you please take a moment to jot a note to this family, just letting them know you’ll be praying for them? Include a favorite scripture or, as I shared earlier this week, tuck in a copy of a favorite inspiring poem or the words to a hymn that you love.  And if you want to be creative, the sky’s the limit; feeding a family of six is a lot, so perhaps a small gift certificate to Walmart or whatever. I know Ken and I will be doing that for them, but the important thing is your note. Send your Valentine love to Aaron and Mary in care of Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376. And if you missed the details, or need to get the spelling for the names of all the children, just visit my radio page at joniandfriends.org. I am so grateful to God for the love you will show this humble Mennonite family. God bless you for truly having a heart for the disabled. Again, just send your note to Aaron and Mary in care of Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376. God bless you as you do!

Go to previous Heart for the Disabled family

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