A family struggling with the demands caring for their son would be refreshed by receiving a gift basket full of encouraging cards or notes.
Hey, it's Heart for the Disabled week here at Joni and Friends.
Thanks for joining me, Joni Eareckson Tada, as we begin one of my favorite weeks of the year. This is when I ask you to take a few minutes to write a note of encouragement to disabled people who attended last summer's Family Retreats. Many of you have done this before (last year beat all records; you friends really responded) and it has meant the world to these people who receive, well, Valentine's cards, letters, notes with scriptures, words of a hymn, inspirational poems. And today, I’m thinking of
Steve, Kristi, and Jonathan who live in Vermont. They’ve been attending our Joni and Friends New England Family Retreat for a few years now. Jonathan is a teenager with autism; he’s pretty high on the spectrum because he’s nonverbal and struggles with epilepsy. Jonathan loved being at Family Retreat this past summer, but right in the middle of all the activities, he suffered a bad seizure: he fell, hit the ground hard, and bloodied his chin. Then, Jonathan suffered a few more seizures after that. It meant a complete disruption in all the retreat fun for him as he was rushed to the local emergency room for stitches on his chin. This was not what Jonathan and his parents Steve and Kristi were expecting. They came to Family Retreat to enjoy a break, a little respite, some time off from the constant demands of Jonathan’s disability. Instead, it was back to square one.
I'm sad to report that Jonathan’s seizures are increasing; they are getting more frequent and severe. Steve, his dad, described to us the difficulty of finding good medical care especially in their rural area of Vermont. Both Steve and Kristi are desperate for more help. Just managing their 15-year-old with his increasing problems, plus Jonathan’s growing leaps and bounds, and this family hasn’t had success in finding the right professionals who can treat Jonathan. And there is always the drain on financial resources as his medical needs continue to increase. All of this is just overwhelming.
Now Steve and Kristi know nothing about our Heart for the Disabled program, and with a card or a note from you, you can assure this young couple that you’ll be praying for them and their son. They just want to know they’re not alone; that God will see them through; that there is an end in sight. And friend, you can offer real hope and encouragement by sharing some uplifting scriptures or ask your children or grandkids to perhaps crayon a picture for Jonathan. Maybe send a gift card to McDonald’s or tuck a favorite inspirational poem in the envelope. I'll let you be as creative as you’d like, but please, just let this little family know that you are praying for them. Send your card, note or letter to “Steve and Kristi (spelt KRISTI), and Jonathan” and send it in care of Joni and Friends, PO Box 3333, Agoura Hills, CA 91376. If you missed any details, that’s okay, I’m posting everything you need to know on my radio page today at joniandfriends.org. You know, right before we went on the air, my friend and I prayed for this family and I am so glad that God is giving you the chance – you and me – to refresh their weary hearts. We need you to send your note in right away to ensure it arrives in their mailbox in time for Valentine's Day. Again, write your card and send it to Joni and Friends, where we love serving families like Steve and Kristi and Jonathan in the name of Jesus. I invite you to visit joniandfriends.org.
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