A family with four special-needs children would love to receive cards and letters of encouragement, and know that people are praying for them.
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and it’s “Heart for the Disabled” week!
That’s right, here at Joni and Friends we are asking you to help make this upcoming Valentine’s Day pretty extraordinary for a special-needs family by writing a note of encouragement. And today’s family, made up of Paul and Kristin and their nine children, sure could use encouragement. Nine kids is a lot for any couple to handle, but their two-year-old twins have multiple disabilities that require extra care. They also have two middle-aged school boys on the autism spectrum, and that means a lot of extra activity. A family with four serious conditions is a lot of disabilities in a family, but with everyone pitching in, this family makes it work.
Not long ago one of the two-year-old twins had to be hospitalized for many weeks because of a serious medical complication, and it’s still not looking good. Now, with so many things going on, Paul and Kristin are struggling. They were struggling emotionally, physically, and spiritually. So we were thrilled when they were able to come to Family Retreat. Oh my goodness, they were loved on so much, they couldn’t help it. We assigned them extra volunteers to help with the disabled twins, as well as the boys with their autism. Kristin said she never felt so relaxed, so confident about handing her two-year-olds over to our volunteers, they had that good of a time. Right before Family Retreat ended, during the last meal time with the other families, Paul (the dad) looked restless. He said he needed to talk with someone because he had more (as he put it) Jesus questions. One of the men’s leaders sat down and talked with Paul, answering his questions as best he could. And before that meal ended, Paul had given his life to Jesus Christ. The very next week Kristin told all her Facebook friends that their entire family had now chosen to follow the Lord.
And there’s a bonus here that’s kind of fun. Twenty volunteers who happened to serve at that particular Family Retreat (guess what?) they all came from a church that was only 15 minutes from Paul and Kristin’s home; in fact, this church’s youth pastor offered to disciple Paul, and now, all 11 members of the family are loving this church. And this means that Paul and Kristin and their nine kids now have a network of support because with four disabilities in the family, support is really needed.
What can I say! Paul and Kristin and their nine children would love a note of encouragement from you. They know nothing about our Heart for the Disabled program, but with a card or note from you, you can assure this family that you’ll be praying for them. Share uplifting scriptures or ask your kids or grandkids to crayon a picture for all nine kids. Maybe send a gift certificate to McDonald’s or share a poem. Just let this large-sized family know you’re remembering them in prayer. Then send your card, note, gift card, whatever, to Paul and Kristin (that’s K-R-I-S-T-I-N) in care of Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, CA 91376. If you missed any details, I’m posting them all on our radio page today at joniandfriends.org. Also, there you’ll see a great photo of the entire family. 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 to Paul and Kristin at Joni and Friends where we are serving people like this special-needs family in the name of Jesus. And as you write, thank you for having a genuine heart for the disabled.
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