From Joni’s Heart: Ministry Update

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • July 6, 2018

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1 

Twenty years ago, God brought Doug Mazza to serve as President and Chief Operating Officer of Joni and Friends – From the very beginning, Doug not only listened to the vision God gave me for the ministry but executed it in a prayerful and powerful way. God has dramatically expanded our outreach under Doug’s leadership, and I can see why: coming from a corporate background, he was able to blend his business skills with his passion for the Gospel, and love for people with disabilities (Ryan, his significantly disabled son, is his inspiration.) 

When Doug and I discussed his plans to retire in 2019, I prayed, "Lord Jesus, would you bring to us someone like our dear friend? A person who can build on Doug’s legacy of corporate know-how, who loves your Gospel, and who ‘gets’ disability?" When all eyes turned to John Nugent, our chairman of the board, I knew right away this was God’s man for the job. 

Ken and I met John in the early 1990s when his wife, Marilyn read the Joni book while serving as a devoted caregiver to her disabled mother. John was the Senior Vice President of Oracle a global software company, and heavily involved in his church. They began attending Joni and Friends’ events, as well as volunteering and supporting the ministry. So, I was thrilled when John agreed to serve on our board, and just a handful of years later, as our chairman. I love his passion for Christ, and for the ministry! 

As I look to the future, I have every confidence God will use John Nugent to help us reach even more people with disabilities and their families for Christ. I thank Doug for laying the foundation… and I thank God for bringing John to continue to build on it! 


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Wow. Doug is planning to retire? Those are some big shoes to fill as God has used him mightily in building the current infrastructure of the ministry and keeping it running so efficiently to enable JAF to reach many around the globe for Christ. However, my heart rejoices to read that God has prepared, equipped, and called John to the task, someone who has walked alongside the JAF leadership for years and adopted the vision and heart behind the ministry. What an answer to prayer by a faithful and loving God ... to Him be the glory!!
  • July 23, 2018
  • 1:40 p.m.
  • Elizabeth Kirkland
Joni-- congratulations on finding just the right man for the job! I wanted to say also that you always looks so radiant and full of energy and life and beauty! I know you deal continually with pain and other hardships so I am especially impressed by how your faith and joy overcome!!
  • July 10, 2018
  • 4:25 p.m.
  • Christine Miller
Sounds like God and Joni and Friends have everything under control, and the future all worked out! Praise His holy name!
  • July 10, 2018
  • 7:20 a.m.
  • Katherine Carmer
Thank you, Doug. Welcome, John. Thank you, Lord, for all the friends and ministries of Joni & Friends.
  • July 9, 2018
  • 1:20 p.m.
Joni and Ken, my heart explodes with thanksgiving every day when I read the devotions from Joni and friends. Such a wonderful ministry to so many people. “Thank you” is not adequate for the blessings I enjoy. Your ‘friends’ and the loving care that they administer every day is beyond belief. I thank the Lord for all of you and for Doug and John.
  • July 9, 2018
  • 12:40 p.m.
  • Phyllis Johnson
I am so encouraged to hear how God has provided for the ministry in the past and his continuing to do so in the future.
  • July 9, 2018
  • 12:34 p.m.
  • Cathy