Joni and Friends Blog
Finding Community at Family Retreat
Here at Joni and Friends, we love hearing about how Family Retreat brings transformational love to families affected by disability. Parents of children with special needs often arrive feeling exhausted, discouraged and alone. Through the work of our amazing short-term missionaries (STMs) and the presence of the Holy Spirit, every family goes home feeling refreshed and part of an accepting community of believers.
For our international families, Joni and Friends International Family Retreat is a place that they find a safe haven where they are accepted by their peers, gain a supportive community, and often, for the first time, experience the love of the Lord.
One mother of a son who has limited verbal language said, “I thank God for opening my heart for all the blessings God had for me.” This mother said that because the church family embraced and celebrated her son despite his disability her son spoke more words at Family Retreat than he had ever before!
Throughout the week, mothers who asked Jesus into their hearts at previous Family Retreats ministered and encouraged new mothers who were struggling to believe that their children were cared for. During the last day of the retreat, one mother shared, “I experienced a love here that I have never experienced before.”
We are thankful to God that he brought these families to our International Family Retreat where they were able to witness the love of Jesus and join a community of believers. Would you prayerfully consider how you can be part of bringing love and acceptance to families affected by disability through Family Retreats? Check out our International Family Retreats and U.S. Family Retreats web pages to learn more about volunteer opportunities.