Joni and Friends Blog

Looking Back Over 40 Years of Ministry

“Looking back over the last 50 years, many highlights include the Billy Graham Crusades. Back in the 70’s, Ruth Graham read the Joni book and told Billy that he should invite me to speak at a Crusade. So, in October 1976, I shared my testimony at Pontiac Stadium near Detroit.

Sharing my story in front of 80,000 people? I was breathless! But I had been asking the Lord to give me opportunities to tell my testimony, and I wasn’t about to blow this one! I shared Romans 8: 28 and how God had fit my broken neck into a glorious plan – a plan to make me more like Jesus. That was the first of 12 Billy Graham Crusades in which I shared my story.”

1970s


1976

The Joni book is released and becomes
a #1 international best-seller.

Translated into 38 different languages,
more than 5 million copies have been sold

1979

The Billy Graham Evangelical Association (BGEA)
releases the Joni movie – eventually more than
250,000 people will pray to receive Jesus through the film.

1979

The doors of Joni and Friends
open in the offices of World Wide Pictures
in Burbank California.

 

1980s


1982

Joni’s five-minute daily radio program,
“Joni and Friends,” goes on the air in May.

1986

Joni and Friends holds disability workshops at
Amsterdam ’86 where more than 8,000 evangelists
are exposed to the idea of disability ministry.

1989

Joni speaks to over 100,000 at the Billy Graham Crusade in
Budapest, Hungary – Billy Graham Evangelical Association (BGEA)
underwrites the transport of hundreds of
people with disabilities to the Crusade.

 

1990s


1990

Joni and Friends hosts more than 110 disability ministry leaders
from 44 countries at Joni and Friends’ International Congress
on the Church and Disability held on the campus of Calvin College.

1991

Joni and Friends holds its first Family Retreat in Pennsylvania.

Today, over 63,000 families have been served at Family Retreat.

1994

Joni and Friends hosts the first Wheels for the World outreach to Ghana.

Today, over 171,748 wheelchairs have been collected,
restored, and shipped around the world.

 

2000s


2000

Joni and Ken travel to China to begin opening doors for
Wheels for the World. She then travels to Australia to serve as
chaplain for the 2000 Paralympic Games.

2001

As Joni campaigns against euthanasia and embryonic
stem cell research, groundwork is laid for the
Christian Institute on Disability.

2006

Joni is appointed to the Disability Advisory Committee
at the U.S. State Department. Joni and Friends holds its
first International Family Retreat in Ukraine.

2007

In January, the Joni and Friends International Disability Center
opens its doors, ushering in a new era of international outreach
to families impacted by disability and daily prayers for you!

 

2010s


2010

In a Wheels for the World Restoration shop in a U.S. prison,
the inmates restore donated used wheelchairs to like-new condition.

Thousands of prisoners’ lives have been
impacted by Joni and Friends through
the wheelchair restoration process.

2014

Wheels for the World delivers its 100,000th wheelchair.

Through your gifts, we are on target to deliver
over 200,000 wheelchairs by 2020.

2016

The Beyond Suffering Bible is released.

2019

Celebrating 40 years of your faithfulness and ministry!
Thank you for joining us to reach the next generation
with the love of Jesus for many years to come!

 


Get involved today to transform more lives
for generations to come!

 

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purpose of his heart through all generations.

Psalm 33:11

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