Cynthia at Family Retreat

  • Jan. 2, 2018
  • #9307

In this interview, Cynthia and Joni talk about how families with special needs find encouragement, comfort, and inspiration at Family Retreats.

Cynthia and Sizwe at Family Retreat

Joni:  Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and welcome to Joni and Friends.

I have a great friend in my studio today; a friend and co-worker, Cynthia Berry. Welcome Cynthia!

Cynthia:  Thank you Joni.

Joni:  Cynthia, I am so excited that Family Retreat registrations are about to open up, and this means that many more families affected by disability will have a chance to attend any one of our 23 Family Retreats this summer.

Cynthia:  Across the country.

Joni:  That’s right, across the country and even in developing nations. I am talking specifically today to you, friend, who might know of a special-needs family in your church or your neighborhood, or maybe you are a mom of a special needs kid. Just like Cynthia. Right Cynthia?

Cynthia:  Yes.

Joni:  Tell us a little bit about Sizwe …

Cynthia:  Sizwe has pervasive development disorder which means he has speech delay, cognitive delay, and environmental delay. And it has been a challenge, but where he is now I am thanking God for how he is working in Sizwe, life.

Joni:  Well, I know that it is because you have the Lord Jesus in your life and family, in Sizwe. I know this kid and he loves Jesus. And that is why I am so excited for your passion for Family Retreats. You were there last summer; could you tell us the story?

Cynthia:  Yes, I got the opportunity to spend time with the women and a woman cried out during our time together and she said, “I don’t have time to pray; I don’t even know when I could pray.”  And I paused, and I said to her, “Pray when you are at the kitchen sink; pray when you are serving your child. You have to pray on your feet because there is no special time or no special place to pray [to] God.” [I] just said, “Pray while walking.”

Joni:  Just as you were talking, it reminded me of Nehemiah when he told God’s people to ‘just stand there with a trowel in one hand and a shield in the other’. You have to do the Lord’s work, and of course the Lord’s work is prayer, isn’t it?  That’s the work of the kingdom. You have to do it when you are busy. Ephesians says, “To pray on all occasions and in the Spirit” and those occasions are just when you said. The value of Family Retreat, describe it for a special-needs family.

Cynthia:  I remember a woman who came for the very first time. She had three children who were autistic, and her entry was just despair and hopelessness, but by the time Family Retreat ended she was inspired. She and her husband’s relationship was renewed. The children were even engaging in ways she had never seen before. Family Retreat is transformative.

Joni:  It really is, and people come to Christ, marriages get mended, depression gets lifted, siblings learn how to respect their disabled brother or sister. So, you are the expert on Family Retreats; you are our Regional Director of Area Ministries. You oversee what happens on Family Retreats.  Cynthia, put the call out there because registration is coming soon isn’t it?

Cynthia:  I’m telling you, you want to register. You don’t want to miss this; you don’t want to delay and if there is anyone out there who doesn’t quite have the full finances, please let us know. Let us know because we are able to scholarship some, but we want you to experience God in the midst of fun and laughter and just rejuvenation.   

Joni:  Disability doesn’t have to be a sad thing; it can be a joyful thing at Family Retreat. So, Cynthia’s call was to you special-needs mother or father with your child or your family. Or you may know of a special-needs family in your church or neighborhood. Registration opens at our website [on Jan. 2nd and Jan. 9th at 6am], so go often to our website at and check out our Family Retreat page. Cynthia, they have to check it quickly, don’t they?  

Cynthia:  You have to check it. We fill up quickly and we would love to be able to meet you and engage with you and love on you.

Joni:  Absolutely!  No waiting lists at Family Retreat this summer. Cynthia, thank you for being a champion for family retreats, and for the Lord Jesus.

Cynthia:  Oh, it’s my pleasure Joni and thank you for having me.

Joni:  I’ll see you at Family Retreat this summer!

Cynthia:  All right!

© Joni and Friends



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