Joni and Friends Blog
Blog Contest Winner – Electra
To celebrate 35 years of Joni and Friends ministry, we recently held our first blog contest. We invited you to share on your personal blog how Joni and Friends has impacted your life! This week, we’re featuring the winning entries. Today’s post was written by our recent Cause 4 Life intern, Electra P., who lost her left arm in a car accident less than two years ago. As a winner, she’s receiving a copy of Joni’s soon to be released book, Beside Bethesda, and the Joni feature film. Please take a moment to read Electra’s post and leave her a comment of congratulations!
It is hard to even put in words what I have seen, experienced and felt this summer. A month and a half journey with Joni and Friends certainly can change your life.
I started off in Sterling, Virginia and my heart was blessed from the start. I went on an internship with Joni and Friends and met 9 other awesome ladies who wanted to get to know the world of disability a little better. We went through countless training sessions and in the end got to work at two awesome places, one with Mclean Bible Church and the other Jill’s House. My personal favorite was Jill’s house, partly because I spent more time there. Jill’s House is a place that provides respite (rest) to parents who have children affected by all disabilities. We got to assist with ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living) and really engage with the children to help their future grow. It was so rewarding, yet also really difficult. It was draining and physically exhausting trying to do things with one arm. I think the most difficult part of it all was it was another reality that although I don’t have a cognitive or intellectual disability, I still have a disability. It felt like it hit hard every day I walked through that door. But on the flip side, I felt like I had a connection, that no other person had. I can’t relate to their lives really, but I can relate to feeling different. I felt so privileged to be there. It has become one of my favorite places. I got to see children succeed, and that made it all worth it. I made so many friends and I was so sad to have to leave early, but so excited as well for the next adventure God had for me. China.
Oh, how I fell in love. From the moment I got off the plane I felt safe, like I had been there my whole life. I knew God brought me here for a reason. In China, we got to team up with some awesome people and had a wonderful team. We held an IFR (International Family Retreat) and hosted families of children affected by disabilities. I got to co-lead the story center and also had the awesome opportunity to talk to the parents. The theme was Hope Overflowing. How appropriate. These families have it hard, and they have it even harder because they have no hope. I got to share my story with the children and the parents. That was an experience I will most certainly never forget. I was asked questions like: “Can God save me? Can you or God heal my child? Will God grow your arm back?” It was so humbling talking to those mothers who just have it so rough and are just searching. I just felt so overwhelmed with the burden to share HOPE! Hope that can change, heal, and give peace to get through each difficult day. I didn’t want to leave.
I have a passion and it is ignited. The world of disability is in desperate need of HOPE and grace. A world where people are shunned for things that can’t be controlled, but God – He gives hope. God didn’t just take my arm and change my world for nothing. He chose this, for me, and I may not understand it ever. But, what I do know is, I know for a fact that He has called me to be His servant. To love the broken. To share what only God can do.
It is crazy to thing that my accident happened less than 2 years ago. He has brought me so far. I can’t wait to see where He takes me next. Thank you Joni and Friends. You truly have blessed my life.
“Here am I, Lord send Me!” -Isaiah 6:8