2019 marks the 40th year, having begun in 1979, that the ministry of “Joni and Friends” has addressed “the needs of families affected by disability.”
For years, we’ve been honored to include, as one of the “Ministries We Support,” the work and ministry of Joni Eareckson Tada.
Everything that “they are about” begins with “ministry.” On their website, Joni and Friends, under “What we Do,” it is simply this:
“We share the hope of the Gospel and give practical help to people impacted by disability worldwide.”
In 1982, Joni began recording the inspirational “Joni and Friends” radio program, to provide encouragement, biblical insights, and disability awareness.
Later, Joni began a 1-minute radio program called “Diamonds in the Dust,” to offer encouragement to listeners worldwide. In 2011, “Diamonds in the Dust” won “Short Form Radio Program of the Year” from National Religious Broadcasters.
In 1994, Wheels for the World is founded to share the Gospel and provide mobility to people affected by disability in developing countries. The first wheelchair was provided in Ghana, West Africa.
Ministries include both “Family Retreats” and “International Family Retreats,” which provide a haven for special needs families. Here, families are cared for, encouraged, and rejuvenated in a Christ-centered, fully accessible camp environment.
Another ministry is “Cause 4 Life,” which works to equip “students to become leaders in disability ministry to transform lives through the Gospel, impact their churches and communities for Christ, and advocate for justice, freedom, and equality for people affected by disability.”
In 2007, “The Christian Institute on Disability” was founded to “provide higher education and training on disability-related issues from a biblical perspective.”
As an “old radio guy,” my original intention was to celebrate the “Joni and Friends” Radio Program, which just reached the 35-Year Milestone. However … I was blessed to find this video, which we now share, in which Joni, herself, narrates the story of her life and ministry, in a video entitled “My Story-It’s Personal.”
In her own words, after the horrific accident, how, since she couldn’t physically end her life, how she cried out,
“God, if I can’t die, then show me how to live.”
How she learned that “God permits what He hates, to accomplish that which He loves.”
You’ll never look at Luke, Chapter 14, the same.
I have been honored that my writing, it has been written, has the ability “to reach the deepest of human emotions, in a way which can’t be described, only felt.” This is exactly the way the voice of Joni Eareckson Tada affects me. The love, the humility, the genuineness and sincerity in her voice, just … just … reaches me. In a way I can’t explain.
I’m not ashamed to admit that when I watch this video, when I hear her voice, my soul is touched in a way I can’t explain … as it was, for me, the first time I picked up a Gospel Tract, so many years ago, which featured a picture of a young girl, an artist, paintbrush in mouth, and I read her story. Maybe it’s because, when I first read that Gospel Tract, it wasn’t long after I had, due to injury, thought I would never walk correctly again; even years before that, how I had been pulled out of a car wreck which should have left me paralyzed, at best … Maybe it’s because I recognize the Spirit which resides in her … Just reading these words I’ve just written … I feel that same Spirit … Alive …
God has just revealed to me that there is something else in her voice … which I now realize is such a large part of the “I can’t explain” part …
What I hear in her voice is:
Which can’t be explained … only felt.
We Love Joni … “and Friends”
Here is her story: