Joni Eareckson Tada JONI AND FRIENDS MINISTRIES
JONI AND FRIENDS
WHEELS FOR THE WORLD
Wheels for the World exists to serve the 20 million people
around the world who need a wheelchair. Throughout the
U.S., volunteers collect used but serviceable wheelchairs.
Donated chairs are then
restored to like-new condition by inmates in select
U.S. correctional facilities.
The wheelchairs are then
shipped to developing nations where our Wheels for
the World teams fit each
wheelchair to its recipient.
People with disabilities also
receive a Bible in their language and the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Over
100,000 wheelchairs have
been distributed. Learn more
on our website’s Wheels for
the World page.
All families experience stress, but when a household member
has a disability, the stress and strain can be overwhelming.
It’s why our five-day Family Retreats
provide recreation, refreshment, fellowship, support, and camp-style fun
for the whole family — parents and
children affected by a variety of disabilities. Our staff and volunteers
serve as Short-Term Missionaries
(STMs) at Family Retreats held across
the US and at International Family
Retreats held overseas in developing
nations. Come serve and volunteer at
a Family Retreat!
For over three decades, Joni has broadcasted a message of inspiration and hope
through her award-winning, 4-minute
radio programs and 60-second features. Her voice is heard across the
U.S. and overseas, reaching an estimated listening audience of over one
million people through broadcast and
online radio. With topics including
disability, marriage, and a biblical
look at suffering, Joni’s radio
programs have a message for
everyone, so listen in on our
website radio page.
CHRISTIAN INSTITUTE ON DISABILITY
Human life can now be altered, redefined, aborted, cloned, and
euthanized. Our Christian Institute on Disability (CID) promotes a biblical view of life, human dignity, and the value of
all individuals — disabled or
not. Through our innovative
Beyond Suffering curriculum and partnerships with
universities and seminaries,
we train and equip leaders
and students to evangelize,
include, and empower people
affected by disability. Visit
our website to learn more
about our online Beyond
Suffering course of study.
“Go out quickly into the streets
and alleys of the town and bring in the poor,
the crippled, the blind, and the lame...
so that my house will be full.”
– Luke 14:21-23
Are you interested in learning more about disability ministry?
Would you like to volunteer with a ministry outreach, or help your
church develop a Sunday school program for children with special
needs? Perhaps you have a disability, or know someone who does
– if so, contact us at Joni and Friends where our team of disability
experts can provide you with practical, biblical resources that will
meet your needs and equip you to do God’s work.
CAUSE 4 LIFE
GLOBAL MISSIONS & INTERNSHIPS
Cause 4 Life interns are introduced to a biblical view of disability through our Beyond Suffering curriculum. They are then
given opportunities to apply these biblical principles, coupled
with their unique individual skills, in hands-on local ministries
and global international missions. Each intern is mentored and
challenged to implement disability ministry as part of his or her
life calling. If you know of a student or college graduate who
would enjoy interning with us, ask them to visit our Cause 4 Life
page on our website.
PO Box 3333, Agoura Hills, CA 91301
Phone: (818) 707-5664 • Fax: (818) 707-2391
Joni and Friends is an international Christian ministry that brings the Good News of
Jesus to the world’s one billion people affected by disability. With its life-changing
programs, Joni and Friends serves the world’s neediest; that is, people with disabilities
in the U.S. and around the world.
© 2016 Joni and Friends. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version ®.
J oni Eareckson Tada
or years, I was one of those who
insisted, “Disability happens to
other people, not me.” My family was the athletic type, always up for a
game of tennis, camping, or backpacking. My three older sisters and I never
so much as sprained an ankle.
All that changed on a hot July afternoon in 1967 when my sister Kathy and I went to a beach on the Chesapeake Bay for a
quick swim. The water was murky in the afternoon sun and I
didn’t bother to check the depth when I hoisted myself onto a
raft anchored offshore. I positioned my feet on the edge, took
a deep breath, and plunged into the water. Sprong! My head
hit something hard, snapped back, and I felt a strange electric
shock in the back of my neck. Floating facedown and dazed,
I realized I was unable to surface to the top. Why won’t my
arms move? Why can’t my feet kick?!
My lungs were screaming for air, but just as I opened my
mouth to “breathe” water, I felt my sister’s arms around me,
lifting me to fresh air. “Kathy,” I sputtered when I saw my
lifeless arms slung over her shoulder, “I can’t feel!”
A sunbather rushed into the water to bring his raft. Someone
called an ambulance. Within an hour, nurses in the hospital
emergency room were cutting off my wet bathing suit, rings,
and necklace. My head was spinning and I began to lose
consciousness when I heard a buzzing drill near my head —
a doctor was drilling bolts into my skull to stabilize my neck!
My diving accident catapulted me into the strange, frightening world of tubes and machines. Doctors put me on a Stryker
frame, a long canvas “sandwich” on which I laid face up for
several hours, and then was flipped facedown to prevent pressure
sores. It didn’t help. Within months, I lost so much weight that
my bones began to stick through my hips and elbows. That meant
more operations and more months on the Stryker frame.
Deep, dark depression set in. “How could you have allowed this to
happen to me, God,” I asked. “I was a Christian before my accident … what did I do wrong? Am I being punished?!”
Resentment against God began to fester in my heart.
Friends prayed for me around the clock. After almost a year in
the hospital, I began to sense a difference. I was no longer asking “why” with a clenched, angry fist; instead, I began asking
“why” with a searching heart. Little did I realize it, but God was
beginning to soften my bruised and hurting soul through the
power of prayer.
I really noticed the change in occupational therapy. Weeks earlier, I had stubbornly refused to learn to write with a pencil
clenched between my teeth.
Then I met Tom, a young
ventilator-dependent quadriplegic who was more
paralyzed than I was. His
attitude was enthusiastic
as he permitted the therapist to put the pencil in
his mouth. It made me
ashamed of my grumbling
God used the prayers of my friends and the example of Tom to
show me the truth of Romans 8:28, “In all things God works
for the good of those who love him.” God’s idea of good was
not necessarily to give me back use of my hands or legs.
Instead, God gave me patience, perseverance, a more flexible
attitude, an appreciation for the small things in life, deeper
friendships, and an ability to smile — not in spite of my circumstances but because of them.
GOD WORKS FOR THE GOOD
OF THOSE WHO LOVE HIM
Now, many decades later, my husband
Ken and I share God’s message
of hope with hurting people
around the world. And whenever
I’m tempted to feel discouraged, I remember that God knows
exactly how I feel. He once suffered too. And because Jesus
turned His cross into a symbol of hope and freedom,
I can do the same — for
my wheelchair is the
prison God used to set
my spirit free!
WHAT MAKES THIS
o you want to experience the same freedom that Joni
found? Do you feel confined by difficult problems
and are looking for hope and joy? Don’t go your own
way, resisting God (in other words, sinning). You may think,
“But I don’t sin.” God’s Word says, “All have sinned and fall
short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Our pride and selfishness cause us to miss the mark of true righteousness, but
“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal
life” (John 3:16).
Jesus died on the cross as your substitute — He bore God’s
displeasure with your sin, so that you might find forgiveness
and a home in heaven. It’s why Jesus is known as our Savior.
However, you must receive such a precious gift. Romans 10:9
says, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.” So agree with God that you have sinned.
Then promise to turn from your selfish way of living, and turn
to Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Believe that He died on the cross
as your substitute, and that His resurrection purchased
a place for you in eternity with Him. Finally, place
your trust and confidence in Jesus as your
Savior, and follow Him as your Lord.
God is more concerned about what’s in your heart than what
you recite in a particular prayer, but if you need help calling
on Him as your Savior, borrow the following words…
Lord Jesus, thank you for paying the debt for my sin by
dying on the cross. I confess my sins, which are many.
Thank you for forgiving me and I want to show you my
gratitude by turning away from my old sinful habits.
I embrace you as the Lord of my life and I desire to follow
you the rest of my days. Thank you for giving me power
and strength to live a life
that honors and pleases
you! I pray this in the
only name that saves,
Jesus Christ. Amen.