Wednesday, July 30, 2008

International Disability Center

From Noel:
A few months ago, Talitha and I visited the Joni and Friends International Disability Center in Agoura Hills, California. This is the hub for the variety of ministries spreading out from JAF--family retreats, wheelchair outreach, radio ministry, church relations, visitation, disabilities awareness curriculum, daily devotions, and connection with the JAF field ministries scattered around the country. There also is a new TV program.

It's hard to take it in--how many kinds of activities spring from this center. So I think I'll focus on some ministries individually in future blogs.

In the meantime, this video highlights the Christian Institute on Disability, one of the key ministries of the Center, offering education and internships for this purpose: "To Impact the Church, Christian and public institutions and societies with a biblical worldview and life-giving Truth on issues pertaining to life, dignity, justice and equality that affect people with disabilities."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Who Would Have Thought?

Summer afternoon. Sisters swimming in the bay. Diving from a raft. Hitting bottom. Broken neck. Quadriplegia. Seventeen years old and life will never again be the same.

Who but God could have thought of this as anything but tragedy? Instead, through God's strength Joni Eareckson Tada has inspired tens of thousands. Her practical love and ministry through Joni and Friends has pointed people around the globe toward the God who is sovereign and in whose image we all are created, whatever abilities and disabilities we have.

She has told her story more fully in Joni, which is available as book or DVD. And perhaps you heard her speak some time ago with Larry King about her life--how God brought her into  a warm personal relationship with himself through friends who treated her "as a person, not a cripple." In that video interview, she also talks about what that relationship means in her life now, for example when she doesn't have the strength or personal resources to face another day.

God Always Shows Up Here

Joni and Friends Family Retreat is a unique week in the year of a person or family affected by disabilities. You can hear it in the words of some of the campers who were at the Minnesota Family Retreat last year, in 2007. A couple of them are parents of children with special needs. One is a husband and father whose physical mobility is a wheelchair. One is an STM (nickname for Retreat volunteer workers--"short-term missionary").

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Posted by Noel:
I'll be making a new side bar for our next ministry opportunity, but I want to save the images that were in the Kenya trip side bar.