Extravagant Love

Rebekah and me

Returning home from another retreat for families touched by disability (my 26th to be exact), I stood in worship at our Sunday service just two days later and I was overwhelmed as we sang about our God of love. I realized in those moments that I had personally experienced more of God’s love than most people would in a life time because of the people that I have gotten to know whose lives are touched by disability. In Luke 14:12-14, Jesus taught, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, ...[Read more]

Peru- Loving Families Touched by Disability

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Reflecting on my trip to Peru with Joni and Friends to volunteer for a Family Retreat for families touched by disability, I am once again amazed at the way we saw God move among us, answering prayers, changing hearts, providing all that we could ever ask for and more. This is something that never seems to grow old, never loses the incredible impact that it has on my life each time I am able to participate in a Joni and Friends Family Retreat. Our time began with an Architects Conference at the University in Lima. About 40 students gathered to listen to local speakers as well as those ...[Read more]

Leadership…

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  Being in leadership and training volunteers is a role that must be taken seriously. It takes lots of time, energy, dedication AND...     Fun!!!     Lots of FUN!!!           ...and of course hugs- LOTS of hugs.         Being in leadership means...                                                   ...being blessed by serving others!   Kara  xoxo iamviable   ...[Read more]

Serbia- April 2011

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Greg and I moved to Southern California to work with Nick Vujicic and his organization, “Life Without Limbs” during the months of January through July of 2011. So in April, I went with Nick’s operations manager, Elizabeth Gavrilovic to a Joni and Friends Family Retreat in Serbia which is the country of Nick and Elizabeth’s family heritage. Life Without Limbs wanted to build connections for future events and I agreed to go and help with training of the volunteers (Short Term Missionaries aka- STMs) and to also help wherever needed. Even though I am always excited to help lead and traing ...[Read more]

rebekah-from prison of pain to pulpit of praise

Rebekah

Editor's Note - “Have you met Rebekah?” asked one of the campers to another. “Oh my gosh, have you seen her smile?” was the reply. During the first 24 hours of our Joni and Friends Family Retreat in Oregon this past August, the whispers continued to spread. “Isn’t she beautiful?!” “You can see the love of Jesus just shinning right through her!” Rebekah is a young woman who happens to have cerebral palsy, a young woman who happens to use a motorized wheelchair, and a young woman who exudes radiant joy. But that joy was birthed through a process of descending into the depths of ...[Read more]

Twin Rocks Family Retreat-for such a time as this

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Cars began arriving to the cheers of the awaiting crowd of volunteers, also known as Short Term Missionaries or STMs. Each family who drove into the conference center was coming for five days of rest, refreshment and restoration. Each person who had a disability as well as young children would be given an STM, making the week a relaxing and enjoyable time for all and a week that would challenge, shape and change the lives of the STMs. Lorraine, who was new to Joni and Friends Retreats as well as the role of STM Coordinator, had spent hour upon hour matching the family members to their STMs. ...[Read more]

jean-more than I could imagine

David Jean

A dear friend recently sent an email, sharing with me how her week serving at a Family Retreat had touched and changed her life. I asked Jean if I could share her experience with our readers because it shows how deeply someone can be affected by a little boy who happens to have a disability. More Than I Could Imagine Written by Jean Bilang Edited by Kara Ferris It’s been over a week since I returned from camp. This was my 4th time to serve as a Short Term Missionary (STM) with Joni and Friends Family Retreat at Missions Springs in Scotts Valley, California. These camps are designed ...[Read more]