through christina- a special mother is born

A beautiful reader submitted story about God's plan to use a daughter with Down Syndrome to opened the eyes of this mother's heart. Submitted by Leticia a special mother is born “God would never send us a special child,” I mused, caressing my pregnant belly, “our marriage isn’t strong enough.” I was deliriously happy to be pregnant at 39, for three of my five pregnancies had ended in miscarriage, and my younger daughter, Isabella, was an independent four year old. Last summer, I had returned from a homeschool conference with an aching heart, longing for a translucent-skinned newborn ...[Read more]

jean-more than I could imagine

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]

The Family That No One Expected

After spending 35 days in Ghana, it’s been difficult trying to figure out how to get my thoughts and feelings written into stories. Each night while in Africa, I would try to journal about our days activities  but with all that we were experiencing, it would literally take me hours to express what was churning around in my head and the exhaustion would overtake me and I’d surrender to sleep. I ended up writing down the bare minimum of details, knowing that my mind would retain the stories that had deeply touched my heart. The Family that No One Expected After two years of planning and ...[Read more]

How God Uses Sam to Change an Entire Church

How God Uses Sam to Change an Entire Church (and a 12 year old girl) Story Submitted by Nancy and Anne Meador Edited by Kara Ferris Nancy- Our forever connection to Joni and Friends Family Retreats began when our daughter, Anne was 12 - almost 6 years ago. I was looking for ways for us to serve as a mom/daughter team and I have long wanted my daughter to feel comfortable around others whose lives are touched with disabilities. I also wanted her to grow up not thinking that she was the center of the universe. So, we volunteered for our local Joni and Friends Chapter in Oregon at the ...[Read more]

robert-seen as a gift

Editor- I had an incredible opportunity to interview an amazing young man on the phone!  Once again, a friend posted a video on facebook which was wonderful!  It was of Robert Pio Hajjar, speaking to a crowd in a large auditorium.  Robert was animated, full of life, dancing on the stage, arms raised and clapping above his head.  Soon, the audience joined in.  Then, Robert began to speak.  He was articulate, entertaining, had a wonderful sense of humor and a huge heart.  The focus of Robert's message was to share with the audience, that those with disabilities can have a full, meaningful and ...[Read more]

james- bringing out the best

By Carolin My mother-in-law told me a story one time that I found down right frightening, "Sarah told me that when she was a little girl she wanted to write with her left hand.  Every time she picked up a crayon or a pencil she was drawn to use her left hand.  Every time she tried using her right hand she felt awkward and uncomfortable.  Unfortunately Sarah's teacher believed that a person could not write correctly with their left hand.  Every time Sarah got caught using her left hand she would get struck with a ruler." When I heard this story I wondered how anyone could be so cruel and ...[Read more]

When God Speaks

Submitted by Justin’s mother, Debbie When God Speaks About 10 years ago, as a young mother of a toddler with severe mental disabilities, I was struggling with how God could love my son (and me as well). It was very evident that Justin could sin but I don’t think that He understood repentance. How would he ever understand salvation?  What was his purpose in life if he couldn’t understand God? Would he be condemned to hell if he doesn’t repent? Why did God create human beings who couldn’t serve Him or others and who made everyone else's life very difficult? There was a middle-aged man at our ...[Read more]