First Family Retreat Coming to Peru!

I have recently been asked to join a Joni and Friends team for our very first Family Retreat in Peru this April. I will be responsible for training the volunteers and overseeing many of the activities. All of the work that I do with Joni and Friends Family Retreats is as a volunteer as well. In order to make this possible, I need to ask for your support.   Many countries to this day still believe that those born with disabilities are cursed and they should be hidden away, denied an education or even discard or given minimal care. It is often a life of shame. Joni and Friends ...[Read more]

Leadership…

  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]

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]

chrissy- it could happen to you

I met a friend of mine, Catherine and her daughter, Chrissy through Joni and Friends Family Retreats. Catherine is taking an online class and her classroom discussions are done via conversations online. The whole class can read and respond to anything another has said. Everyone responds to whatever topic is posted by an individual in the class. The topic of one particular discussion was Disability. Catherine shared with me where the conversation went and how she handled it. Her heart-felt response was one that truly touched me, one that needs to be shared: One of the themes in this ...[Read more]

Serbia- April 2011

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]

Twin Rocks Family Retreat-for such a time as this

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]

Amazing Grace

Every once in a while, something jogs my memory and a flood of emotions sweep over me from our trip to Ghana. Today, it was in the hearing of an old familiar hymn. Standing in the Slave castle on the Ivory Coast, our guide was describing to us the events that had taken place here, within these walls. His description left our minds imagining the African women, standing chained to a lead ball, naked, buckets of cold water thrown over them as the white officers stood on the balcony above, picking out the ones that would be sent up the secret ladder to their bed. Or the others, left behind the ...[Read more]