“Behold, I am doing a new thing!” says the Lord. “Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”
It’s a New Year filled with God’s provision and new beginnings!
I know we’ve all had our share of hardships in 2020, but now, here at Joni and Friends, we’re rolling up our sleeves and diving into a brand-new year of ministry, eagerly anticipating how the Lord plans to work through all of us as we step out courageously in faith in 2021!
Before I share our 2021 plans with you, I want to rejoice in God’s faithfulness and provision in 2020. Despite a global pandemic, together we keep sharing the Gospel with families impacted by disabilities all over the world. And in this New Year, we will bring Christ-centered encouragement and practical help to even more special-needs families worldwide!
COVID-19 opened the eyes of all of us at Joni and Friends. God gave us innovative and creative ways to rescue wounded and weary people with disabilities and their families, making a loud declaration that nothing can stop the love of Jesus! And Jesus continues to make the impossible possible!
Did you know that in developing nations, nearly 80% of children with disabilities will not live to adulthood without our help? And right here in our country, 20 U.S. veterans commit suicide every day. These statistics are staggering, and that’s why standing idly by and doing nothing is simply not an option.
Jesus cares passionately for these people, and we must, too.
Take a look at what Jesus did at our Tennessee Warrior Getaway, a retreat specifically designed for combat veterans struggling with the visible and invisible wounds of war.
Chris, his wife Holly, their two sons Chris Jr. (7) and Jacob (8) – along with Chris’s service dog, Spider – arrived at the Warrior Getaway dealing with the far-reaching effects of Post Traumatic Stress that came as a result of Chris’s military service in Iraq and Kuwait. Haunted by guilt and shame, it was at the Warrior Getaway that Chris became deeply aware of his spiritual brokenness and learned what it means to find happiness and fulfillment in Christ.
At the Warrior Getaway, true healing began for Chris as he recommitted his life to Jesus. And while he met with the other Warriors, Holly found the love and support of other military wives who shared the Gospel with her. Right there at the Warrior Getaway, Holly surrendered her life to Christ!
Not only did this dear couple give their hearts to Jesus at the Warrior Getaway, they also renewed their wedding vows and pledged once again to love and honor each other on their healing journey ahead!
When Ken and I reflect on over 40 years of ministry, it’s the precious faces of people we’ve reached for Jesus that come to mind. People like Chris and Holly.
We remember the expressions of desperation and hopelessness as children were carried on a parent or grandparent’s back because they couldn’t walk and couldn’t afford a much-needed wheelchair.
Or the faces of people burdened with severe disabilities, lying alone in back bedrooms, hidden from view… faces of husbands and wives devastated by their loved one’s illness or injury … of mothers and fathers crying over their suffering child. We’ve prayed for them, and we’ve cried with them, too.
Their faces and their stories compel us to forge ahead together – to finish the race well –because there are hundreds of thousands we still need to reach with the love and mercy of Jesus. Families like Chris’s in dire need of real, spiritual renewal.
I’m excited to share with you that in addition to our Family Retreats, we’ll be hosting nine Warrior Getaways in 2021! Now, even more families and marriages will be strengthened and given eternal hope through hardships!
Oh, the need! At Joni and Friends, we’re keenly aware that we must do all we can to reach the next generation with the Gospel of Jesus. God’s clearly given us the vision to go out, find the disabled, the lame, and the blind, and bring them in so that the Father’s house might be full (Luke 14).
Would you join Ken and me as we celebrate the beginning of another year of power-packed ministry – bringing honor and glory to Jesus by serving children, adults, and families living with disabilities?
I’m so incredibly thankful I can depend on your steadfast prayers and faithful giving. God bless you in this New Year. I’m looking forward to serving people with disabilities and their families for Jesus and for the kingdom alongside you!