Ken and I often marvel at the wonderful friends the Lord brings to Joni and Friends. Without our amazing friends, we couldn’t do what we do to impact the lives of thousands of people, and their families, affected by disability. I am eternally grateful for each of you. It’s why we take it hard when we get news of the passing of one of our friends. But, this particular friend is worth publicly honoring because she has marked our ministry by her life and death.
Mary Ann Harder of Muskogee, OK was a long-time friend to us. Though she never married and had no children or extended family affected by disability, her career as a nurse allowed her to work and care for many patients affected by disability. Mary Ann was not a wealthy woman. She lived on a fixed income and began to support our work at Joni and Friends 29 years ago, doing so faithfully until her recent death. In fact, she chose to live a frugal lifestyle, going without many material possessions so she could give generously to people in need. Here’s what she wrote to us in one of her letters: “I’ve been reading some of Randy Alcorn’s writings regarding giving, money, possessions, and heaven. Giving what I can really is bringing me joy.”
Undoubtedly, she is a remarkable example to me and Ken as one who exemplified the Matthew 6:20-21 mandate of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
What is most humbling to me about Mary Ann is that while her faithful prayers and generosity throughout her life have helped thousands of people with disability throughout the world, I am profoundly moved by her unfathomable planned gift to us upon her death.
You see, friends, Mary Ann made the selfless decision to include Joni and Friends in her estate plans so that upon her passing, she could give a gift of a lifetime, leaving her lasting legacy of partnering with Joni and Friends to transform the lives of people affected by disability, worldwide, with the love of Christ. What an honor! Truly, her name is known in heaven. I can just imagine Jesus saying to her, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Perhaps you, friend, may have been wondering how you can make a charitable gift with lasting impact – a gift that will be a part of your legacy. Or, you may have questions on the many ways you can make a legacy gift to Joni and Friends. You can discover all sorts of giving options through our Planned Giving Program. Or, just give our Planned Giving Officer, Degna Horton, a call at 818.575.1762.
Ken and I are grateful for the many years of friendship with Mary Ann. Her prayers and legacy have impacted all of us at Joni and Friends. And we, in turn, keep all our friends in our prayers. Thank you for your continued friendship, prayers, and gifts that bring eternal transformation to lives affected by disability.