Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope

Joni Eareckson Tada

Don Needham

May 21, 2019
00:00 30:30

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada to tell you about my friend, Don.

I met him years ago when I was speaking at his church in Colorado Springs. I was talking about our “Wheels for the World” outreach; you know where we take wheelchairs and Bibles to needy disabled people overseas. At that time, some of our wheelchairs were being restored at a prison facility in Colorado. Well, Don is sitting there in the congregation listening to all this, and he decides to get involved. He gets his adult Sunday school group to help raise funds to provide more tools and workbenches for the prisoners who are restoring our wheelchairs. He even digs in and helps bring the ’Wheels for the World”restoration shop up to speed.

From there, he helped us collect wheelchairs in his region, and then he decided that he could use his mechanical skills by serving on a “Wheels for the World” team to a developing nation. Well, he wrote me the other day, they said, “Joni, (this is what he said,) having been on 7 trips for “Wheels for the World,” I’ve seen countless times how the gift of a pediatric wheelchair or an adult -sized one really touches family. It’s the gift that helps open their hearts to receive the gospel. They see first-hand how generous the God of the Bible really is. And I tell my friends that there are '5' wins in the Wheels' Ministry: (1) a chair is salvaged; (2) a prisoner has got purpose, (3) someone gets the gift of mobility that changes their life, (4) many people are opened to receiving Christ, and (5) the team that goes to a third world country has a totally new perspective on life and an appreciation for their blessings. No other mission effort that I know of does so many things with 'one' item, a wheelchair!”

Well you know, Don was just sitting there one Sunday morning in the church, and God spoke to his heart. Don’s the kind of guy who, when he sees the need, can’t wait to meet it. That’s just like him. He saw that he could do something to help those prisoners do a better job of refurbishing our wheelchairs. Next thing you know, he’s got his Sunday school involved. He is making a difference. Neither Don nor his Sunday school friends had much connection with prison ministry before, and they weren’t particularly involved with disabled people in their church, but they saw they could do something. They can raise funds. They can donate tools, hammers, wrenches. Make work tables, benches and so much more. Of course, when you see a need or start meeting it, God opens your eyes and you begin to see other needs: the need to collect wheelchairs, the need to minister to prisoners, and ultimately, the need to even serve on a “Wheels for the World” trip.

Acts chapter 20, verse 35 says, "in all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak, and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" That perfectly describes people like Don who see a need and don’t wait around for others to do it. Huh-uh, no, they do it. And they get the blessing. We’ve got a “Wheels for the World” team in China this week fitting wheelchairs to some of the poorest disabled people in the world. Kids with disabilities who are forgotten, neglected. Actually this month, there are three different Wheels teams going to three different big regions in China. I know Don’s gonna be cheering on our “Wheels for the World “team with his prayers, and I sure hope you will, too. And if you’d like to serve on a “Wheels” team or help collect wheelchairs, then help us. Just visit our Wheels for the World page at for all the details. Find need, and then roll up your sleeves and meet it.

God bless you today, and thanks for listening to Joni and Friends.

© Joni and Friends

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About Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope

Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope is a broadcast ministry of Joni and Friends committed to bringing the Gospel and practical help to people impacted by disability around the world. Joni and Friends has been advancing disability ministry for over 40 years. Their mission to glorify God, communicate the Gospel and mobilize the global church to evangelize, disciple and serve people living with disability answers the call found in Luke 14 to “bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame… so that my house will be full.”

About Joni Eareckson Tada

Paralyzed as the result of a diving accident at age 17, Joni Eareckson Tada envisions a world where every person with a disability finds hope, dignity, and their place in the body of Christ. As the Founder and CEO of Joni and Friends, she is known worldwide as an author, speaker, disability rights advocate and radio personality. Her 10,000 radio programs are broadcast across the country and around the world, inspiring listeners to realize that there is hope in every hardship.
Joni Eareckson Tada is an esteemed Christian stateswoman and respected global leader in disability advocacy. Although a 1967 diving accident left her a quadriplegic, she emerged from rehabilitation with a determination to help others with similar disabilities. Mrs. Tada serves as CEO of Joni and Friends, a Christian organization which provides programs and services for thousands of special-needs families around the world. President Reagan appointed Mrs. Tada to the National Council on Disability, then reappointed by President George H.W. Bush. During her tenure, the ADA was passed and signed into law. Mrs. Tada served as advisor to Condoleezza Rice on the Disability Advisory Committee to the U.S. State Department. She served as Senior Associate for Disability Concerns for the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. The Colson Center on Christian Worldview awarded Joni Tada its prestigious William Wilberforce Award, and she was also inducted into
Indiana Wesleyan University’s Society of World Changers. 
Joni Eareckson Tada has been awarded several honorary degrees, including Doctor of Humanities from Gordon College and Doctor of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary. She is an effective communicator, sharing her inspirational message in books, through artwork, radio, and other media. Joni Tada served as General Editor of the Beyond Suffering Bible, a special edition published by Tyndale for people affected by disability. Joni and her husband Ken were married in 1982 and reside in Calabasas, California.

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