Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope

Joni Eareckson Tada

Don's Mission Field

March 11, 2019
00:00 4:00

Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and I sure wish you could meet Don Bania.

I mean this guy is so heavenly-minded sitting in his wheelchair. Don broke his neck over 45 years ago and he sits tall and straight in his chair with his arms resting on a lap board. He's pretty handsome with his gray beard, clear blue eyes and very winning smile. I'm looking at a photo of him right now sitting in front of racks of used wheelchairs. Don collects wheelchairs for us and in the photo he's got this, this T-shirt on that says, "Got Wheelchairs?"...you know, like the old TV commercial: "Got Milk?"

Don knows he just can't get up and go be a missionary in some foreign country. As it is in his wheelchair, it's hard enough for him to get around his home town. But Don Bania still has a heart for disabled people like him overseas in poorer countries, people who are not able to sit up in a wheelchair like he can, people who spend most of their days in bed, or they crawl around in the dirt because they

cannot afford a wheelchair, and so Don, with his quadriplegia, is doing something about it. Through his network of friends, he is linked up with the kids at Teen Challenge who help him collect used wheelchairs, then there's a local trucking company that picks up those chairs free of charge, then his friends at a local auto and body shop provide free storage for those wheelchairs, and finally, Don's local Wal*Mart transports those wheelchairs to the prisons nationwide where inmates restore them and make them like new. The thing is, Don Bania has assembled this entire team of ministries: people, friends, locals, churches, local businesses, and he's doing it all from his wheelchair. He's kind of like the 'traffic control center,' organizing everything from his home base on his home phone.

When I asked him about this incredible ministry, Don explained to me that he believes that he and his team have "a little part in eternal salvation of those who receive our wheelchairs. Plus, we're also helping them restore their dignity and liberty, he says. It's amazing, he tells me, that a wheelchair which is often seen as an object of hopelessness and sorrow, has become a symbol of mobility and hope as well as spreading the Gospel worldwide."

You know I read that comment of Don's and I just can't wait for heaven on that wonderful day when he will finally rise up out of his wheelchair to receive his eternal prize. And by his side will be many hundreds like him from every tongue, tribe and nation, people who, like Don Bania, will have shed their disabilities and they will rise up on grateful, glorified legs to praise the Father for His gracious gift of salvation. Hallelujah, I can't wait, because you know what, I'm one of them!

Well, maybe you're not able to go on the mission field like Don Bania, maybe you too have significant limitations which keep you close to home. Well, believe me you can have a part in eternal salvation of needy people in other parts of the world. Like my friend Don, you, I believe you; can collect wheelchairs for Wheels for the World. We need people like you. I’ve posted a video on joniradio.org today that shows you exactly what it’s like to collect used but serviceable wheelchairs in your community. And if you have more questions, I’ve included a link where you can get more info. ‘Cause we need more Chair Corps volunteers, as we call helpers like Don Bania. So, please consider serving with us, would you, by collecting chairs for needy, disabled people. Come on, get involved. Find out how you can get engaged at joniradio.org. Again, that’s joniradio.org to become a Chair Corps rep and collect wheelchairs for people all over the world. Thanks for listening to Joni and Friends.

By: Joni Eareckson Tada

© 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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