Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope

Joni Eareckson Tada

Shauna’s Podcast

March 21, 2019

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I'm pretty excited that so many special needs parents and students, and those who are just looking for practical ways to include people with disabilities are subscribing to our Joni and Friends’ ministry Podcast right now. And if you are interested in caregiving or nursing, or if you are a Special-Ed student this podcast is for you, because this week we’re featuring Shauna Amick, my good friend, co-worker and mother of a teenager with Down syndrome. In fact, let’s tune in to the podcast right now. Let’s listen in…

CRYSTAL: What are some practical ways of including people with disabilities, specifically someone with Down syndrome?

SHAUNA: Well, I think that what we want to remember is that the way we include a person with a disability or a person with Down syndrome specifically is how we would include anybody. So, here’s an example: Every evening at dinner the five of us in our little family, we get together and we eat our meal together and what we’ll say every night is; who’s going to pray tonight? And sometimes it’s my husband; sometimes it’s me; sometimes it’s one of the older kids, but Sarah will often volunteer. And that’s a beautiful way of including her in the family, of letting her use her spiritual gift. And now I gotta tell you Crystal, Sarah’s pretty much nonverbal, so the only one who really understands everything she’s praying is God Himself. Every time we say “amen” I know Jesus is smiling and the whole family is smiling as well.

CRYSTAL: I love that and God does know her heart. He knows exactly what’s she saying. How would you say Sarah’s been welcomed and included at church?

SHAUNA: Well, I’m gonna continue and talk about prayer. If I can, if I can back up, I want to share there was one time when we went to a friend’s house for dinner and Sarah actually volunteered to pray. And although the host allowed it, at the end of the prayer he then felt like he had to pray again because surely, you know, Sarah’s prayer just wasn’t adequate. And we understood. You know, we weren’t offended, but one thing I want to share about church is a time when we were there in our small group study and I asked for someone who’d volunteer in prayer and it was a room full of adults and Sarah. And out of all the adults no one volunteered, at least not very quickly. I don’t know what the reason was, they needed more coffee, maybe they were afraid, they were intimidated—they didn’t know if their prayer was good enough. And Crystal, it was so funny because all of a sudden I saw my daughter’s face and I could tell she could not stand the silence any more. And she just hopped out of her chair; she walked to the front of that small group and she started praying. And this is kind of what it sounded like: Dear God (and then a whole slew of unintelligible words and at the very end (and passionate) “Amen.” And I looked around that little small group and everyone was so blessed. And one gentleman specifically, tears rolling down his checks, he said I’ve never heard a more beautiful prayer. And it just blessed my mother’s heart so much because not only was she included (right?) in the body of Christ, but the value of what she could bring to all the other believers was really seen through those heavenly eyes.

CRYSTAL: What a beautiful testimony. Thank you so much for sharing that Shauna.

JONI: Well I’m glad we could cup our ears and listen to that podcast featuring Shauna Amick given that it’s ‘World Down Syndrome Day’. I sure hope you enjoyed Shauna’s perspective as a mother. In fact, if you would like to hear more just go to to subscribe to our podcast. And while you’re on our radio page ask for Shauna’s booklet. Something you can give to a mother who might parent a child with Downs, or any disability. It’s all there for you at

By: Joni Eareckson Tada

© Joni and Friends

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Tomorrow is World Down Syndrome Day! That’s right, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada here with my friend and co-worker Shauna Amick, and we’re asking you to do something very fun and a little bit unusual in order to celebrate and support our friends with Down syndrome, aren’t we Shauna. SHAUNA: That’s right, Joni! Every March 21st it’s World Down Syndrome Day and we encourage people to wear brightly colored socks, mismatched socks, crazy looking pattern socks. JONI: Where does this idea come from? SHAUNA: Well, you know that the way this whole idea came up in the first place was that the folks from World Down Syndrome Day, they were looking at striped socks and they were holding them together in such a way that they actually looked like chromosome. JONI: Oh, my goodness! SHAUNA: And so when you put those pairs of socks together they were looking like the chromosomes and of course Down syndrome is caused by that one extra chromosome so they just made the connection between socks and that trisomy 21chromosome. JONI: I love it! What a great way to draw attention to Down syndrome. SHAUNA: That’s right. That’s right. And now our socks not only can draw attention to Down syndrome, but also to the gospel. JONI: It’s amazing! SHAUNA: When people ask about our socks it’s our opportunity to talk about the uniqueness of people with Down syndrome and then even to continue that conversation just the need to invite people with Down syndrome into our schools, our churches, our neighborhoods; really everywhere. So I know I’ll be wearing my silly socks to raise awareness and highlight the value and beauty of all people with Down syndrome and believe it or not – to also showcase one of my favorite Scriptures. JONI: And what’s that? SHAUNA: Well, Romans 10 verses 13 to 15 reminds us that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. JONI: Oh, I love that one. SHAUNA: And it goes on to say: But how can they call on Him unless they believe in Him, and how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him; how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That’s why the Scriptures say, how beautiful are the feet of the messengers who bring good news! JONI: Okay, now I get the connection between socks and the beautiful feet of people who bring good news. Very clever, Shauna. SHAUNA: Well, you know when we’re wearing those brightly colored socks, or those even mismatched socks, or how about only one sock. JONI: Extra long socks? SHAUNA: Yes, exactly! We’re gonna to attract attention, aren’t we? And people are going to start talking. They’ll be talking about Down syndrome, for sure, but also talking about Jesus and how He sees people with Down syndrome! So our fun socks then, well, they open the door to talk about the Gospel. And in that way, to anyone who’s rockin’ their crazy socks on World Down Syndrome Day, I say “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” JONI: Well, you know what? I think crazy colored socks, mismatched socks that seems to be the rage of the day anyway. So friend show off your crazy socks this World Down Syndrome Day – in support of people with Down syndrome and to tell everyone about Jesus. How about takin’a photo of you and your friends rocking your socks, (I like that, don’t you Shauna?), tagging Joni and Friends on your Facebook and Instagram posts; how about doin’ that? And we can’t wait to see your pictures and hear your stories of how the Lord used your silly socks to start a conversation about Jesus. So visit the Joni and Friends Facebook page to share today’s program. And while you’re at it, remember to visit and download Shauna’s story about her beautiful daughter Sarah, who has Downs. That booklet is called what, Shauna? SHAUNA: It’s called From Fear to Hope, and I’m excited for everyone to read it because I hope it encourages not only parents of children with Down syndrome, but parents of children with any disability. JONI: Okay, friends, so there you have it, be inspired, and get out your mismatched, colorful socks and rock ‘em for World Down Syndrome Day! Can’t wait to see your socks, Shauna. Thanks for listening today on Joni and Friends. By: Joni Eareckson Tada © Joni and Friends
March 20, 2019
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and Spring is right around the corner. And I know you’re looking forward to a change of seasons and so is my friend Shauna Amick. Shauna is the mother of a child with disabilities. Shauna, you must love Spring, a chance for the kids to get out of the house. SHAUNA: Oh, I sure do Joni, and get rid of the cabin fever and just love Spring and everything it represents – just new beginnings, new hope, new life. And as Sarah’s mother, with Down syndrome, her heart defect, and the behavioral challenges that comes with her disability, they just keep me running to Jesus and looking out for those new Spring-like perspectives. So Spring, it makes me think of the playground, and getting my spunky little girl out of the house more often and the playground actually makes me think of the love and compassion that Sarah receives from her big brother, Gideon. JONI: Okay, wait a minute. I can understand that Spring makes you think about going to the playground, but what does Gideon, a teenager, how does he fit in on the playground of all places? SHAUNA: Well, I am proud to say that Gideon embraces Sarah for who she is with a great deal of compassion. Last Spring when we all went to the playground together Gideon and I were sitting on the bench, we were just watching Sarah do her thing out on the playground, and as she made her way through the slides and the swings, just we were relaxing and enjoying the day. Well, Sarah, she started running toward a group of other kids who were there, and of course she’s running with her awkward gait and her unique style, she just wanted to engage with the other kids on the playground, but they didn’t want anything to do with her. JONI: Oh, my goodness. SHAUNA: And while they didn’t say anything hurtful, they did, they turned their backs on her and they just ran in the other direction. It was another painful reminder that living with disability can be very lonely. JONI: Well, you sittin’ there on the playground park bench lookin’ at that scene it must have broken your heart. SHAUNA: Oh, it sure did, Joni. But you know what? Before I could even do anything about it, Gideon, he stepped in, just like the Lone Ranger or Superman. He just walked right up to his little sister; he put his arm around her. He physically turned her body in the other direction and he said, “Hey, Sarah, can I push you on the swings?” Well, Sarah forgot all about those other kids and she just took off running to the swing set. And when it was time to leave the playground and head for home, Sarah put her arms around her big brother and she said, “I love you Gideon.” JONI: Wow! SHAUNA: It was the longest and clearest sentence that my little girl had ever said in her 13 years. JONI: Stop. Wait a minute. What did that do for your heart? SHAUNA: Oh, my goodness. Well, my broken heart just turned into a heart that was overflowing with joy. Sarah, in her own way, she understood the poignancy of that whole situation: the rejection of the other kids, the compassion of her big brother; the joy of being part of a family. And you know I felt like I was watching a living example of Romans 12:10 right before my eyes. JONI: Which says? SHAUNA: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” JONI: What did Gideon have to say about that whole scene? SHAUNA: What he told me is that no matter what kind of difficulties we go through as a family affected by disabilities or what kind of challenges he and Sarah go through as siblings, ‘cause let’s face it, they still have their challenges, he always wants her to know he loves her. JONI: Well, that is a demonstration of true love what happened there on the playground. And friend, that’s the kind of love Jesus has for you. No matter what kind of difficulties you’re going through, right now Jesus sees you, He loves you, He is interceding on your behalf not only in the Springtime, but at all times. And given that it’s ‘World Down Syndrome Day’ this coming Thursday, contact would you, and ask for Shauna’s booklet called “From Fear to Hope”. Finally, when you are on my radio page check out a great photo and Gideon and Sarah and find a way to share your own brotherly or sisterly love with someone else in need today. Right, Shauna? Shauna: Amen By: Joni Eareckson Tada © Joni and Friends
March 19, 2019
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with an interesting observation. Because every expectant parent hopes that their child will grow up to become a happy person. We dream of children who will do well in school and eventually become lawyers, doctors, responsible citizens in society, children who will join Little League or play tennis. We want kids to eventually marry and have sons and daughters of their own. And for many (and I would venture to say, for most people), the idea of a happy child also means a healthy child. But think about it: it’s pretty common to ask an expectant mother or father if, let’s say they want a boy or a girl. And the answer is usually, almost always, “You know, we don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl, as long as our baby is healthy.” Of course, any parent wants a healthy baby. No loving parent wants their child to live a life of suffering; no one wants their child to bear a disability. But consider it, stop for a moment – what are we really saying? It’s like, “I’ll take the child; I don’t care about the gender or his eye color or the shape of his nose, so long as he’s healthy, that’s all that matters to me.”Listen to that line one more time: “That’s all that matters to me. I just want my child to be healthy.” What are we actually saying? Well, the underlying tone reflects what society often tells us about disabilities; that an abnormal condition, no matter how slight, is something to be feared and avoided at all costs. It’s something that creates undue hardship and, ultimately, makes the child feel like a burden. Now that is not our intention, or even how we would express it, but words matter. And the Bible is quick to remind us of it. Proverbs 18 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” I realize that most people would push back; they’d argue with me and they’d say, “Look, Joni, it’s only meant as a figure of speech.” as though words do not actually matter. But listen to this: approximately 9 out of 10 unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted, all because a parent did not want an “unhealthy” child. So when we say that “all that matters to me is that my baby will be healthy,” those words convey a fear that takes God and His sovereignty out of the equation. We gotta remember that every child is a gift from God; every child bears His image. So rather than say, “All that matters to me is my child is healthy,” perhaps it’s better to say, “Of course, we pray that our child will be healthy, but if God has other plans, we will accept that and love our baby all the same.” Maybe you’re a parent who has received the news that your child may well have Down syndrome. Or perhaps a friend is heartbroken that their newborn has a disability. If that child is unhealthy, did God make a mistake? And did God not make a mistake, if that newborn has a clean bill of health? Please remember that God formed, He knit together those chromosomes long before that baby was born. This Thursday is World Down Syndrome Day and I’d love you to learn that line: “Yes, we pray our child will be healthy; but if God has other plans, we will accept that and love our baby all the same.” It’s a good line! For more insight, visit today and pick up your copy of Shauna Amick’s booklet called From Fear to Hope. Shauna is the mother of a teenager with Down syndrome and she can help you love your baby with Down syndrome too. And if you can’t email us, then just write us at Joni and Friends, Post Office Box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376 and we will rush off to you right away Shauna’s booklet From Fear to Hope. And one more thing, we at Joni and Friends would love to pray for you and your troubles, so share with us your prayer need today at Again that’s By: Joni Eareckson Tada © Joni and Friends
March 18, 2019
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and you’re listening to "Joni and Friends". And hey, I'm pretty excited that our Wheels for the World team right now is down in El Salvador delivering hundreds of wheelchairs, Bibles, giving the Gospel, copies of the Joni book in Spanish. Yikes! And of all the disabled people our team is meeting this week in El Salvador, there will be lots and lots of kids with disabilities, most of them needing pediatric wheelchairs. Yep, it’s those child-sized wheelchairs that are in such great demand. And each pediatric wheelchair has a story; each one is so special. Take the time we collected a unique little wheelchair during one of our collection drives down in Texas. During the drive, our Chair Corps volunteer (that’s what we call the wonderful folks who collect the used wheelchairs for us to restore), well anyway, this Chair Corps rep drove out to pick up a very special wheelchair. Because a 6-year-old disabled child named Courtney had recently passed away. And as her mom and dad had been cleaning out her things, they decided that they wanted to give Courtney’s little wheelchair to Wheels for the World. Our Chair Corps rep met the parents and learned about Courtney’s story. But as he started to take the chair and began loading it in the truck to take it back to the collection site, Courtney’s twin brother, 6-year-old Tyler, came rushing to the front door, crying, “Please don’t take that wheelchair,” he called. “That’s where Courtney sat.” To little Tyler, that wheelchair was his last connection with his twin sister. And he could not bear to part with it that is until after his mom and dad comforted him and told him where the chair was going. Well, when I heard about Tyler and pictured him not wanting to let go of his sister’s wheelchair, it just about broke my heart. I had to write this little boy. And the next day I did, and this is what I put in my letter. I said: “Dear Tyler, you don’t know me, but my friend picked up Courtney’s wheelchair for our Wheels for the World outreach. And oh, how you must miss your sister, and my heart got very sad when I heard that you did not want to give up Courtney’s chair. But you know what, Tyler? I bet Courtney (because she’s in Heaven) is very happy to know that her wheelchair is going to find a new home. The wheelchair that Courtney sat in for so long will now be able to help some other little girl or a boy in a faraway country, a child who has a disability just like your sister’s. When that child in a poor country far away receives Courtney’s little wheelchair, wow! – they are going to know that Jesus is really looking out for them (just like He’s looking out for Courtney in heaven and He’s looking out for you, too). So Tyler, please tell your mommy and daddy how glad I am that your whole family is helping us give God’s love to kids with disabilities all over the world. We love you, Tyler! Your friend, Joni.” You know stories like Tyler’s and Courtney’s, they happen all the time when we collect wheelchairs. And as I said, we need more wheelchairs like Courtney’s. More than ever before because Wheels for the World is growing, we’re expanding. So would you please consider volunteering with us to serve as a Chair Corps volunteer? You’d be helping so many kids with disabilities around the world as you collect used wheelchairs like Courtney’s. If you’d like to serve with us, just go to and watch a really great video that I posted all about collecting wheelchairs, and what it looks like. There’s also a place where you can sign up or simply get more information. So, get all your questions answered. Come and volunteer with us by collecting used but serviceable wheelchairs for children just like Courtney overseas in developing nations! Visit us at Thanks for listening today on Joni and Friends. By: Joni Eareckson Tada © Joni and Friends
March 15, 2019
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a story from Matthew Chapter 15. And it’s the story of the Canaanite woman who came to Jesus, begging him to heal her daughter who was demon- possessed. She’d heard that Jesus could do miraculous works; her friends had seen the Lord do remarkable things. And being the mother of a little girl in misery? She was begging for help from Jesus. And how did the Lord respond to her? Well, it says in verse 23, “Jesus answered her not a word.” Can you imagine how that Canaanite woman felt? Here she was longing for Jesus to answer her cry, help her daughter, but she only got silence. Can you picture yourself in that situation? You’re longing for relief from some heartbreaking blow; you go to God for help, but only silence and a sense of mystery meet you. “He answered her not a word.” it says. Now it is Charles Spurgeon who gives special insight into this story, and I want to pass it on to you. Because if you read the entire account, Jesus isn’t really showing His disapproval, He is showing His desire to bless this special woman because of her love and her persistent trust. Because when she continues to prod Him again and again, asking for help, it’s clear that He is testing her. Pushing her, a bit. For He replies to her, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” Hmm, what’s she going to say to that? Well, curiously, she does not turn away. Any other person would have done so, perhaps in anger or disappointment. But the Canaanite woman still tries to engage Jesus; she persists and responds: “Yes, Lord, it is, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” And that is when Jesus poured out His blessing on this precious woman. Because of her faith; because she was persistent and she hung on and did not become deterred, because of her devotion to her child and her fervor in pursuing Jesus, He answered her prayer. And her daughter was healed. Yes, God had every intention of blessing that Canaanite woman and her daughter. But He did it in such a mysterious way that, perhaps, only she in the end understood. Because it’s true, isn’t it; that sometimes God will bend over one of His children with smiles and full of love, speaking tender words, showing infinite affection. However, on another child, He might only give a look of loving approval. And then still, on another child, He might pass them by without stopping for a word. God loves all three of those children, but He treats each one differently because of their varied and different stages of spiritual maturity. And the same is true for us. Some Christians have a fragile faith that requires a different touch from the Lord – perhaps a gentler, kinder touch. God knows their faith will fail if He deals too harshly with them. Other Christians have a stronger faith and God knows they will trust Him however things go and whatever people do, it doesn’t matter. But finally, there are some Christians that God, well… He even seems to neglect them and not notice them. For those, God appears to be dealing with them harshly. But He has a reason, a purpose. For God knows those are the Christians who are not dismayed by circumstances, nor are they dissuaded if the Spirit seems absent. God knows they will trust Him even when their natural inclinations would insist otherwise. And bless their hearts, these are the believers that God, I think, is training for the highest and the holiest service. The lesson here? Will you be like the Canaanite woman? Will you continue to pursue Christ, prod and push no matter what? For it may well be that He is training you for His high and holy service. By: Joni Eareckson Tada © Joni and Friends
March 14, 2019
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and isn’t it amazing how God will lead us? Like the way He’s led Bernie Punte all these years. Now Bernie was a Christian, but he really wasn’t involved in outreach or ministry. One day, though, he was listening to Christian radio (just like you are) and he happened to come across "Joni and Friends", and when Bernie heard about our outreach to people with disabilities around the world, he gave a donation (bless his heart). And for that, he received a note of thanks and a copy of my book, Joni (which he read). The Joni book really inspired him and got him to thinking and he wondered, "Well, wow! What have I done in my life to serve others?" So, right there, he sensed God was leading him, but to what? Where was he to serve? Well, when he got connected to our ministry, he also learned about ‘Wheels for the World’ and that really got him energized. He decided to travel with us overseas as a wheelchair mechanic on a Wheels team. For Bernie, serving on the Wheels team was wonderful. It was a chance to make a real impact on the lives of needy, disabled people; giving them not only wheelchairs but Bibles and the message of salvation. When we sensed his enthusiasm, we decided to ask if he would also like to collect wheelchairs for us, but he politely declined as he had a full-time job and could not imagine having the hours to do that as well. Little did he know that God had different plans. Because for the next two days, all Bernie could think about was collecting wheelchairs! He felt strongly that God was leading him to give it a try. And so, he called Joni and Friends back up and he signed up to be a Chair Corps volunteer. And when he did that, he felt such peace. God had led him from one thing to the next, and now, he knew that his service in the kingdom would be to collect wheelchairs to be restored so that disabled people, who have nothing, could now have freedom to move about. And now? For fourteen years, this man has been gladly collecting wheelchairs in the Baltimore area and beyond. Bernie’s a really friendly guy and he’s made great friends with all sorts of leaders and community organizations and businesses. He’s building relationships; he’s sharing seeds of the Gospel. God has given him such favor, that he’s forged friendships with wheelchair donors who sometimes give as many as 60 wheelchairs at a time. As his success grew, it became necessary for Bernie to acquire a permanent storage space for all these wheelchairs. And through the help of some friends, he was able to buy a trailer that can store up to about 120 wheelchairs at a time. I mean, this guy’s collected thousands of wheelchairs, and he also continues to travel every year as a mechanic with Wheels for the World. Serving on outreaches and fitting refurbished wheelchairs to people moves Bernie's heart. And it energizes him to keep collecting wheelchairs because every year he sees new people whose lives are being changed by the gift of mobility and hope in Jesus. God has led him all this way… so that he could be used of the Lord to bring people to Christ in a most unusual way. Look, friend, God might be asking you to serve and maybe serve as a Chair Corps volunteer like Bernie. If so, he’d say: "Give it a try.” And I would say the same. I’ve posted a video today on what it looks like to actually collect wheelchairs—so for more info on how you can have a ministry, a ministry that changes people’s lives, a ministry like Bernie’s, contact today. And as Hebrews 13 says, God will equip you with all you need for doing His will. That’s a promise from the Word of God to you. Visit my radio page today at and while you are there be sure to share a prayer request. When you have a chance today, drop by By: Joni Eareckson Tada © Joni and Friends
March 13, 2019
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with an uneasy story… You see, there's a new mall in town and my friend and I went to visit it last weekend. I could not believe how many lingerie stores there are now—even Chico's has expanded into lingerie. It seems to be all the rage, but I wheeled right past those shops. I did not even slow down, did not even look at the mannequins, didn't even glance in, because I know from years of experience in this wheelchair I gotta steer clear of places like, like Victoria's Secret. Now, now I don't have anything against lacey, intimate apparel, it's just that because of my quadriplegia, that stuff just isn’t “me.” And besides I don't want to set before my eyes those cute little lacey, frilly things that remind me of what I've lost, what is not mine. I mean, I'm not standing on my feet with a slim, trim figure—again, that’s not me. So, I don't want to go down a road, or into a store in the mall, which will only stir up discontent; that’s the key. I don't want to look at a mannequin wearing something skimpy and start comparing my paralyzed body with someone standing up (even if that someone is a plaster of Paris mannequin in the window of a store). "Turn my eyes away from worthless things..." That advice is found in Psalm 119, and boy, is it good counsel these days. ‘Cause you know how it is in our culture, right? When coming up out of depression, discouragement, or the despairing news of some medical condition, or other painful chronic problem, we "do our souls a favor" when we stay focused on things that are beneficial to our spiritual health, not a detriment. It's one reason I don't even flip through lingerie catalogs when they come to my house. Perhaps one of the most challenging yet rewarding roads to spiritual health is the "discipline" of single-minded satisfaction on what has come from God's hand. And the best way to safeguard your contentment in Christ is to ask the Holy Spirit to whisper Psalm 119 into your ear every now and then, "Turn my eyes away from worthless things." Worthless things are the kind that only feed self-pity or self-centeredness. Worthless things carry your mind off into daydreams. Worthless things have no redeemable value, no eternal worth. And remember, the psalmist is asking God: he says, Lord, you, you’re the one, please turn away my eyes, tell me when something is worthless, that is, something that's not worth looking at or pondering or contemplating. And so, friend, I challenge you to do it today. I'm asking you to join me in disciplining your eyes and your mind—I can think of the worthless things you sometimes see at a shopping mall, or flipping through a magazine. The worthless things that will pop up those ads on your computer, or maybe even the worthless things on a dessert tray, or how about cruising the channels on your television late at night?Yikes! If you want to remain content in Christ and the lot in life with which He's blessed you, then turn your eyes away from everything, everything that's worthless. And instead, turn your eyes toward Jesus who, by the way, the next time, will have you happily convinced that the thing you wanted to look at anyway wasn't worth looking at. Right? Right! And I would like to hear your opinion on this. I'm posting this program on my Facebook page today, so let me hear from you on a post. What are the worthless things that you’d like to stop looking at? Let us know and we will be praying for you. By the way, I would love to hear what you are praying about or a favorite Bible verse that you are memorizing. Tell me about it. Just go to my radio page today at or you can always write me at Joni and Friends, Post Office box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376. If the Lord has answered some prayer of yours today, guess what? Stop right after we are done here and tell Him “Thanks”. By: Joni Eareckson Tada © Joni and Friends
March 12, 2019
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?" 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 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 Again, that’s 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
March 11, 2019
I've got a 4” scar on my neck and I wouldn't change it for anything. Hi! Welcome to Joni and Friends and I'm Joni Eareckson Tada. And, yes, even though decades have passed since I broke my neck, you can still see that scar. I should tell you though it didn't happen when I dove in the water. I got this scar when the surgeons opened up the front of my neck in order to fuse the interior of the two cervical vertebrae that I had broken. For many months, almost a year after that surgery, I tried so hard to cover up that 4” ugly red gash in the front of my neck. I tried rubbing vitamin E on it, hoping that it would go away. It was too big to mask with makeup and so, for a while, I wore nothing but turtleneck sweaters ... even in the summer; that’s how embarrassed I used to be about this scar. Well, over time, the red color began to disappear and, I guess, all that Vitamin E on it even made it look smooth. And over more time, my attitude about that scar changed as well. But something else had changed – I had been reading God's Word, especially the parts about His plan and purpose in the midst of our sufferings. And that is what made all the difference. My perspective on scars and the suffering that they represent began to change when I became convinced that God was going to do something wonderful and powerful through that broken neck. And when I began to see that wonderful thing God was doing… (you know, seeing how my wheelchair opened doors for giving the Gospel) well, I tell you that scar was the symbol of my broken neck and it became something in which I could boast. I was able to boast in my affliction, boast in the scar, just as the Bible was telling me to do… and that scar on my neck showed that I belonged to Jesus in a very unique, unusual and special way. It was my—well for lack of a better word – it was my initiation mark into the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings. You know, I thought about this not long ago when I read the Apostle Paul’s words in Galatians Chapter 6, verse 17. He says there, “For I bear on my body the scars that show that I belong to Jesus.” Wow! Think about that. Just like the apostle, that gash on my neck is God's mark of ownership on me. And, listen, even the Lord carries those marks for Isaiah chapter 49 tells us that “He has engraved us on the palm of His hand.” You know, I like to imagine that when God says He engraved us on the palms of His hands that that engraving, that scar is the very wound from the nails that were driven through His hands. He looks at those nail prints and thinks of us. Wow! So, friend, what is God's mark of ownership on you? Maybe it is a scar, or a pair of crutches, a hearing aid or a back brace or knee brace. Well, if that physical problem has forced you to lean harder on Jesus, it means something. It’s a tangible reminder of your need of God. So think, your body has been marred so that it displays God's ownership of your life. Everybody can see you belong to Him. So, whatever that scar or physical reminder is, take a minute to boast in it, would you … to tell others, as well as the unseen world of demons and angels looking on, that that scar that you used to be embarrassed about keeps you depending on Jesus and you belong to Him and not to the world ... and as you do boast, remember that the Lord bears His own physical reminder that you belong to Him, as well … and because you’re engraved right in the palm of His hand. Wow! What a scar that is! Contact us at That’s a different link to my radio page than you usually hear me say, but it’s a lot easier: God bless you today and thanks for listening to Joni and Friends. © Joni and Friends
March 8, 2019
Hi, I’m Joni here to tell you about my friend, the x-ray machine. I better explain that. Uh, not many people would say a machine was their friend, but the large and lumbering 3D-Conformal Radiation Machine has been our fiercest ally in my battle against cancer. I even posted today on a photo of me and Ken standing in front of this huge x-ray machine. So, click on my radio page, give it a look and laugh with us, okay?! And you should know we’ve even named this machine. I call it Jael, that’s spelled J,a,e,l., and if you know your Old Testament, you might recognize that name and the spelling. Jael was the heroine in the book of Judges who ruthlessly killed Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite armies; she drove a stake through his head and nailed him to the ground, all to help rescue Israel from her enemies. So, it wasn’t Barak or even Deborah who God's people lauded that fateful day – no, it was a Bedouin woman who simply seized the opportunity to act on behalf of the people of God. So now do you see why I call this big x-ray machine Jael, the woman who drove that stake through the temple of a man, killing him instantly? Okay, alright, I know, the story sounds awful, but not when applied to a machine that ruthlessly obliterates enemy-cancer cells :-). Yep, Jael is our friend. And like the Jael of the Bible, this machine has got great aim. So, take a look at that fun photo on and take a moment to praise God for modern technology, like this radiation machine, something that He uses to kill cancer. And I share all this today because last week was my final session of radiation. I went through 35 sessions under that big machine, and during each treatment when they aimed those x-rays on my chest wall, I thanked God for bringing every one of His resources to bear against this dreaded disease. They say in that area that’s been radiated, there’s only a 2-5% chance of it reoccurring in that part that’s been x-rayed. So…what about any renegade cancer cells that may have migrated beyond the treated area of my chest wall? Well, for the rest of my life, I am on a drug that inhibits estrogen, as well as fast-growing cells. That drug is intended to destroy any maverick little cancer cells floating around elsewhere. And you know what? I'm excited. I mean, come on, I'm still sitting up, and I’m out and about in my wheelchair and, well…I’m talking to you and am serving the Lord and doing work with Joni and Friends. So, man, I couldn’t be happier -- whether or not all this treatment eradicates all the cancer; whether or not it comes back, right now is not my worry. I'm not concerned for the future. I can take great confidence that Ken and I have done everything we could possibly do, and so we trust God for the months and years to come. Like another hero in the Old Testament, the prophet Samuel, I can say “thus far the Lord has helped us, and He will continue to help us.” The future is His. And worry fades away when we are convinced that God can be trusted with the future. So, thank you for praying for me and my husband Ken as we battled this cancer. We have felt so surrounded, so supported in prayer (as though we were hydroplaning on top of everyone’s intercessions). And hey, don’t forget to visit today and enjoy this really fun photo of Ken and me in front of that big radiation machine…our friend Jael (who’s really, really good at killing the enemy). © Joni and Friends
March 7, 2019
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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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