Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope

Joni Eareckson Tada

Shauna’s Podcast

March 21, 2019
00:00 4:00

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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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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