Joni Eareckson Tada

 

KIM LAWTON, correspondent: Joni Eareckson Tada is a woman of many talents. She’s a bestselling author, an acclaimed artist, and an internationally known advocate for people with disabilities. Paralyzed for more than 40 years, Tada is one of the longest living quadriplegics on record. She endures chronic pain, and just a few months ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Tada says it’s her faith that keeps her going.

JONI EARECKSON TADA: Boy, when Jesus said in this world you will have trouble, he wasn’t kidding. In this world there will be trouble. Perhaps the gift of this cancer and pain and quadriplegia is that it forces me to recognize my desperate, desperate need of God, and that is a good thing.

LAWTON: Tada was an active, athletic teenager. Then, at the age of 17, she broke her neck in a diving accident in the Chesapeake Bay. Her spinal chord was severed, and she became paralyzed from the shoulders down. She has limited arm motion but can’t use her hands or her legs. Immediately after the accident, she was angry and depressed and begged friends to help her commit suicide. Ultimately, she says she found peace when she committed her life to God.

EARECKSON TADA: God is that big, and he’s that good, and his grace is that sufficient.

post03-joniLAWTON: Tada wanted to help others with disabilities and in 1979 began a ministry called Joni and Friends, offering support to disabled people and their families.

EARECKSON TADA: Disabilities are on the rise. Autism, Alzheimer’s—there’s not a cul-de-sac in America that’s not impacted somehow with a family who has a child or an elderly parent with a disability.

LAWTON: Because of her efforts, Tada was appointed to the National Council on Disability. She worked for passage of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, which sought to make America more accessible. But she feels more is still needed.

EARECKSON TADA: You can provide for the curb cuts, provide for the elevators and the ramps and the Braille and the TTY machines, but it’s going to require a change of heart in our society.

LAWTON: Joni and Friends provides resources to help local churches reach out to people with special needs and their families. The goal is to help disabled people find dignity and purpose in their lives. The ministry holds family retreats around the country and has begun special sessions called “Wounded Warrior Getaways” for armed service members injured in combat and their families.

post04-joniJoni’s husband, Ken, knows all too well the toll disabilities can take on a family. He and Joni married in 1982 and have become mentors for other couples living with disabilities. Now retired from teaching school, Ken helps Joni with the international component of their ministry, called Wheels for the World, which provides wheelchairs and walkers to disabled people in poor countries.

KEN TADA: To give the gift of mobility to someone who has never walked before and to watch how it not only changes that person’s life, but the whole family—that’s been huge.

LAWTON: In one ministry project, prisoners at a California penitentiary make special pediatric wheelchairs that Joni and Friends distribute around the world.

Tada herself has become a living testimony that a disability doesn’t have to be, in her words, “the end of the world.” She has told her personal story countless times in speaking engagements and through the more than 35 books that she has written, including her newest one, A Place of Healing. Her autobiography called Joni has been translated into more than 20 languages, and in 1980 Billy Graham’s Worldwide Pictures turned it into a feature film.

post05-joniDespite the wheelchair—in fact, because of it—Tada has been all over the world, and she’s learned how to compensate for the paralysis. Tada taught herself how to draw and paint using her mouth. Music and art, she says, give her a vibrant creative and spiritual outlet.

EARECKSON TADA: Yeah, I do many things—mostly family retreats, working at Joni and Friends for others, but boy, my artwork and my music is something that comforts my own soul, that encourages my own soul. That’s a blessing. Since I’m dealing with more pain I work more now with pencil rather than brushes. Brushes are just a little too heavy. Pencils are lighter.

LAWTON: Tada is open about her struggles. Just getting out of bed in the morning is a two-hour ordeal. A series of friends come in and help get her ready for the day.

EARECKSON TADA: And there are many days, honestly, when I can hear my girlfriends come into the front door, and they’re running water for coffee in the kitchen. I know they’re going to be in my bedroom in a few minutes with a happy hello, and I just don’t have the strength to welcome them, and so while they’re still in the kitchen I’m praying oh, God, I have no strength for this day, but you do.

post09-joniLAWTON: Tada talks often about the reality of suffering—a difficult message in what she calls America’s culture of comfort.

EARECKSON TADA: We want to erase suffering out of the dictionary. We want to eradicate it, avoid it, give it ibuprofen, institutionalize is, divorce it, surgically exorcise it, do anything but live with it.

LAWTON: Even after all these years in the wheelchair, she says some fellow evangelicals still tell her if she had more faith God would heal her.

EARECKSON TADA: But sometimes healing doesn’t come, and you’ve got to live with it, and when you do you really do learn who you are. God uses suffering. He lobs it like a hand grenade and blows to smithereens these notions we have about our self and who we think we are. Blows it to smithereens until we are left raw, naked, and we have to let suffering do its work.

LAWTON: These days it seems like there is a lot of that work. After breast cancer surgery, Tada is undergoing chemotherapy, which has siphoned off much of her trademark vitality.

EARECKSON TADA: It is very hard to go on. I mean privately I’ve wondered, gee, Lord, is this cancer my ticket to heaven? Because I sure am tired of sitting in a wheelchair, and my body is aching, and I’m so weary. Could this be my ticket to heaven?

post08-joniLAWTON: Her motivation for persevering, she says, is all the people she’s able to help.

EARECKSON TADA: I need a reason to get up in the morning, and my big reason is to help other families like mine, other people with disabilities, other special needs moms and dads, to encourage them and strengthen them, to help them want to face life head on.

LAWTON: She says she won’t allow herself to spiral into doubt and despair.

EARECKSON TADA: I’m not going to go there. I’m not going to go there. I went down that dark, grim path when I was a teenager and first broke my neck and wanted my girlfriends to bring in razors to slit my wrists or their mother’s sleeping pills or whatever. I’m not going to go down that path again. It’s too horrible.

LAWTON: Ken Tada says it’s been hard watching his best friend go through so much.

TADA: I’ve often had several guy friends of mine who I’ve said, you know, if I ever go to war I’d want those guys in my foxhole. The first person I’d want in my foxhole is my wife.

LAWTON: He says the cancer has brought them closer to each other and to God.

EARECKSON TADA (singing): “I surrender all, I surrender all.”

TADA: Yeah, we’re depressed. If we didn’t have God to turn to, I don’t know. I mean, I certainly understand some of the other alternatives, but boy, I tell you, you know, you just kind of grab on with both hands and just hold on as tight as you can, because that’s the only hope.

LAWTON: I asked her a question she’s been asked over and over again: How can you just keep believing in a God that would let all that happen?

EARECKSON TADA: I pray a lot, and I sing a lot. I sing because I have to sing. There’s something good about talking to yourself, reminding yourself of things you believed in the light but you’re so quick to doubt in the darkness. And I’ve seen too much of the light to not choose the Lord.

LAWTON: I’m Kim Lawton in Agoura Hills, California.

  • Audrey H.

    Thank-you for spotlighting this beautiful woman of faith. I’ve been a fan for years and was so saddened to hear about the cancer. Her courage and strength are so inspiring. I was in tears watching.

  • Geneva

    Hi Joni,

    As usual, you are an amazing woman and Ken, a solid rock!! The most surprising thing about this article is the fact
    that there are those that would even visit the thought of your not having enough FAITH. !! How dare them.

    Love you lots,
    Geneva

  • Margo

    Joni radiates beauty and strength that only God can give. She is such an inspiration! Thanks for sharing this beautiful story.

  • Joni

    When I think of Joni goes through and what I have to go through makes me fill like I can keep my determination to keep going with having Polio for most of my life. She is an inspiration for all that know her.

  • Monika

    Hi Joni,

    God bless you! You are just an amazing woman and your husband is awesome.God loves you and it shows!
    I have been so blessed watching the interview.Actually I have just come back home after a pretty bad day,I thought.
    And this would be a bad night,I thought.My life is so hard,I thought.I know God has it all under control,but…
    And then I have turn the Internet on .
    I have realized how easy it is for me with just anything.God ,please forgive me for complaining and being plain lazy!
    I repent before you,Lord!
    Please, God,give Joni the strenght,take away the pain! Bless her and Ken,in Jesus name I pray.
    Amen.

  • Joy

    Thank you for airing this segment on such a humble courageous woman of God. Joni, thank you for being so transparent and real in the face of such struggles. You ARE helping so many of us out here.

  • Alma Robertson

    Thank you, Joni, for your obedience and faithfulness to God!! You are His shining example of how we should bear up under tribulation. I have suffered from ovarian cancer for 5 years and continue to praise God because I know that He is in control of everything. I also thank PBS Religion and Ethics department for this special broadcast.

  • Mary Miller

    I am really thankful for Jon’s testimony and encouragement – my husband has suffered w/ severe depression for much of the time during our past 40 years of marriage and for 10 + years w/ celiac disease/chronic fatigue syndrome – his health is so poor — God has held on to us – there have been so many times of discouragement and stress – and frustration for us — but God has held on to us…. I am so encouraged to keep singing “I have the joy, joy, joy in my heart …..” Joni’s tapes of “when God weeps” have helped me so much – I purchased them many years ago – and still play them over and over… I am also a geriatric RN – I just got home from work an hour or so ago — I have seen so much suffering ….. Yet I truly believe God is in control. An elderly resident died tonight …. God is in control… Psalms 139 tells us how much he cares …. I need God …. Thank you Joni
    Praise God

  • Marie

    Hi Joni,

    You are an amazing woman with so many gifts from God. I love your voice and your beautiful artwork. Mostly thank you for being such an cheerful example of suffering for Christ and accepting His will for your life. You’ve inspired me and many. The Lord is so pleased with you!!!!

  • Susan Treacy

    Thank you Joni for claiming the Lord’s power in your life! You are able to handle things because your God is so wonderful andHe needs to be shared with the world. Thank you for ‘surrendering all’!
    My prayers are with you.

    Love you in Christ
    Sue

  • Mama Bunny

    Hear the chords of … “Amazing Grace” … “I Surrender ALL” … “Breath On Me, Breath of God” … “Be Thou My Vision” … “The Church Is One Foundation” … “Up From the Grave He Arose” … and on and on and on … Joni, your life is reflected in these and hundreds more hymns of faith that your life story sings. To me and to those needing inspiration to just even carry on for one more day … thousands around this earth find God’s Grace for one more breath or one more ounce of strength to complete the assignments for the day and then going to sleep at night knowing that upon awakening … once again there is the HOPE that your life has demonstrated HOW to live another day. Blessings and thanks dear friend for your life lived for all to see and we all carry on with Father’s JOY and HOPE and LOVE … one more day!
    Love
    Mama Bunny

  • Ruth

    Thank you Joni, for sharing your faith and how you keep leaning on the Lord no matter what. “Our present sufferings will not be worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” Romans 8:18. Soon and very soon we are going to see the King, soon and very soon we are going to see the King…..hallelujah, hallujah…..we are going to see the King…..no more crying there we are going to see the King……..no more crying there we are going to see the King……..no more crying there we are going to see the King……hallelujah…..hallelujah we are going to see the King……love u….Ruth xoxo.

  • Marla

    Thank you for this wonderful story. I was feeling down with pain when I woke up this morning. This story helped me refocus. God is my “All in All.” I’ll keep singing His praises, too.

  • Eva Rissler

    What a beautiful testimony!! I was starting to feel depressed with my weakened body after a 2 week hospital and still not knowing my diagnosis or treatment. Joni and Ken, you have again, encouraged me and given me hope. Thank you and God Bless You Richly. May He give you abundant strength for each new day. Prayerfully Yours, Eva

  • Kathy

    Thank you for bringing this wonderful woman’s story to more of the public’s attention. She has been an inspiration to me for a long time. I have worked at her family retreats and the only time I got to actually meet her, I broke down and cried. I felt like I was meeting Jesus. She exudes His Love and her joy defines the pain she is always in. When I have struggles, I think of Joni and how small mine are compared to hers. She is my hero. Ken is too. He’s an awesome man of God and is full of His Love too!! I praise God for both of them!!

  • elizabeth delgrande

    Hear the triumphant chords ( like mama bunny says ) of the saints & angels praising ; when you say you “don’t allow your self to go down that road” of self- pity ; doubt & despair. This is “muscle” you have allowed to strengthen beyond measure.
    Determination to live another day . You inspire me … I kneel in awe of WHO He is in you .

    In His love,
    Elizabeth Delgrande

  • DON KILLGALLON

    Joni,

    I remember you, a radiant and bright intellectual beam of sunshine in my English 10 class in the early 60′s. I know you remember me–especially our vocabulary lessons. Well, as the song goes (“Getting to Know You” from the musical “The King and I”), “by your students you’ll be taught.”

    And I have been taught by you, taught superbly, Joni, a lesson more valuable than any: the persistence of faith in hardship, and the value of sacrificial suffering. That lesson you’ve taught to millions through your ministry and your writing and your art. One of the great blessings of my long teaching career was having you in my class–and ever after in my life.

  • Marlene

    Joni,

    You have always been an inspiration to me for thirty years!! When I was a young believer, I lost my husband in a tragic car accident. The Lord has often used you and your testimony of faith in Jesus Christ, music and art to encourage me to always trust Him…and He has proved faithful through it all…

    When I see a butterfly, I often think of you and God’s reminder of His presence!!!

    I have been remarried now for 22 years to a believer and I have needed to rely on the Lord for many, many trials and struggles…

    I have also faced breast cancer and had a breast removed last December…according to all the tests taken, the cancer was contained and hadn’t spread, praise be to God!

    I will be praying for you Joni and trusting that the Lord will totally heal you!!

    Love you my Sister in Christ!!

    Marlene from Ontario, Canada

  • Kari

    Joni,

    As children so many of us sang “This little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”
    You dear Joni, are such an example of Matt. 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

    What a bright light you are!

    Love in Christ
    Kari
    Prv 3:56

  • Patricia Hoon

    Joni and Ken are such an example of God-glorifying selflessness that it simply appalls me when I hear of other people insinuating she doesn’t have enough faith for healing. It takes gigantic faith in a Supreme, Loving, All-Powerful Creator to keep smiling in the midst of chronic pain and quadriplegia instead of blaming God and complaining. Why do some of us glorify God through much suffering? I don’t know, because He certainly is able to heal, but I trust Him and so do the Tadas. I believe our hope is in an eternity of living with and worshipping God, and I think the Tadas are going to have a huge mountain of rewards. Their faithfulness really encourages me in living with young-onset Parkinson’s Disease.

  • Clara Hinton

    Joni, I hope and pray that heaven is ten thousand times more wonderful than you ever imagined it! My prayers remain with you and Ken each day!

  • Dee Norling

    Dear Joni,
    Thank you for years and years of inspiration. Your recent words and uplifting testimony of faith in spite of severe pain, truly encourages many. You, your writings, art work, wheelchairs, music and continual help to others is so amazing. Thank you, precious servant of God. Truly He is using you in a mighty way!
    Love in Christ,
    Dee

  • Anne

    Thank you, Ms. Lawton, for doing this beautiful piece on this beautiful woman of God! We all admire her so much in the Christian community, and I am so glad you are educating everyone about her. You did an excellent job.

    And to dear Joni: I love you, and as a fellow believer and breast cancer survivor, I am praying regularly for you and Ken as you go through this difficult time. Keep clinging to the Vine. May Jesus Christ Be Praised!

    In His Love,

    Anne Royappa

  • Cindy in Georgia

    Joni,
    We began attending Joni Family Retreats over 13 years ago (I really do need to go count camp t-shirts!!), because of a friend who knew of your ministry and knew our family. Our oldest son Jesse has CP and has grown up loving you. He is 22 now and still his (and the rest of our family’s) favorite week of the summer is coming to Family Retreats. The friendships with other families that build stronger every year, the new precious friends we gain with our volunteers and Retreat leaders–our hearts are full. Our two boys believed in Jesus at Retreat. You have met them at retreat. in fact, a picture of you with Jesse is in his High School yearbook and on your website!! We are praying for you & Ken to stay strong in Him. Thank you for allowing us into your heart. May many see this segment and come to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” We love you guys.
    Cindy for Bruce, Jesse, Coulter & Brittanne

  • Joy

    What a powerful testimony for those who suffer…and for those who suffer with them!
    We praise God for His grace as demonstrated in the life of Joni and Ken.
    What a wonderful reminder that God will walk with each of us…through it ALL…if we let Him.
    Joni, you are in our prayers…

  • kristi

    Precious friends, Thank you for your transparency and honesty in the midst of this “trial”. I will be singing “I Surrender All” each time I start down that road of despair, knowing that God will give me the grace (as He has you) to endure what is in front of me.
    I am sure that Jim is waiting for us and cheering you on!! I love you guys!

  • Livia Seymour

    Joni and Ken,
    My heart breaks for you………………but your faith and love for God continue to shine through the darkness. My son has autoimmune hepatitis, ulcerative colitis and now celiac disease. He is 15. The diagnoses have come one at a time over three years. God is the strength of our life and our portion forever. Thank you for your testimony of truth and light. Jesus knows your suffering. We, like you, look forward to a time and a place when there will be no more suffering and no more pain….only joy! In the mean time we trust HIM!
    Livia Seymour

  • Lynda Venia

    You are my greatest mentor, my spiritual mother, greatest artist, singer and writer. We love you Joni and Ken with all of our hearts. God bless you! many hugs- Lynda Susan and Michael

  • Lisa Copen

    As a child I remember Joni’s story being very inspiring, but as an adult, diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 24, it was due to Joni’s encouragement I began my own ministry for people who live with chronic illness.

    Now God has seen it full circle as we are an affiliate organization of Joni and Friends.

    Joni is inspiring… no doubt about that. But one of her greatest strengths is to help and encourage other people, regardless of abilities or disabilities, that they are given a special gift by the Lord and that they should use it. She helps many, many people remember their dreams and passions in life. . . . and then gives them the tools to hel it happen, whether it be a smile, a wheelchair, a conversation or a prayer.

  • Martha Selisker

    Dear Joni and Ken,
    You are a great inspiration to me and so many other people, and my prayer is that The Lord continue giving you life and health so you can continue this wonderful ministry of yours.
    Question: Joni is there a place where I can get your songs? I had a one of your cassets, years ago, and I enjoy your worship songs so much:) Can you please let me know if , and where I can get it?:)

    In Jesus love, Martha:)

  • Jim Benkert

    Hi Joni. I doubt that you remember me, but I lived across the street from you in
    Woodlawn. Your dad sold the house to us with the rent going as a down payment. I wasn’t a Christian then
    (although we went to church) and I knew you were miserable but I didn’t know how to talk to you so I just ignored you when we were in your parent’s house. I’ll be 70 soon and the Lord has blessed me as I know He has you. I know your testimony has helped many people cope with various situations.
    God bless. Jim

  • Jay

    Joni, I first met you through your music.

    The concept behind “Heaven is Nearer to Me” has literally shaped my life. “He will say, ‘shall we dance’ and our endless romance will be worth all the tears I have cried” has given context and meaning and rubber-hits-the-road strength for me. It’s a real-life theology of the fact that these LIGHT and MOMENTARY afflictions are producing for us and ETERNAL WEIGHT of glory.

    I look forward to that day for you. I joy in that glory for you. And I depend on the same reality for myself and my wife as we live the life of suffering that has been apportioned for us.

    May God be with you and bless you and may he actually and truely invite you to dance with him on the other side of eternity.

    Jay

  • san tjoa

    Dear Joni,

    how can you say that your handicap and breast cancer are a gift from God? I myself am suffering for more
    than
    25 years from a mental illness and I have surrendered my life to God that He will work out everything for the
    good.Certainly suffering has also brought a lot of blessings,but I can’t consider it as a gift from God.But your
    suffering is an example how to deal with depressing thoughts in times of need.Maybe you are right.Suffering
    is Gods way to make us into the image of Jesus as we learn to obey God.The most valuable lesson I have
    learned is to look away from my own thoughts and follow Jesus as the Sheperd of my soul.

  • Judy

    Dear Joni,

    Your story and your example of how to live with a chronic illness has become such a road map on how turning your life over to God can and will maving living with dibilitating pain is a blessing in disqise. When I let God be in control of my life, You and your ministry have become such a part of my life from your daily devotionals, your radio programs and your books .

    Please keep on doing what you and your misinistry does so that you are able to bring joy and peace to those whose lives are touch by disability .

    I pray that you are finished with chemo-therapy and can join the sisterhood of breast cancer survivors. Because I know that God has a special purpose for you and the many people who work with you to bring joy and peace to so many people.

    God Bless you and your family, and may you be granted the gift of a long life.

    Love, Judy

  • Larry Prahst/Parkside Church

    Hello Joni, I had the privilege to share some time with you at a Shepherds Conf. at Grace about 100 years ago. Now, as the eldest Elder at Parkside, I can use some of your wisdom to council our members.

  • Lorraine Hansen

    I just have to say again how inspiring Joni and Ken are. Really enjoyed this interview with Joni. Joni is right; God is our source, our strength, our hope, our soon coming King. There really are no other alternatives for us for whatever we are going through but to turn to the Lord. “My helps comes from the Lord!” Looking to some one else or some thing else wont’ work (maybe for a short time) but not in the long end; not for the “eternal” end, definitely! I pray for Joni daily; I do pray for healing along with protection, grace, supernatural strength and peace and God’s continued leading in her and Ken’s lives, for joy and for supernatural blessings.

    Lorraine Hansen

  • pat quinn

    Joni and Ken,
    My heart breaks for you………………but your faith and love for God continue to shine through the darkness. My son has autoimmune hepatitis, ulcerative colitis and now celiac disease. He is 15. The diagnoses have come one at a time over three years. God is the strength of our life and our portion forever. Thank you for your testimony of truth and light. Jesus knows your suffering. We, like you, look forward to a time and a place when there will be no more suffering and no more pain….only joy! In the mean time we trust HIM!
    Livia Seymour

  • Margie Williams

    Joni,what a testemony to the grace of God you are to me and so many others!!! “In your weakness He is made strong!!! Thank you for your witness,it is an example for all of us to take comfort in!! Only The Lord can carry us.
    Love in Christ, Margie

  • Barbara Buzzell

    What an inspiration you are ,Joni! I think of Romans 8:18 when I think of your life and ministry. Also , you have let your light SHINE so brightly that others have had courage and hope . I am praying for you and Ken in your recent trial with cancer. May His comfort and presence be your help at this time. We all love you!

  • Glen Graves

    Merry Christmas Ken and Joni,—Malachi 4:2 gives us the hope that we will go out and leap like calves set free from the stall. What a day of rejoicing that will be. Until then as God said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient. I too have been sustained by these verses since being injured in the Viet Nam War. Glen in New Mexico

  • April Ruiz

    Joni, you are amazing. I am praying for you. Thank you for openly sharing your struggles and for making us all realize just how much we need God. You are a testimony to the gospel of Jesus Christ a perfect picture of who God chooses. You beautifully express the pain and i understand no one really gets it until they go through it. I completely agree with you that sometimes God does not heal us for whatever reason. We just have to endure. You give me so much inspiration and keep things in perspective. Praying for you and your husband. He seems to just adore you and love you deeply! May God heal your body of the cancer, pain, and fatigue and renew your spirit. In jesus, amen.

  • Byron Koga

    Dear Joni and Ken, I am not disabled yet you have helped me through the more difficult times in my life. My finances and retirement gone, job loss, divorce health issues… all these trials. You have helped me learn how to rejoice in my trials and lean on the Lord. May you have a wonderful Christmas!!

  • Rhonda Varshay

    Dear Joni,
    Your books, ~When God Weeps~ & ~The God I Love~, have been such a blessing to me! They have helped my whole outlook on life & God & suffering. They have also helped me love God more. I will probably never meet you on this earth, but someday when we’re in Heaven (& you’re walking around w/out your wheelchair I’m going to find you & give you a big hug! Remember (like the whole theme of your books) GOD is faithful & good.
    Your friend, Rhonda

  • saul kivumbi

    YOU ARE SO AWESOME

  • Mary. L

    Thank you for that beautiful Testimony! I am haddicaped as well, Joni has helped me through the years to deal with weakness! as have all her books, and I am so Greatful she is who she says she is, because we have alot of So Called Christians saying they love the Lord, but treat their fellow man” who are Haddicaped with distain,” I have witnessed this first hand in Church, being isolated from a certain fellowship Groups, Sad But it is Done to alot of Haddicap people, and God Loves them just as much as the Normal person. But I Belive God See’s this Behavior in the Church and out of Church, God Bless you joni, I have learned alot from your Books,

  • Glenn Butts

    Oh, Joni,

    My heart just breaks for you and Ken with the news about your cancer. ( This may be older news – but I just found out during a community wide Good Friday service.) But we have an awesome God! You and I are about the same age. I remember when I first heard about you as a teen. I fell in love with you then and have been so inspired by your witness and godly works. You are an amazing person. As a pastor, I tell people about your life and use your example as an inspiration to others who are hurting.

    May God continue to lavish His love, peace, and inner joy on you, Ken, and your staff. My wife and I will keep you in our prayers. Pastor Glenn

  • beulah

    joni is great inspiration to every one………….praise the lord

  • Lorraine J.

    Dear Joni
    You have truly been a beautiful inspiration and a blessing in my life. I have been disabled with chronic leg pain for almost 20 years. I’ve been severely depressed by it and at times has led me to some very dark and drastic thoughts about just disappearing from this life. However, your great faith in God has allowed me to re-evaluate the pain in my life. I too, have become much closer to God through this pain. Your books along with God’s word has helped me through some very, very desperate times. I pray that you will continue to write more books. Tonight was one of those very painful and lonely nights again where you feel that no one in the world understands you and the pain you’re going through. But then I found this video of you and watched it for the first time. After watching it, I regained my hope. What I saw on this video was a very beautiful, most wonderful and humble person. God’s love shines through you. My faith continues to be renewed by seeing all that you do and all that you are. Praise God! Love Lorraine

  • Mildred M. Wright

    Dear Ms. Joni:

    I first heard of your story in the 80′s, however while it was amazing, it was not relevent to my life, yet. Today, I am befriending a young lady who has been paralyzed from the neck down for the past seven years. We are both exploring your story of HOPE. We are inspired by how you have gone on to touch the lives of so many others and to live such a quality life! Thanks for not giving up on yourself and caring enough to share with the world.

    Most Appreciative,

    mildred m. wright

  • EVANGELINE O.

    It’s a showcase of God’s glory. I’ve seen God. Indeed, Praise the Lord!

  • Aditi Chaudhary

    Hi Joni, I read your book when I was 25 years old and I had just lost my daughter. Your story and faith gave me SUCH hope. I am a born again Christian too and I went on to have two more children. My son is now 20 years old and studying in the USA (we live in India) and my youngest, 16 year old Aisha was born with the same genetic disorder as my first child. I gave birth with faith because ‘Thou shall not kill’…well she has survived a bone marrow transplant and a load of other issues and she continues to defy all odds “I shall give you a peace, a peace beyond understanding”!

    Please view Aisha’s talk on http://www.inktalks.com (search for Aisha – singing in the lifeboat”.

    I also want to tell you that we are now using ‘Jin Shin Jyutsu” an ancient touch healing. I attended the course recently and it is God’s own healing. The JSJ centre is in Scottsdale in Arizona.

    Blessings!
    Love
    Aditi

  • Laurie

    You are and will always a blessing my life. I am no stranger to suffering as well. Thank you for giving me encouragement and for showing me and others what it means to live for Christ and die to self.
    Love in Christ,
    Laurie

  • Laurie

    Dear Joni,
    You are and will always a blessing my life. I am no stranger to suffering as well. Thank you for giving me encouragement and for showing me and others what it means to live for Christ and die to self.
    Love in Christ,
    Laurie
    Rescue, CA

  • Bel

    Just read Joni’s first book… An Unforgetable Story… again after 10 years or so. So thankful she can still thank the Lord for all His wonderful blessings!!! What a remarkable lady!!! Would like to know more about the husband, and know he must be used by the Lord for Joni’s blessing. Dickie and Donald were kind to bow out even if it was painful for Joni at the time.
    Thankful to the Lord Jesus that someone helps get wheel chairs where they are needed!!!

  • Kristi Jorgenson

    Dear Joni,
    I remember hearing you speak when I was a child. I was in such awe of your story, it has stuck with me all these years. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 36. I am happy to announce I have been cancer free for almost 3 years. I found Jesus during that very difficult time in my life. It is now funny how I feel Jesus speak to me in daily life. I just finished watching “My Left Foot”, and was inspired. I immediately thought of you. Thank you for being that inspiration and helping me be closer to God. Let me know if you come to speak in the North Dakota area.
    God Bless
    Kristi Jorgenson