MINISTRY FRIENDS


Ministry Affiliate with Joni and Friends International

Walk Right In Ministries is so excited and proud to share in the passion and work that Joni Eareckson Tada started. We stand in complete agreement that the Luke 14:12-24 mandate of reaching the millions of people affected by disability is accomplished through the Body of Christ working together.

Joni and Friends is a ministry dedicated to extending the love and message of Jesus Christ to people who are affected by disability around the world. Their mission is to communicate the Gospel and equip Christ-honoring Churches worldwide to evangelize and disciple people affected by disabilities.

The organization was founded in 1979. After a diving accident that left Joni in a quadrapelegic state at 17 years old, she grew determined to reach out and help others. Today, Joni and Friends helps meet the spiritual and practical needs of disabled people and their families including Family Retreats, the distribution of wheelchairs and Bibles worldwide to people affected by disability, and church training through local and national disability ministry conferences.

While the mission and vision of Walk Right In Ministries extends beyond just disability, enhancing disability awareness and ministry is a top priority for us. As a Ministry Affiliate, Walk Right In Ministries collaborates with Joni and Friends to minister to people affected by disability in the U.S. and abroad while networking with other like-minded ministries to “accelerate Christian ministry to families affected by disability.”

Neal & Vickie Ariola live in Hopkins, a small Caribbean fishing village in Belize. Neal is a dive captain and fishing guide for a local resort. Vickie keeps busy caring for their family, including some very special needs. Their first son, Raheem, was born in 1995 with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), also known as “Brittle Bone Disease.” They had four more children — Cindy, Sarah, Destiny and Josiah — but discovered Cindy and Destiny also suffered from the devastating condition. In a culture where individuals with special needs are cast out from their communities and even their families, the Ariolas have courageously embraced one another and their circumstances even reaching out to educate their church and community about the value of every life. The Ariolas are active members of Hopkins Evangelical Church (Ligilisi Laureni Bungui) where Neal serves on the worship team.

Tragically, Cindy and Raheem died from complications of OI in 2007 and 2008. Each leaves a legacy of faith, wisdom and laughter. Destiny is thriving in the village school and recently had her artwork featured in a national calendar (March 2011) helping to build awareness about special needs. Sarah is a typical preteen with a gentle spirit who loves nature and her friends. Josiah is a budding artist who loves to ride his bike.

One hot summer day in 2008, Lisa had the privilege of meeting Vickie and her family as part of a mission trip. They became fast friends. During that visit, Vickie looked into the lens of a video camera for the very first time and shared her inspiring faith and experience parenting children with special needs. That story became the inspiration for the video outreach tool called “Pitching A Tent for the Sun” — now a popular and powerful part of certain Walk Right In Ministries events. A portion of the proceeds from those events goes back to the Ariola family.

More of Neal and Vickie’s story was filmed in 2010 and is currently in development for future outreach. We consider it a tremendous privilege that God wove the Jamieson and Ariola families together in friendship so that the hope and comfort of the Gospel can be shared beyond the walls of homes and cultures.



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