In Luke 14:23-24, Jesus tells us to reach out and “invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind” so that His house may be full. We are so excited to see how God is using your prayers and gifts to invite His children affected by disabilities, giving them new hope in Him.
One person who was in need of such hope was Shawn. One afternoon last March, Shawn came into our office for a visit. Shawn had experienced disability first-hand with her daughter Alisha, who was born with cerebral palsy and required 24-hour care. Shawn had lovingly cared for Alisha for 17 years until Jesus called her home in 2010. Through her devastating pain and loss, God drew Shawn to Joni and Friends to share Alisha’s story and minister to others affected by disability.
Soon after she started volunteering at Joni and Friends, Shawn visited Family Retreat. She was reluctant at first, frightened of her deep emotional response to seeing a child in a wheelchair. But from the moment she met a young man named Evan, nothing but pure love flooded her heart.
“What joy I had with Evan! God started to heal my heart at Family Retreat when I met him and his family,” Shawn declares.
Shawn now actively volunteers with Joni and Friends. She helps serve as Jesus’ hands and feet, ministering to a hurting world. She has introduced many churches in Southern Minnesota to the disability ministry programs of Joni and Friends.
Want to hear more of Shawn’s powerful story? At 23 years old, she was divorced, parenting two young girls including Alisha with cerebral palsy and considering ending her life. But there was hope beyond her wildest dream! Listen to her March 5, 2013 interview with Joni Eareksen Tada.