Another Call For Family Retreats

  • Feb. 21, 2006
  • #6212

Joni shares how Dan watched his teenage son go swimming for the first time at Family Retreat.

It's wonderful when a parent sees his child do something fun for the very first time. I'm thinking of Dan. Dan who attended one of our Joni and Friends' Family Retreats last summer with his disabled teenaged son.  

It happened at the swimming pool. At first, Dan was a little concerned about his son getting out of his wheelchair and being put into the water, but the volunteer was right on it. Our volunteer helped lift Dan's son into a mechanical seat which lowered him into the water... and, oh my, you should have seen that kid laugh! He was having the time of his life. 

And as his dad, as father Dan stood at the poolside and watched his son go swimming for the very first time, this kid was a teenager now, the very first time this is what he told me. Dan turned to me and said, "Joni, it is like heaven. All I could see was the splashing and the smiling faces, not only of my son, but look all these other disabled people in the pool. I mean there is so much laughter I honestly can't tell my son from even the able-bodied kids out here swimming with all the other kids with disabilities. To me, Joni look at this it's a picture of heaven because everyone is having so much fun... and no one looks and no one sounds like they had a disability. I would venture to say that no one probably even feels disabled in that pool out there. It looks like the water is putting everyone in the same boat and you couldn't tell the differences between the people in the pool whether they are able-bodied or disabled - this is great, this is heaven; this is a picture of heaven and I can't help but cry." Wow! 

Dan went away from that retreat, a changed man. His son was changed, too. What a great picture of that day described in Isaiah 35 where it says that one day the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped, and the lame shall leap like deer. No more sorrow and no more pain and, praise God, no more disabilities. Hallelujah! 

In the meantime, we've got to spiritually prepare families like Dan's. In fact, you know what friend listening, you can help us by praying about becoming a volunteer at one of our nationwide Family Retreats this year. Or, if you are a family that has a disabled child like Dan's, then think about attending a retreat and would you? Or, hey, you may know of a family in your church or your neighborhood who could benefit... or perhaps someone in your congregation who's looking for a way to serve the Lord this summer. Believe me, you'll understand what Dan is talking about when he says family retreats is a little like heaven. 

Ken and I are looking forward to attending several of our retreats... and we want to see you there! You know why? Because it really will be a slice of heaven! And you might even find yourself shedding a couple of tears.

© Joni and Friends

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