Global Access - Chantal Huinik

  • Dec. 12, 2014
  • #8510

Joni's friend Chantal reflects Christ's character as she experiences a change in plans while riding a city bus.

Global Access - Chantal Huinik

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a great story about my friend Chantal.

Chantal Huinink resides in Ontario, Canada. She served as an intern with Joni and Friends back in 2011. Ever since she was two years old, Chantal has been in a wheelchair, and while she was still young, after hearing my children’s album, “I’ve Got Wheels” this kid realized that her disability was not a curse, but something that she could use to bring others closer to Jesus. And now, so many years later she’s doing just that; Chantal is serving as an advocate for other people with disabilities, and serving on the leadership team every summer for our Canadian Family Retreat. Chantal is something else, and is currently pursuing her Masters in Divinity and Social Work and co-teaching the Beyond Suffering Curriculum at Emmanuel Bible College in Canada.

All this to say: this lady’s my hero. And let me tell you a story why. Recently, one freezing cold windy night last winter, Chantal was traveling across town on a bus. And the bus broke down. Everybody else quickly got out and sought shelter, but when Chantal powered her wheelchair onto the mechanical lift at the back of the bus, it failed to operate. So there she was, stuck, and that backdoor with the lift was the only one her big, heavy wheelchair could exit through. The freezing wind was tearing through the open bus, and Chantal only had on her coat. The driver tried everything. An hour went by. Then they called the police. They could not get the mechanical lift to work, so then they called the fire station. Four hours in the freezing cold went by before the firemen finally were able to grapple Chantal and her wheelchair off the bus.

Oh my goodness, that alone is enough to make her my hero, going through all that. But you know what is really heroic? Bless her heart, she kept her testimony in Christ — she ended up having a real impact on those policemen and firemen. And to me, that’s being a disability advocate! The Bible says, “a soft answer turns away wrath.” And Chantal’s great disposition through it all saved the day. However, I should add, that she is now working with the city bus system to help design better evacuation procedures for people with disabilities who encounter future emergencies. Good for you, Chantal. You go, girl!

I wish you could meet this remarkable young woman, and in fact you can.  You can, especially if you’re interested in anything related to disability issues, because Chantal will be speaking at the Global Access Conference in February 2015. This conference is for anyone who has worked with, or is serving among, or ministering to people with disabilities and their families. We’re expecting 1,000 leaders from across the country — including Chantal Huinick from Canada. So if you want to hone your advocacy skills, learn best practices, and grow deeper in your understanding of God’s sovereignty in the midst of tough, difficult situations join us next February. Whether you work in special education, physical or occupational therapy, or volunteer in your church’s disability outreach, the Global Access Conference is for you. So, today visit my radio page today at joniandfriends.org where I’ve posted all the details about our upcoming Global Access Conference. And while you’re there, take a look at a great photo of Chantal that I’ve posted. In closing, Titus chapter 2 says, “In everything set them an example by doing what is good”. That’s something my friend Chantal does well.

© Joni and Friends

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