HD #3 Eileen, Lou, Sasha and Jonathan

  • Jan. 13, 2016
  • #8793

After a wonderful experience at camp, this special-needs family would be delighted to receive uplifting notes, encouraging letters, or perhaps a little gift certificate on Valentine’s Day.

HD #3 Eileen, Lou, Sasha and Jonathan

It’s “Heart for the Disabled” week here at Joni and Friends!

That’s right, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and this week I am asking you to help me give real Christian encouragement to disabled people and their families who have attended our Family Retreats last summer because now it’s mid-winter, the skies are gray, and these families are in need of a lift, what with all the disability routines day after day, they need your uplifting words. So I’m asking you (as I’ve been doing all week) to pick up a pen and jot a Valentine’s card or a note, send a poem, maybe a scripture or two, or just a brief letter telling a special-needs family that you’re praying for them.

Today I want to tell you about Eileen, the mother, and Sasha, her beautiful 18-year-old with autism. Last summer was their first year to attend Family Retreat, and they were so excited. However, one month before camp, Eileen called to tell us that her husband, Lou, was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of pancreatic cancer and it was in stage IV. After many tears, Eileen explained that they simply could not afford to come to camp, what with all their new medical needs. But we encouraged the whole family to attend camp, regardless of the money (of course, if her husband was up for it).

Well, they prayed about it, but it was clear that Lou simply did not have the strength to come to Family Retreat. So it meant that Eileen and her disabled daughter, Sasha, ended up coming to Family Retreat by themselves while Lou and Eileen’s son Jonathan (who is 27 years old) stayed home and took care of dad. During the time Eileen and Sasha were at Family Retreat, Lou had to undergo his first round of chemotherapy. It was a sacrifice, with his wife and daughter not being there, but Lou and Eileen’s hopes came true: their disabled daughter Sasha had a fabulous time at Family Retreat! As a teenager with autism, she really felt accepted; Sasha met other young people with disabilities like hers, and it so bolstered her spirits. She wasn’t alone after all, and she loved everything about camp. And mom and dad? They were thrilled.

Later, Eileen wrote to tell us, “Joni, Family Retreat was a total God thing. What a blessing. It impacted our family in a powerful way. Our unsaved family members even were amazed to watch how everything unfolded – they really saw a vivid example of Christ’s love in how we were blessed at Family Retreat.”

So, friend listening, this family’s wonderful experience at camp was quite a while back, and Lou, Eileen, and Sasha are in need of genuine Christian encouragement. They need to read uplifting scriptures; perhaps you could get your Sunday school class to color some cards. And you don’t have to, but if you want to go the extra mile, tuck in a little gift certificate to Taco Bell or Baskin-Robbins or something like that.

Believe me, Lou and Eileen and Sasha will be thrilled to open up their mailbox on Valentine’s Day and see hundreds of cards and letters from listeners like you. So be sure to jot your note today. Just inscribe it to Lou and Eileen and Sasha, then send your card to Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376, and we’ll make certain to package it up with all the other notes to this little family so that they’ll receive it in time for Valentine’s Day. And if you need to be reminded of all the details I’ve shared, you can always get the whole scoop on my radio page today at joniandfriends.org. Again, that’s jonandfriends.org. And thanks so much for having a heart for the disabled and a heart for Eileen, Lou and Sasha.

© Joni and Friends


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