Heart for the Disabled #2 James and Ruby

  • Jan. 10, 2012
  • #7747

Joni shares how you can encourage a family affected by disability during Heart for the Disabled week.

Heart for the Disabled #2 James and Ruby

Hi, this is Joni Eareckson Tada and it’s “Heart for the Disabled” week! 

Here at Joni and Friends we are asking you to help make this upcoming Valentine’s Day pretty extraordinary for a special needs family by writing a note of encouragement to them. Yesterday I shared a few details about Jeremy who lost his legs and use of his arm in a tragic car accident, but today I want to tell you about James and Ruby and their two disabled sons from Eau Claire, Wisconsin (now you need to know that James and Ruby are an older couple, married 44 years… and raising two disabled adult sons and that’s not easy)!

There's Joe who has Down syndrome; he's fairly high functioning and loves to worship (loudly and with all his might). In fact, during Family Retreat last summer, Joe carried around a church hymn book under his arm and he would just stop you in your tracks, no matter where you were going, whether it was to the pool or the lake or to the basketball court or wherever and right there he would open up his hymnal and sing you a hymn. What's more, Joe would delay you longer and ask you to name a hymn… Any hymn… And if you would mention a hymn, he would then tell you exactly what number it was in the hymnal. Then, he'd flip to that page and hold the book up with a triumphant smile! He was able to guess all those hymns – he knows all the hymns on all the pages of that hymnal. Unbelievable! Believe me, Joe may have Down syndrome, but I just know that he knows the names of many more hymns than you or I would! James and Ruby's older son, Paul is much more disabled and he needs a lot of care!  

Bless their hearts, James and Ruby are raising these two boys, but unfortunately, they have very little support. They are country folk, simple people… And they're wondering what will happen to their boys once they are unable to care for them. It doesn't help that the boys often get teased… Though Joe and Paul are endearing young men, their parents (who are in their sixties) are quite weary. They love the boys dearly and take incredibly good care of them. I know they would drink in any encouragement they received. So would you please join me in writing a note of encouragement to James and Ruby or maybe a favorite scripture or two? Commend them on teaching Joe so many hymns! Perhaps share with James and Ruby a special poem? I know some of you have even gone so far as to send a Baskin-Robbins or McDonald's gift certificate, but I’m not asking you to do that… the most important thing is offering simple Christ-centered encouragement expressed any way you wish – and also, include a word or two to Joe and his brother Paul. Have your children crayon a drawing… Or tuck in a bookmark… Or some other small gift. Believe me, James and Ruby are hungry for contact with others and I know they will appreciate your card or note so much.   

Just send it to James and Ruby here at Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376. Let me say that address again: it’s Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376. And let me hear from you right away so that your card or note will arrive in time for us to bundle it up with all the others to mail to James and Ruby, the parents of Joe and Paul, both with disabilities… We need your card soon so we can make sure it arrives right in time for Valentine’s Day. And if you didn’t get the address or if you need to be reminded of the details of this special needs family, you can always get the scoop at Joni and Friends. And, finally, thank you for having a “Heart for the Disabled.”

© Joni and Friends

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