Heart for the Disabled 2014 Testimony

  • Jan. 8, 2016
  • #8790

A single mother and her son who has autism are overwhelmed with joy after receiving a Heart for the Disabled gift box.

Heart for the Disabled 2014 Testimony

Get ready because next week is Heart for the Disabled.

Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and next week, as we always do this time of year, begins our Heart for the Disabled campaign. Every year I share the names and stories of 5 different special-needs families who are in need of lots of Christian encouragement. Sometimes it’s a family with a child with Down syndrome; other times it’s a couple where one spouse – or both – are in wheelchairs. And often, it’s the single mother of a boy with severe autism. Like last year when I asked you to send Valentines and notes of encouragement to Karen and her son Jacob, a young adult with autism and other developmental disabilities.

You were so great, so wonderful to write Karen and Jacob so many cards and letters. There were poems and favorite Gospel songs; several people sent in music CDs and there were even gift cards to Baskin Robbins and McDonald’s. To put it mildly, Karen and Jacob’s Heart for the Disabled box was huge, filled to overflowing with gifts and notes and the joy of Jesus! Two of our Joni and Friends team members hand-delivered the big box to Karen’s house (now you have to understand that Jacob gets overwhelmed easily and hates surprises. And Karen just never ever gets any encouraging mail, only lots of medical bills). Well, when our team unpacked the box and lifted out hand loads of cards and gifts, Karen just had to sit down. She was completely speechless. Both she and her young adult son were utterly overwhelmed and they didn’t know how to handle, they didn’t know how to process such a generous gift.

In fact, our team asked, “Karen, are you okay?” But she only blinked, and kept staring at the box on her table overflowing with cards and gifts, and she nodded, yes, yes she was okay. It sure didn’t seem like she was. We asked if we could get anything for her, was the gift box acceptable to her, was there anything we could do, should we come back later? Needless to say, we did not know how to take her reaction to her Heart for the Disabled gift box. But after our team left, and after Jacob came out of hiding, he and his mother slowly began to look through the cards, read the prayers and Bible verses, and be blessed by so many words of encouragement.

The next day Karen wrote us a note, and in it she said, “Joni, I am a private person and was also very overwhelmed; I just needed to sit alone to process through what had happened. It just gave me so much strength to know that people across the country were praying for us. I am still in shock. I will never, ever be able to say how much that box meant to us. There was even a church from near where we live! Actually we may go there. It’s as if Jesus came down from heaven to give us a hug. I just look over at the box and think it came right from heaven, literally.”

Well, as you can see, Karen is one mother of a special-needs young adult who was hugely blessed by last year’s Heart for the Disabled. So please, be listening all next week when I will give you the names of other families affected by disability. I'll be wanting you to write encouraging notes and scriptures to them, as well. Then we will box up all the cards and poems and gifts and scriptures and get these packages off to them in time for Valentine's Day. So have a pad and a pencil handy so next week you can jot down their names. It’s all next week as you help us celebrate Heart for the Disabled.

© Joni and Friends


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