Heart for the Disabled #5 Gerald and Theresa

  • Jan. 13, 2012
  • #7750

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

Heart for the Disabled #5 Gerald and Theresa

Welcome to the last and best day of our “Heart for the Disabled” week.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and all this week, as you know, I’ve been telling stories about families with special needs (big needs) so that you could write notes of encouragement and Valentine cards. And, boy, are you responding – so many of you have already sent in your cards and letters. But I’ve got one more family to tell you about…

Gerald and Theresa live in the inner city of Philadelphia – Gerald has cerebral palsy and is a pastor. Due to their low income level, they struggle with unemployment and inaccessible housing; and so, they move frequently. But that doesn’t dissuade them – they have a real passion to bring the Gospel to people with disabilities in the city. But you know… these are tough times in the job market; especially tough times for independent pastors… add to that Gerald’s wheelchair and, well, sometimes he wonders what God has for him in the future. Because of his African-American heritage, Gerald has been a great help to our Joni and Friends team in Philadelphia as we reach into the inner city where many special needs families are dealing with hard times. This is what Gerald writes, he says, “Recently I had a terrible fall out of my wheelchair and broke my fused hip.” He adds, “But I am getting stronger everyday and I look forward to the time when I can reestablish the ministry God called me to. I am a husband, father, and grandfather. I pastored for many years and taught high school history as well. I love meeting positive and motivated people; people who are not afraid to face challenges and find ways to overcome them. Praise God! And I do it all using a powered wheelchair.”

It would be an incredible gift and blessing for Gerald and Theresa to be on the receiving end of Valentine cards and encouragement! So would you please take a moment to jot a note or a card to them and let them know you’ll be praying for them? How about including a favorite scripture or, as I’ve shared earlier this week, maybe include a copy of a favorite inspirational poem or the words to a hymn that you love. Gerald and Theresa need an extra measure of God's grace and I know they’d be blessed to hear that you are cheering them on. And if you want to be creative, the sky’s the limit – perhaps a small gift certificate to McDonalds or Baskin Robbins Ice Cream or whatever. I know Ken and I will be doing something like that for them, but the important thing is your note, and the scriptures from God's Word that you include. 

So to make sure your card or note to Gerald and Theresa arrives on time, don’t delay. Just ask God to give you words then mail your letter in care of Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376. Just write your note to Gerald (that’s spelled G-E-R-A-L-D) and Theresa (that’s spelled T-H-E-R-E-S-A). Now if you don’t have a pencil to write down the address or missed the details on this couple, you can always visit my radio page at Joni and Friends where you’ll also see a photo of Gerald and Theresa. I can’t wait for all these families to open up their mailboxes on Valentine’s Day and be surprised and blessed to see that so many, many Christians truly do care! Believe me, there’ll be lots of tears and happy smiles. So don’t forget to send your note to Gerald and Theresa to Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, CA 91376 -- and as you send your note don’t forget to back it up with prayer. God bless you for truly having a heart for the disabled.

© Joni and Friends

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