• June 1, 2011
  • #7588

Joni shares how Mariama from Ghana's sorrow was broken after receiving the gospel on a Wheels for the World outreach.

I’ve got a passion and I'm focusing all my energies on it!

Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and if you were to ask me about that passion and how I'm prioritizing my time these days, I would point to young people. Virtually every ministry trip I take these days has me speaking at a Bible college or a seminary somewhere! Liberty University… Wheaton… Biola University… Dallas Theological Seminary… Messiah College… Azusa Pacific… I could go on, but you get the picture. I am so passionate about gripping the hearts of young Christian leaders to give the Gospel of Christ (the love of Christ) to people with disabilities around the world. And what do I tell these young people? How do I describe the need? 

Imagine being born with a disability that brands you as worthless from the day you draw your first breath. That’s how it is for so many around the world. Like Mariama, a young disabled mother in Ghana and her baby… At 2:00 a.m., Mariama crawled onto the bus, her baby swaddled on her back… she was on that bus early in the morning to arrive at our Wheels for the World outreach in Ghana. Around her baby’s neck hung an unspeakably ugly fetish charm, put there by the village witch doctor to keep evil spirits away. For Mariama, a lifetime of cultic faith mixed with village witchcraft left her feeling so hopeless. The fetish around her baby’s neck was nothing more than a cry in the dark for better luck—that’s right, luck-- than she has had.

Well, when Mariama and her baby arrived at our Wheels for the World distribution, it didn’t take long to find just the right wheelchair for this woman. And after being seated in that beautifully hand-fitted wheelchair, Mariama sat up with dignity for the first time – no longer crawling in the dirt, no longer dragging herself through the mud, no longer an object of shame. Now, true, the wheelchair brought Mariama mobility, but her heart and soul were still broken. That is when a local Ghanaian pastor serving at our outreach told her, “I want to tell you about Jesus Christ! One day you will drop this mortal flesh – but ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not die, but have eternal life.’” Mariama listened… considered. Slowly, she nodded. “I want to be a Christian,” she said. Her face began to shine. “My heart is filled with happiness. Your Jesus has broken my sorrow and shame” she said. Following Mariama’s prayer to receive Christ in her life, there was one final act of victory: At the pastor’s suggestion, Mariama had him take a knife and cut off the fetish charm that was dangling from her baby’s little neck, forever breaking the power of evil and declaring the Lordship of Jesus Christ not only in her life, but over her child’s!

Friend, these are the true-life stories I tell Bible college students all the time. We have so much here in America, so many blessings… so many support services, but for people with disabilities in most of the world? They have nothing…nada…zilch. So I am passionate about encouraging young Christian students to come and serve as an intern at our ministry… sign up for a Wheels for the World trip… join us on an overseas outreach. Visit my radio page at and take a look at our video describing our Cause4Life internships. Be inspired; be challenged today at

© Joni and Friends

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