Mark and Julie

  • Feb. 14, 2013
  • #8034

It’s Valentine’s Day! And today, five special needs families will be receiving a Heart for the Disabled package of notes, gift cards, poems, and more! Listen to their response here.

Mark and Julie

Hi, this is Joni Eareckson Tada and Happy Valentine’s Day!

And today five families with special needs will be receiving some pretty big and exciting packages, all filled with your notes and cards and gifts — all of them from you. That’s right, it was around this time last month, remember, that I asked you to jot notes of encouragement to five families, all who have some significant special needs. And, boy, did you respond! And since today is the day they receive their packages, I can’t wait to hear from these families.

I remember last year when Mark and Julie and their ten children received their Heart for the Disabled package. Most of Mark and Julie’s children have some serious physical or mental challenges, so you can imagine how much their package meant to them. In fact, right after Valentine’s Day last year, I received this note from Mark. Listen to this, he writes:

“Dear Joni, what a surprise we received in the mail today. A large box was delivered to our house from the Joni and Friends ministry. We were not expecting anything from your organization, but figured anything coming from Joni and Friends would be welcome around here—and when we opened the box, the most unexpected blessings came pouring out. We had no idea that this incredible box of love and encouragement was coming our way. Within it, there were hundreds of Valentines from all across the country! We gathered all the kids and opened the Valentines one by one. There were handmade Valentines, beautiful letters, touching stories and little individual Valentines for each of our kids. There were books, DVD's, gift cards and little notes encouraging us and letting us know that we are being prayed for from people around the nation.”
“ Perhaps some of the most touching valentines were these: A man who is a prisoner in a federal facility wrote a wonderful note and sent along a few postage stamps as a gift. He only receives $15 a month, and this was all he had to give, and he shared it with us. A young man with autism wrote a touching letter and made us some beautiful coasters — one for everyone in the family! People from all walks of life took time out of their lives to encourage us!”
“This was an incredibly humbling experience. There have been days lately that we have felt a bit invisible. We aren't able to get to know other people outside of our little world because we are in the trenches every day caring for our incredible children. To know that people all over are praying for us and that Joni Eareckson Tada affirmed our commitment and love to those who are disabled — that warms my heart beyond what you can imagine.”

Wow! Finally Mark closes is off by saying:

“We are so thankful for each of these dear brothers and sisters in Christ who have reached out to our family. The timeliness of all of this, of course, was so orchestrated by God on so many levels. Joni did not know that we were adopting another child. She did not know the kinds of new challenges we are facing now. But now, since today’s package, we have $175 worth of McDonald’s gift certificates to feed us on the way! There were gift cards that can help us pay for gas and supplies. God never ceases to amaze me as He directs His people to support one another just when they are needed the most.”

I want to thank you, Mark, for sharing how much you and your family were blessed by those Heart for the Disabled cards and gifts. And listening friend thank you, too, all of you who took time to write families this year — today they’ll be opening their boxes filled with Christ's love sent straight from you.

© Joni and Friends 


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