Woodward Family Interview

  • Feb. 20, 2014
  • #8299

Listen to April and Steven Woodward describe their first time at a Family Retreat for special needs families.

Woodward Family Interview

Joni: Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and welcome to “Joni and Friends.”

And here at Joni and Friends we are gearing up for our Family Retreats. You know our camps for families: families ranging from a single mom whose son has autism to a family of eight whose father has recently become a quadriplegic. All of these families with a variety of special needs, but one great need overall: the need to be refreshed in Jesus. And here to tell us all about Family Retreats are my friends, Steven and April Woodward – their first time to retreat.

Joni: Steven and April, this is your first time at Family Retreat, but first describe for our friends listening about your family and the disabilities in your family.

Steven: Well, we have five children and Caleb, our second born, has epilepsy and a lot of sensory processing and learning delays. He brings a lot of joy but a lot of hardships – we have been introduced to the world of special needs through him.

Joni: Now this is your first “Joni and Friends” Family Retreat. Are you glad you came?

Steven/April: Yes! We’re ecstatic, right? It’s been great.

Joni: What has been the best thing about it?

Steven: I think just seeing the kids enjoy so much fun time.

April: There is a lot of angst and lack of peace in our home with special needs, and all the struggles that come with that so just letting them have time to enjoy and run and play, and not have all the responsibilities that come with being a large family at home. It has been a great pleasure, and the interactions with other parents and families has been a true blessing for us this week.

Joni: I bet it must be great to know that you can relax, take a nap, have some time off, enjoy couple time and know that your children are being well cared for.

Steven: Yes, and as April said we met another couple that really related to what we are going through with Caleb and that meant more than anything.

Joni: How about the times of worship or the Bible times with the men?

Steven: I was glad to have family worship time with the kids just singing camp songs was a blast.

April: Yes, and certainly just the refreshment of scripture just being poured and washed over us.

Joni: Wonderful. Would you recommend this to other special needs families?

April/Steven: Absolutely! Without a doubt!

Joni: Well, there’s nothing like hearing it firsthand from someone who experienced Family Retreat for the very first time. And I think you’ll agree, the Woodwards found a sense of community amongst other special needs families—and they found that much needed rest and hope in Jesus. After all, in Jeremiah chapter 31, the Lord promises He will “refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”

And, friend listening, that promise is for other special needs families, too! People that are so overwhelmed by the disability routines that they feel like giving up. Well, our Family Retreats are a place where marriages can be mended, depression can be lifted, emotions can be refreshed and spirits can be revived by the power of the Holy Spirit. And our upcoming season of Family Retreats is filling up fast, but we still have openings. So, if you know of a special needs family like the Woodwards, someone who could benefit from one of our Joni and Friends Family Retreats, go to joniandfriends.org where you can get all the details—and pass on the promise of Jeremiah chapter 31, would you? Extend the grace of God to someone who feels weary and faint today, because as you do you will be glorifying our wonderful Savior with every work of refreshment.

By the way, I would love to hear what you are praying about or a favorite Bible verse that you are memorizing. Tell me about it. Just go to my radio page today at joniandfriends.org. And do it soon, because our camps for disabled people and their families are filling up fast!

© Joni and Friends


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