Episode 49 - Joni Eareckson Tada
It only takes a single moment for everything to change forever. One split-second choice can send ripples through our entire lives. For Joni Eareckson Tada, that moment came when she misjudged the depth of the water as she was about to dive into, leaving her paralyzed from shoulders down at only seventeen years old. It’s hard to imagine that kind of suffering, but Joni’s trial was only beginning. She’s faced a lifetime of disability, cancer diagnoses, chronic pain, and more, and she’s come through all of it believing that God is good no matter what circumstances she may face.
Joni shares with Davey about how she’s kept her faith through unimaginable suffering, as well as the incredible ministry that God has brought out of it to change countless lives.
Tada founded Joni and Friends in 1979, an organization to "accelerate Christian ministry in the disability community" throughout the world. In 2007 the Joni and Friends International Disability Center in Agoura Hills, California, was established.
Led by Tada and Doug Mazza (President and COO), the Joni and Friends International Disability Center runs a multi-faceted non-profit covering a number of program outlets. The longest running program is "Joni and Friends Radio", a five-minute radio program begun in 1982. It now runs four minutes in length and can be heard each weekday on over 1,000 broadcast outlets. Tada also records a one-minute radio broadcast "Diamonds in the Dust" that airs daily.
Other Joni and Friends programs include Family Retreats (a camp/retreat experience for families affected by disability), Wounded Warrior Getaways (which offer a similar experience for families of Wounded Warriors), and Wheels for the World (collects manual wheelchairs and other mobility devices which are refurbished by volunteers in prison restoration shops then shipped overseas where the wheelchairs are fitted by physical therapists to people in developing nations). Joni and Friends also has produced 51 episodes of Joni and Friends TV, overseen the formation of the Christian Institute on Disability (a training and advocacy arm of Joni and Friends), among other ventures. While the main office of Joni and Friends still resides in Agoura Hills, California, smaller offices can be found across the United State.