We're answering real questions about disability and sharing hope through hardship. Whether you are personally impacted by disability or you‘re looking for practical ways to include someone with special needs in your community or church, you are not alone!
Join Crystal Keating each Thursday to hear from a special guest who has encountered real challenges and persevered. Each episode provides honest stories of hope, practical advice, and encouragement as you face your own challenges.
Subscribe and be inspired!
Find all resources mentioned on the podcast at www.joniandfriends.org/podcast.
Joni and Friends was founded by Joni Eareckson Tada who in a diving accident was left a quadriplegic at 17 years old. Over the past 40 years, the ministry has grown to serve thousands of people impacted by disability worldwide through Wheels for the World, Family Retreats, the Christian Institute on Disability, and television and radio programs. Get involved at www.joniandfriends.org.
A Voice for People with Dwarfism and Disability – Angela Muir Van Etten
Do you feel compelled to take action when you encounter ignorance and inequity? For Angela Muir Van Etten, she has made it her lifelong mission to raise awareness and advocate for people with dwarfism and disability. Standing at three-feet-four-inches, she a gentle, yet firm voice as she advocates for biblical standards of integrity and justice.
As a dual citizen of New Zealand and the United States, Angela qualified as a lawyer and served as national president of Little People organizations in both countries. Today on the podcast, she is sharing her story and how her passion for advocacy has grown.
Be encouraged by Angela’s conversation with Crystal and inspired to speak up for integrity and justice!
Joni and Friends Survey
Thank you for listening to this special message from Joni Eareckson Tada.
We know this season of isolation has not been easy for families impacted by disability. The pandemic has challenged us to find new ways to serve families like yours. So now, want to hear from you!
We have created a brief survey so that we can better understand how to serve you and other families dealing with the same realities you face each day. We want to expand our programs to meet your needs, and your opinions matter to us.
If you are part of a family living with disability, please take a few minutes to complete this brief survey.
Thank you for sharing your input!
Is God Listening? – Dave Deuel
“Suffering can feel like a darkness that blinds us to God’s presence. In the dark, you can stand next to someone and not even know they are there. Suffering can do that to us spiritually. Although God is always close by, we can feel alone.”
What do you do when you beg God to help you and it seems like nothing changes? You ask for relief, but circumstances remain overwhelming.
Is God listening?
Today on the podcast, Crystal is sitting down with Dave Deuel to talk about God’s attentive ear in the midst of unplanned, life-changing situations. Father to Joanna who has Down syndrome and is now in her 30s, Dave and his family have walked through challenging seasons of disability and mental illness. Listen as he shares how suffering has shaped his understanding of God, and he offers practical ways that you can press into Christ in the midst of your hardship.
God Does His Best Work with Empty – Nancy Guthrie
It’s amazing how heavy the weight of emptiness can feel, and how much room something that isn’t even there can take up in our souls. Whether due to loneliness, disappointment, loss, or even a search for purpose, emptiness can seem like our greatest problem. But that’s not how God sees it! When God looks into the empty places of our lives, he sees his greatest opportunity.
This week on the podcast, author and teacher Nancy Guthrie is sharing why emptiness has never been, and never will be, a problem to God. With insights from her brand-new book, God Does His Best Work with Empty, she tells how throughout the narrative of Scripture, God is always working to fill up emptiness with his presence. Be encouraged by this hopeful conversation about how your emptiness can be also filled, because God really does do his best work with empty—as he fills it with himself.
How to Be More Inclusive – Joshua Fast
“If you want to understand how to be more inclusive, get to know someone with disabilities. Get out of your comfort zone.”
Last week on the podcast, Joshua Fast shared about raising Malakai, his 6-year old son who was born prematurely and diagnosed with myotonic dystrophy and cerebral palsy. But for Joshua and his wife Nicole, it was during Malakai’s 4-month hospital stay, that they saw their church community come around them to provide the life-giving support that strengthened the Fasts as they encountered a series of unexpected challenges.
This week on the podcast, Joshua is back to talk about how his unique journey inspired him to establish a ministry that helps other special needs families find similar support as he teaches church leaders how to better include people living with disability. Through Priceless Youth Ministry, Joshua is demonstrating the value of all people and creating opportunities for everyone to encounter God through fellowship, worship, and the teaching of God’s Word. Listen to learn about the creative ways he is breaking down barriers and helping churches make their existing ministries more accessible, and how you can too!
An Unplanned Journey – Joshua Fast
When Joshua and Nicole Fast became pregnant with their son Malakai, they were thrilled to be growing their family. But when Malakai was born prematurely and diagnosed with myotonic dystrophy and cerebral palsy, they struggled to understand what life would look like for their son and their family.
“What are we going to do?”
Today on the podcast, Crystal is talking with Joshua about the joy that Malakai has brought to their family and how their struggles have taught the Fasts lessons that couldn’t be learned any other way. Hear how their unique journey with disability has deepened their spiritual life, illuminated the need for more special needs support within the church, and inspired them to help other families in similar circumstances.