Joni and Friends shares encouraging conversations about finding hope through your hardships, along with practical ways to include people with disabilities in your church and community.
We've wrapped season 5, but we'll return with new conversations in 2024!
Growing a Heart for Disability Ministry – Wilame Leal Silva
In our final episode of season 5, we hear from Joni and Friends team member Wilame Leal Silva. He and his wife Erica Leal were overjoyed to hear they were pregnant with their second child. Then doctors gave a diagnosis that sent them reeling. Their son, they were told, had trisomy 13, a condition likely to end the baby’s life soon after birth. Even if Daniel survived, doctors said, he would be severely disabled and not live long. Grieved facing the loss of their son—and pressured to terminate the pregnancy—Wilame and Erica experienced disability in a new way. And while their son—to doctors’ amazement—was born without a disability, Wilame and Erica live with lasting deep empathy for families living with disability. Wilame joins the podcast to tell his family’s story, and share how God led him into disability ministry.
Care for Caregivers – Rebekah Dowhy
Across the United States nearly 53 million people serve as caregivers to family members, friends, and others in need of care. On call around the clock, often without pay, caregivers can experience discouragement and burnout. Rebekah Dowhy knows the rigors of caregiving. After years of caring for her mother with multiple sclerosis (MS) Rebekah founded the Caregiving Support Network to provide caregivers with Christ-centered respite, community, and encouragement. She joins the podcast to offer help and hope to caregivers, and the communities called to support them.
Walking Her Home: Learning to Say “Your Will, Not Mine” – Cami Lundt
Cami Lundt didn’t expect any surprises with her fourth pregnancy… until the doctor broke the shocking news. Baby Grace was diagnosed with trisomy 13 and a Dandy-Walker brain malformation—conditions that doctors considered “incompatible with life.” The baby, they said, had a 99.9% chance of dying just minutes after her birth. But God had a different plan. For almost five years, Cami and her family got to love and care for Grace, walking her home to heaven. Tune in to hear Cami’s story, and learn how God can meet you with his peace and strength, even in the most devastating circumstances.
How Including People with Disability Changes Church Culture
Have you considered how including people with disabilities might positively impact your church’s culture? Stephanie Hubach is on the podcast to share the importance and value of including everyone in ministry.
Ways to Become a More Disability Friendly Church
Jeb Beauchamp joins the podcast to talk about expanding the reach of the Gospel to people living with disability in the North Carolina area. As an Area Director with Joni and Friends and an ordained pastor, Jeb talks about shifting culture and overcoming barriers in churches to help people with disabilities experience true belonging. Jeb also shares about biblical counseling, and how the Word of God can speak to every person, regardless of life circumstances.
A Life Transformed – J.D. Kim’s Story of Living with Purpose (and Quadriplegia)
J.D. Kim’s life changed forever when he broke his neck in a snowboarding accident and became paralyzed. At first J.D. wanted to die. Then Jesus reached into his life, gave him hope, and sent him on a purposeful journey. Tune in to hear J.D.’s story of finding hope through hardship.
Family episode with FASD discussion
Thank you for the episode with the discussion around FASD. This was very important. I am an advocate in this area, and I have worked within church ministry, and seen how this particular disability can be misunderstood. Among adoption, it is very common as well as foster care. thank you for featuring this disability so that more people can be aware of how this can impact churches and ministries
The MC is so gracious. I have enjoyed playing these back to back. Painted the house while listening. Thank you!!!
Dr Jean Sutherland
Wow. My mother struggled w/mouth & tongue cancer for years. Particularly relatable, inspiring & encouraging to shelter in & lean on God. Thank you for sharing your story.