We're sharing hope through hardship as we answer real questions about disability. Join Crystal Keating each Thursday for honest stories and practical advice as she chats with a special guest who has persevered through real challenges.
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The podcast will return with new episodes in February 2021.
Find all resources mentioned on the podcast at www.joniandfriends.org/podcast.
Joni and Friends envisions a world where every person with a disability finds hope, dignity, and their place in the body of Christ. Founded by Joni Eareckson Tada who was left a quadriplegic in a diving accident at 17 years old, 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 inspiring television and radio programs. Get involved at www.joniandfriends.org.
From Anger to Acceptance – Robert and Nelly Kapen
Robert was an active college student when an unknown virus caused a bilateral stroke that left him suddenly paralyzed and unable to speak. Previously on the podcast, Robert and Nelly Kapen shared their powerful story of God’s provision through quadriplegia, recovery, and marriage. But as navigating a life-changing disability is never easy, Robert’s journey to acceptance took time. Following his accident he faced numbness, anger, and depression until a reminder from John 9:3 helped move him to a place of acceptance.
This week on the podcast, Robert and Nelly are back to share about finding hope and moving forward. Listen as they tell the importance of inviting help from family and their Christian community, and how they’ve been able to pour into others. If you are struggling with questions about your hardship or comparing your situation with others, be encouraged by Robert and Nelly’s story. Through the ups and downs, God is with you. Trust his perfect timing because he'll never allow you to be snatched from his hand.
God’s Generous Provision through Paralysis, Recovery, and Marriage – Robert and Nelly Kapen
Robert Kapen was an athletic college student studying Parks and Rec and working part-time at an outdoor Young Life camp when his life turned upside down. In 2011, an unknown virus caused a bilateral stroke that left him suddenly paralyzed from the chin down. With his mind fully functioning but no ability to move or speak, Robert felt trapped in his own body.
Over the next 8 years, Robert diligently engaged in speech, physical, and occupational therapies. When he was moved to a rehab facility located near the workplace of his friend, Nelly, she began visiting him regularly to brighten his day. As Robert’s communication developed from blinking to texting, his friendship with Nelly also blossomed into a relationship and eventually marriage. This week on the podcast, Robert and Nelly are sharing their story of God’s generous provision through seasons of disability, recovery, marriage, and caregiving. And as Robert approaches his 10-year anniversary of paralysis, he is thrilled that in God’s providence, he has found his voice to record his first podcast interview alongside Nelly!
Mental Illness and the Church – Tara Groff
On our previous episode of the podcast, Tara Groff shared candidly about her journey with schizophrenia over the past three decades. As a wife and mother, she has experienced God’s sustaining love even through the devastating and debilitating symptoms of her mental illness.
In addition to the support services Tara receives, God has provided two consistent mercies in her life: biblical counseling and her church. This week on the podcast, Tara is sharing about her church community who have walked with her through challenges, providing fellowship and biblical care that have kept her grounded.
Walking with God through Schizophrenia – Tara Groff
Tara Groff is a wife and mother who’s experienced God’s sustaining love through more than 30 years of living with schizophrenia. Today she’s sharing how mental illness has impacted her life and relationships, including her relationships with God and the church.
Although schizophrenia impacts every interaction, there is a path forward: gospel hope. Be encouraged by Tara’s joyful spirit, even through grief, as she trusts God in her daily challenges with a debilitating affliction.
Growing Up with a Neurodegenerative Disease: Friedrich's Ataxia – Stephanie Magness
Like most young women, Stephanie Magness wanted to fit in, to be like her friends and classmates. But in 7th grade when she learned she had scoliosis, Stephanie began an unexpected decade-long journey of misdiagnosis that was eventually confirmed to be Friedrich’s ataxia (FA), a rare neurodegenerative disease that has no cure.
This week on the podcast, Stephanie is sharing about being diagnosed with FA at age 22 and the unexpected ways her life has changed because of this progressive disease. Although losing some of her abilities related to walking and communication has not been easy, Stephanie has faced each challenge with the support of her community who have reminded her of God’s love in the most surprising of ways.
How to Pray for Our Country on National Day of Prayer
Today marks the 70th annual National Day of Prayer. As people across the country set aside time to intercede for our nation, Joni and Friends is leading this special time of prayer under the theme “Lord Pour Out Your Love, Life, and Liberty.”
On this episode of the podcast, we invite you to pray along with Joni Eareckson Tada, Pastor Shawn Thornton, Steve Bundy, and other special guests as we lift up our country’s centers of influence, along with those most vulnerable. Download our prayer points to pray along!