Unification News for October 1998

Disability and Spirituality - JONI by Joni Eareckson Tada

Zondervan Publishing House, NYC, $10.99
Reviewed by Cathi Close-Arlington, VA

JONI (pronounced "Johnny") is not only an unforgettable story but Joni, herself, is an unforgettable person. Paralyzed from the neck down at the age of sixteen as a result of a diving accident, Joniís life, as she knew it, changed forever. This is her story, written from the heart, about her experience. From agony to acceptance to rebirth, Joni transcended her physical condition to find true spiritual purpose and joy.

During the process of rehabilitation, Joni learned to write and draw by using her mouth to hold pencils and paintbrushes. Her artwork is astounding, incredibly detailed and professional. Joni also founded the PTL (Praise the Lord) ministry which reaches out to aid handicapped people throughout the world. Her spirit and determination are truly amazing as is her faith and love for God.

Our family had the unique opportunity to hear Joni Tada speak, in person, this past spring at a local Christian church. Physically, she is a beautiful woman who bears an interesting resemblance to the late Princess Diana. Spiritually, one feels to be in the presence of an American Mother Teresa.

Joni openly shares her long cherished dream to finally be free of her disability, to meet Jesus in Heaven and to dance with him. But first, she says, sheíll send her wheelchair to hell (with a thank-you and good riddance). She looks forward to the day when sheíll be able to wipe away her own tears, but until then, will continue to work tirelessly to aid, encourage, inspire and uplift handicapped people everywhere.

Wheels for the World is a project initiated by PTL ministry. Itís purpose is to collect and restore previously owned wheelchairs. The chairs are personally delivered to people in need in many areas ranging from American cities and towns to small rural villages in Africa. People who may have spent their lives being dragged around in a cardboard box or pulling themselves through the mud or even of being shut up in a windowless room in a hut are given new freedom through the gift of these wheelchairs. In addition, Joni never neglects to deliver, along with the chair, a Bible which offers the promise of an even more important spiritual freedom.

Recently Joni has published a shorter version of her autobiography for young readers (8 - 12) which sells for only $5. There is also a video available based on her book in which Joni plays herself.

Most Christian bookstores stock or can order JONI. Or you can call 1-800-523-5777 for ordering information direct from the PTL ministry. Many other materials are available as well as information on services, missions and retreats for handicapped children and their families. Contact Joniís website at http://www.jafministries.com.

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