Heart for the Disabled #5: Ryan and Lisa

  • Jan. 11, 2013
  • #8010

When Ryan and Lisa realized more families like theirs needed help at church, they helped start a children’s ministry to bless others. Now you can bless them this Valentine’s Day!

Heart for the Disabled #5: Ryan and Lisa

I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and I am so blessed to have you as my friend.

And I'll tell you why you're such a blessing: you have sent some of the sweetest, most heartwarming, most God-glorifying, Christ-centered letters and cards of encouragement to the disabled people and their families I’ve been telling you about this week. You should see our mailroom! Oh, my goodness, I can’t wait for these families to spread all these cards and letters out on their living room floor or on their kitchen table and have their socks blessed off! But I have one last family to tell you about.

Ryan and Lisa have two children. Their oldest son is Nicholas who has autism. For the longest time their church had a “Buddy Ministry” and Nicholas had a buddy in his classroom, but that was just for Nicholas. His parents, Ryan and Lisa, had a real burden for other special needs families, friends that they had met through their support network, friends with children like Nicholas. So about a year ago, Lisa approached the Christian Ed Director at their church about starting a new class in the Children’s Ministry: a class specifically for children with special needs. It began very small, but when word spread to other moms and dads in the area, especially moms and dads of kids with autism, well it was real news in their little town. And now, 12 months later, this special needs class is huge and it’s called “Extraordinary Blessing.”

And, oh, are the blessings abounding to these worn-out and weary moms and dads; they can now bring their children with autism to church, knowing that they will fit right into the class of “Extraordinary Blessings”. Ryan and Lisa have been such faithful advocates for expanding the program; they work tirelessly and are such a great source of encouragement to all the other families. Ryan and Lisa are a serving family: Lisa works with the Children’s Ministry Director every Sunday, and if they are ever shorthanded, she is usually the first to volunteer to come and help. Get this: Ryan also cooks every Sunday! You see their church offers lunch after services and Ryan loves to pitch in and help. All this is pretty incredible because Nicholas’ special needs are very demanding, but this couple is thinking of others. That church just wouldn’t be complete without Lisa and Ryan — and Nicholas, too.

Still, the challenges of raising a son with significant autism can be pretty overwhelming, so this little family could use a word of encouragement. They are always giving and serving other, especially others with disabilities. So would you please jot them a note of thanks and heartfelt gratitude for their service in their church, in the kingdom of Christ. Cheer them on with a few scriptures or a favorite hymn. Thank Ryan and Lisa for always looking out for the interests of other special needs families. I think that’s so great!

Just send your card to Ryan, Lisa and Nicholas in care of Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, CA 91376. And if you missed any details on this family or any of the others I’ve mentioned this week, we have all the information you need on my radio page at joniandfriends.org. Finally, I want to say a special thanks to this wonderful station — my friends here at the station are totally behind our Heart for the Disabled campaign, and I so appreciate the staff and general manager for cheering us on at Joni and Friends.

Also, a special thanks goes out to all of you who have written cards and letters this week to the special needs families. I tell you what: you, my friend, have a genuine and true heart for the disabled. So, don’t forget to jot your note, the final one this week, to Ryan and Lisa and Nicholas. As you do, I know you will have the favor and blessing of our great and wonderful God! And thanks for making this week a real hearty week for the disabled.

© Joni and Friends


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