National Volunteer Week - Interview with Emily

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • April 11, 2014

Emily volunteering at Joni and FriendsHow did you get involved with Joni and Friends?
I have known since early childhood that I wanted to work with people with disabilities. I went to preschool at a school for children with severe disabilities as a peer mentor. I believe at the very core of my being that the Lord put me there to put His love for His children with disabilities in my heart. By the time I was in high school, I was on a perpetual quest to find opportunities to be involved in disability ministry. I had heard Joni’s story when I was very young; I picked up a cassette tape at the store, simply because it had a person in a wheelchair on the cover. Little did I know that her story and her ministry would become such a large part of my heart and my life. 

How has your service influenced others?
When I was a senior in high school, a family friend told me about Joni and Friends Family Retreats and encouraged me to apply. The Lord made a way and I served as an STM for the first time in 2006. I knew in those five short, blessed days that my heart had found its home. I am now a special education teacher for high school students with moderate to intense disabilities. My time serving with Joni and Friends has influenced my teaching philosophy including how to interact with families affected by disabilities. I approach parent-teacher conferences, intervention meetings, and staff collaboration in a different way, now that I know what a unified team of people can do in the lives of families affected by disability. 

How has your service with Joni and Friends impacted your life?
As a senior in high school, I knew that the Lord wanted me involved in ministering to people with disabilities. Finding Joni and Friends Family Retreats was just like a hug from the Lord and a confirmation that I was indeed created with the desire and vision to change the world through disability ministry. My work with Joni and Friends has deepened my relationship with my Lord, it has called me to deeper service, and has given me friendships and kinship with brothers and sisters in Christ that are beyond my imagination. I have learned so much about Jesus and how magnificent He is through Joni and Friends. I have seen the body of Christ operate in a way that I have never seen anywhere else on this planet. Each summer, I eagerly anticipate how the Lord is going to outdo Himself at Family Retreat. I am so blessed and humbled to be part of this world-changing ministry!! 


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Emily, It was such a pleasure to see you in action and serve with you this year at the Family Retreat. I love the way you adore Jesus and then you radiate His love. May He continue to reveal His magnificent Self to you!!
  • July 16, 2014
  • 2:09 p.m.
  • Carol Key
Emily, I've worked with you at Family retreats and witnessed your genuine love for others through our Lord's power. He is awesome working in and through you. Persevere!
  • April 25, 2014
  • 6:17 p.m.
  • Margie
Thank You Emily! God Bless You! "Joni and Friends" and Family Retreats have a very special place in my heart and life.
  • April 11, 2014
  • 3:34 p.m.
  • Nancy
I am so blessed by Emily's life and love for the disabled . . .she has such a joyful spirit. . . Love this girl much
  • April 11, 2014
  • 3:02 p.m.
  • Jackie Biddle