Oren and Ginger adopted their son Nick in 2019. Nick lives with a neurological disorder called Sturge-Weber syndrome as well as a seizure disorder and visual impairment. He is non-verbal and needs a wheelchair and a feeding tube. Because of his complex needs, and the needs of their three other children, Nick’s parents sometimes struggle to find time to rest and reconnect with one another…
The Blessing of Family Retreat
When Nick’s family came to a Joni and Friends Family Retreat in Louisiana, every member of the family got exactly what they needed—fun, fellowship, respite, and encouragement. For Nick, who was well cared for by his volunteer buddy (and her four-year-old son!), Family Retreat provided an opportunity to be part of a range of fun activities. He especially loved the splash pad, bubbles, and music, bringing joy to everyone he met with his big smiles.
With Nick having a blast and in good hands, his parents and siblings got rejuvenated, connecting with one another and with others who understand what it’s like living with disability. Bethany, Nick’s older sister served as a volunteer at Family Retreat while Nick and Bethany’s brother, Nate, also enjoyed all that the week had to offer.
Oren and Ginger particularly appreciated their conversations with other parents, listening to biblical teaching, and having time to rest. They, like all their children, can’t wait to come back to Family Retreat next year.
Family Retreat: Just the Beginning
Of course disability ministry goes far beyond the week of Family Retreat. For Oren and Ginger, the church encouragement seminar at Family Retreat offered just the encouragement and insight they needed. Returning to their home church where Oren serves as head pastor, they set about expanding and improving their disability ministry.
Today God is using Nick and his family to reach and love more families living with disability in their community. Oren and his team are working to expand his church’s current buddy ministry to make the full life of the church welcoming and accessible for people with disabilities. By Oren’s side, a team of dedicated volunteers can’t wait to see their disability ministry grow.
When you partner with Joni and Friends Louisiana, you make it possible for more families like Nick’s, and more churches like theirs, to be the hands and feet of Jesus to people with disabilities, at home and around the world.
Joni and Friends envisions—and works to create—a world where every person with a disability finds hope, dignity, and their place in the body of Christ. From Louisiana to countries across the globe, you can be part of this kingdom cause!