After Multiple Years Attending Family Retreat, Deana Has Seen God Bless Both of Her Children

By |Published On: April 13, 2023|Categories: Family Retreats|

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”

2 Corinthians 1:3–5

When Lane was very young, his parents learned that his life would come with complications and challenges.

At three and a half, Lane got diagnosed with autism. At age five he needed heart surgery. Deana, Lane’s mom, has seen some members of their extended family and community struggle to fully embrace Lane. 

As Deana said: “The invitations don’t come. It is just easier to leave us out.”

Libby, Lane’s sister, has also noticed how people didn’t accept her brother.

She says, “It is hard to find friends who will embrace Lane as well.” 

Finding Family Retreat

When Lane’s parents divorced in 2017, the family’s isolation increased. During this lonely season Deana received an invitation to a Joni and Friends Family Retreat—and a full scholarship for the family to attend!

Arriving at Family Retreat, all fears about finding acceptance and belonging quickly faded, and turned into joy.

Throughout Family Retreat, Lane enjoyed paddleboarding, a costume dance, and many new friendships while Deana found refreshment amid Christ-centered community. Libby got to enjoy being a kid, not feeling responsible for her brother’s wellbeing.

Deana reflected that, “Joni and Friends allowed the hurts and challenges to be framed in a healthy context and conversation.”   

A picture of Lane with his two Joni and Friends buddies on either side of him, all smiling at the camera.

Where are they now?

After multiple years attending Family Retreat, Deana has seen God bless both of her children. She gave an update for each sibling:

  • Libby has grown from a timid, reluctant sibling to an enthusiastic volunteer and inclusion advocate.
  • Lane has made it a personal mission to provide scholarships so other families living with disability can experience full acceptance and the love of Jesus at Family Retreat! In 2022 Lane funded a full scholarship for a friend to attend Family Retreat. In 2023 he hopes to scholarship an entire family!

When you give to Joni and Friends Houston, you join Lane—and the Joni and Friends team—in sending more families to Family Retreat.

But that’s not all. With every donation you help fulfill the God-sized vision of Joni and Friends: a world where every person with a disability finds hope, dignity, and their place in the body of Christ.

Support Joni and Friends Texas

You can bless more families by helping us keep ministries like Joni and Friends Family Retreat going!

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