Family Retreat is a Time of Refreshment

By |Published On: March 14, 2023|Categories: Family Retreats|

Kate and Laura, a mother-daughter duo, were one of the 113 families that Joni and Friends Pennsylvania got to serve over three weeks of Family Retreat this past summer.

Meet Kate and Laura…

This mother-daughter duo is quick to share how much Family Retreat has meant to their lives. Laura was born 36 years ago with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and needs 100% care for her needs. Kate’s appendix ruptured when she was four months pregnant. Kate was able to carry Laura a few more months, but she was born prematurely.

“Everything I do is done times two. Laura is attached to me because I understand and meet all her needs. And I am attached to her because a mother’s love runs deep and strong and has no limit. I am not sure I know who I am without her,” says Kate.

Laura and Joni side by side in their wheelchairs smiling at each other.

Finding Family Retreat

Kate heard Joni sing on a radio program in 1991 and she felt an immediate connection. In 1995 their family of four attended Family Retreat at Spruce Lake for the first time.

Kate said, “That first Family Retreat was just three months after my mom passed away. It was a very healing time for me. It gave me hope.” 

Even when only Kate and Laura can attend, they never want to miss the community, respite, and encouragement they find through Joni and Friends.

“At Family Retreat… I can give Laura all of me and it is an incredibly special mother-daughter time,” says Kate. 

While life at home can feel lonely and isolating, the worship, women’s groups, prepared meals, and volunteer buddies make Family Retreat a refreshment to Laura’s whole family.

As Kate says: “Joni and Friends Family Retreat is my breath of fresh air. It’s a little piece of heaven. It rejuvenates me for another year. The worship times, messages from the retreat pastor, women’s groups, friendships, and meals that I do not have to prepare or clean up—everything about Family Retreat is life changing for me.”   

When you partner with Joni and Friends Pennsylvania, you give families like Laura’s the gifts of care, respite, and deep friendship.

Most importantly, you can reach families living with disability and give them the opportunity to hear the Good News that Jesus loves them, cares for them, and is with them always.

Laura in her wheelchair smiling at the camera with her Joni and Friends buddy next to her smiling as well.
A photo of a Joni and Friends volunteer (Sib Charles) holding up a quilt on stage.

Support Joni and Friends Pennsylvania

Fun Fact: In Kate’s “spare time,” she has created beautiful quilts as gifts. Here is the quilt she made for the 20th anniversary of Pennsylvania Joni and Friends Family Retreat, presented to one of our staff members in 2011.

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