“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
Don, his wife, Yolo, and their three children find faith, hope, and love at Family Retreat. Joel is 17 and has a language processing disorder, dyslexia, and a learning disability. Eli is 11 and has autism. Their sister, Daniela, is 15 and neurotypical.
Both Joel and Eli deal with social challenges related to their disabilities. For Joel finding belonging with peers at school often proves difficult. He doesn’t understand sarcasm and can miss social cues. After COVID-19, Eli struggled with the transition back to the regular classroom and, for a season, had a hard time making friends.
But at Family Retreat, this whole family finds belonging and joy. Here’s what each family member has to say about the Family Retreat experience:
“Family Retreat is my kind of place to be. When I’m at Family Retreat, I have a buddy to talk to. Family Retreat is a life-changer to me because I hear about Jesus and what he has done for me.”
“I have fun and make friends! Everybody cheers and claps for us when we get to Family Retreat. It makes me feel good and know that Family Retreat is about Jesus.”
“For my family, Family Retreat is a place where we feel welcomed and loved for who we are. I started crying when we first arrived because I felt so loved and so happy for my brothers. Being the middle sibling of two brothers with disabilities can feel isolating, but at Family Retreat I don’t have to worry about taking care of my brothers. I get to be independent and just be me.”
“At Family Retreat, Daniela gets quality time with other siblings who deal with the same things she does. They get rest and renewal because they’re caregivers, too. And the most important thing about Family Retreat is that it’s rooted in Christ. When we return home from Family Retreat, we take peace with us.”
“I see God in the hearts of all the volunteers. It’s a wonderful experience to actually see hope. Family Retreat offers families the healing process. Parents might come here angry about their circumstances, but at Family Retreat they learn that God doesn’t make mistakes.”
Through Joni and Friends, Don, Yolo, and their children not only experience the joy of Christ—they’ve also found a shared mission: to encourage others to attend and volunteer at Joni and Friends Retreats & Getaways.
You can join this amazing family in making it possible for more families to attend Family Retreats, both at home and across the globe. When you give financially or volunteer with Joni and Friends, you deliver faith, hope, and the love of Jesus to people living with disabilities.