Meet Joy: A Story of New Hope Found at Family Retreat

By |Published On: July 13, 2022|Categories: Family Retreats|
Rose, a Family Retreat volunteer, and Joy stand side by side smiling in bright-colored blouses.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13

When she was little, Joy missed a few developmental benchmarks. She cried often, had seizures, and couldn’t walk. She was eventually diagnosed with development delays and epilepsy. Her mother, Rose, was advised to commit Joy to an institution.

But Rose wouldn’t give up on her daughter; she decided to “love her through it.”

Together, Joy and Rose have endured hours of treatments and therapies, and often had to deal with their challenges with little support. Amid the struggles, Joy persists, true to her name. She spoke her first words at age seven. Now, she can walk, dance, and sing. She has helped Rose become a fierce and loving advocate.

As for many, the pandemic added new hardships for Joy and Rose. Joy’s care program shut down and she began to regress in her social skills.

Despite the isolation and obstacles, Joy and Rose have a safe haven in Joni and Friends.

“Family Retreat is a place where you can just exhale. It’s a safe place. It’s a place where Joy feels like she matters, and people listen to her.”


After the pandemic, Rose felt nervous to return to Family Retreat. But God prepared the way!

“God met me at the door with a volunteer named Twila.”


Twila spent the week by Joy’s side—she was a perfect fit and immediate friend. Joy and Rose experienced the love of Christ anew at Family Retreat.

“Family Retreat is a place where people remember your name. They smile, and they are glad you are here!”


Going back home Rose and Joy face more uncertainty and trials. But the hope found at Family Retreat goes back with them. 

As Rose put it: “Joni and Friends doesn’t stay at Family Retreat. I come to Family Retreat to energize so I can go back to help people at home and leave them better than when I came. I take Joni and Friends to work, and to the market, and everywhere. I choose to see the good (God) in other people because Joni and Friends saw the good (God) in us.”

Since Family Retreat, Rose and Joy have continued to engage with the Joni and Friends community. Rose recently enjoyed a Ladies’ Pampering Day thanks to a respite outreach for caregivers. While there, not only did Rose receive a much-needed break, she was also blessed with a reminder of God’s loving care.

Thank you for your prayerful support, which allows Joni and Friends to reach families living with disability, like Rose and Joy.

When these families are tempted to give up, Joni and Friends says something different: You have a reason to hope—and that reason is Jesus Christ!

“We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.”

1 Timothy 4:10
A child smiling

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