New England Family Retreat Brings Refreshment and Connection to Families Living with Disability

By |Published On: January 20, 2023|Categories: Family Retreats|
A family photo of Josh, Jessy, and their kids Liz and Sam.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”

1 John 3:1

Josh and Jessy have two children: sixteen-year-old Liz and ten-year-old Sam whose autism brings a unique set of joys and challenges to his whole family.

From the time Sam was two years old his parents noted differences from what they had observed in Liz at the same age. From severe sleep difficulties to anxiety to gastric issues, Sam’s struggles prompted Josh and Jessy to begin a six-year journey of medical advocacy in search of a diagnosis.

Receiving Sam’s autism diagnosis provided some answers for Josh and Jessy, the revelation also demanded a new kind of faith.

Seeking support and tools to navigate life with disability, Josh and Jessy reached out to a local pastor who suggested that they attend a Joni and Friends Family Retreat for Christ-centered fellowship, spiritual renewal, respite, and fun.

While the idea of Family Retreat appealed to Sam’s family, Sam didn’t initially want to go; and while Josh and Jessy craved respite from their daily responsibilities, they feared that Sam’s anxiety and need for routine would be stretched if they left home for Family Retreat.

But, thanks to many faithful prayers, despite being overwhelmed by a new environment initially, Sam’s one-on-one volunteer helped him—and his whole family—relax and enjoy everything Jesus had for them throughout the week. Sam’s 16-year-old sister, Liz, loved the freedom and activities designed specifically for her and other teens who have a sibling with a disability.

She also had time with both of her parents at the same time, something that rarely happens at home, and enjoyed that special attention.

Josh and Jessy’s trust in God has been strengthened mightily through the incredible answers to prayer they experienced at Family Retreat.

Sam and his mom smiling as they lean on each other side by side.

“I feel refreshed and motivated!” Josh said at the end of Family Retreat.

Josh and Jessy’s trust in God grew mightily because of their experience at Family Retreat. They also shared that their children had a blast and can’t wait to come back.

When you support Joni and Friends New England, more families like Sam’s, living with disability, find hope, refreshment, and deep connection with the body of Christ.

Support Joni and Friends New England

Your gift today will bring hands-on help and Gospel hope to families with disability, both in New England and around the world!

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