This summer, Joni and Friends, a leading international disability ministry, partnered with Shepherds College to provide eight disabled interns with the opportunity to serve on an overseas mission trip. These interns, who are students at Shepherds College, a fully accredited post-secondary program for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, traveled to Brazil on a ministry outreach.
During their time in Brazil, the Joni and Friends interns showcased the skills acquired through their program at Shepherds College by offering help and hope to individuals and families with disabilities. They served at a Joni and Friends International Family Retreat and at a church with hundreds of disability ministry participants. Additionally, the interns served meals to children facing food insecurity.
“You should go on a Joni and Friends trip because you will impact a thousand lives—not only others but yours as well,” said Amber, one of the interns.
Following the outreach, Mark Kahler, Manager of Joni and Friends University Relations and Global Missions Internships, commended the students for their dedication and shared,
“Each student had a servant’s heart and felt honored to be chosen for this trip, the first of its kind at Joni and Friends. It’s possible this is the beginning of a series of ministry trips for Shepherds students. The pioneers on this trip blazed a path for future students.”
Joni Eareckson Tada, the Founder and CEO of Joni and Friends who has been a quadriplegic for more than 55 years, emphasizes the importance of including people with disabilities in community, church, and ministry. She often says that you don’t have disability ministry until you have people with disabilities doing ministry. As an advocate for people with disabilities, Tada highlights the significance of not just including people with disabilities, but providing meaningful ways for them to contribute and find purpose.
Are you a student or young professional looking to learn more about serving people with disabilities? Our internship program will give you hands-on experience with ministering to people and families living with disability!