Talent, tears and water balloons

Talent, tears and water balloons

An awkward yet beautiful dance, an off-key song, a child stumbling into his father’s arms … these are the images emblazoned into my (Papa Chopstix’s) mind after being a part of a Joni and Friends Family Retreat.  An elegant old hot springs hotel in the quiet countryside provided a perfect backdrop for refreshing activities for 30 children with disabilities and their parents.  With tears welling up I thought, “These children and their parents are my new heroes.”  What these families do day in and day out is truly amazing.  For them to have this time of relaxation is very rare.  Joni and Friends combines a service team from the USA with local volunteers and our family served alongside them. Children had various diagnoses including cerebral palsy, autism, Down’s syndrome and hearing impairment, and each one was paired with a volunteer so all the adults could fully participate in the activities.  The activities included consultations with doctors, a physical therapist, a special education teacher, and a professional counselor.  There were lectures, group sharing, all day activities for the children, a carnival, swimming, and the beautiful talent show.  How deeply this weekend impressed upon me that indeed we are all created in the image of God and have inherent value, dignity and worth.





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