These past few months ofjumping into ministry have been some of the more exhilarating times our
lives. We feel so grateful to be able to focus our full-time efforts on
sharing the hope of the Lord through so many different mediums. Our
big question--and perhaps EVERYONE'S--has always been, "What are you going to do with your one, precious life? How can we
STEWARD OUR STORY, LEVERAGE OUR LOT to its best and highest use?"
Taking this small story of hurt and hope, of one little family in one
little place in this big world and offering it to God, then combining
our platform, talents, passions, and relationships, all this has been
the heart of launching the ministry of Hope Heals. We want to tell the story that only we can tell (and not just our story) in a way that only we can tell it.
That being said, it's been extremely eye-opening to see the realities of
organizing and running what is effectively a small, start-up business
in one of the trickiest economies in recent history. Yet, God has shown
us again and again, that He will open up paths for our lives that draw
us to obedience and a deeper experience of life in Him.
We've purposefully connected to many other organizations doing non-profit/ministry work, from Claris Health to Charity Water, Bel Air Pres to She Dances. Across the board, ANY organization whose purpose is to somehow benefit the public good started with a story. Hope Heals is no different, though inherently what we have felt called to do is different than these organizations. So it's not totally surprising that we still occasionally get the question..."so what exactly does Hope Heals DO?"
Honestly, that small discouraging voice can still pop up in our heads saying, "What you are offering--the little thing you hold in your hands that is uniquely yours--is not all that important really, especially compared to other organizations that are actually saving lives, giving water, providing home and real help."
But then, a deep more resounding voice says, "This
little thing that you are offering is something that ONLY YOU can offer
because I've uniquely given it to you. What
I will do with it will look different than what I will do with others
and will even look different than what you think it will look like. You
will be used because you offer yourself up. And in your own way, you
WILL save lives, you will give water, you will provide home and help to
those looking for hope."
One of the most incredible gifts of this journey, certainly one of the handful
of reasons that God brought us to Los Angeles in the first place, was to
connect with an organization that is perhaps most analogous to Hope
Heals of any that we know--Joni E. Tada's "Joni and Friends".
Birthed out of her life's great tragedy, quadriplegia
at 17, Joni Tada has offered God the vessel of her broken body and He
has used her to mightily influence lives around the world for about 45
years with the message of the gospel--hope and healing for a hurting and
broken world. She created Joni and Friends as a way to share her story
and to connect to people struggling with pain and disability in various
mediums, through public speaking, writing, art, music, and the radio.
Over the years, her ministry has morphed into disability advocacy,
church education, respite camps for caregivers, and wheelchairs to third
world countries...just to name a few.
About 15 years ago, Doug Mazza, one of the top executives in the auto
industry, came aboard as the COO of Joni and Friends in the wake of his
own search for purpose in his vocation and the experience of a child
with disabilities. As COO, Doug has taken Joni and Friends to new
levels of global outreach and mission. We recently had the chance to
chat with him and hear of this incredible organization's journey. What
encouragement to our hearts to caste a vision for our ministry and our
lives. If God chose to use Hope Heals for 1/100th of the impact that
Joni and Friends has made in this world, we would be SO GRATEFUL!
Please pray for Joni and Friends in their work of bringing the hope of Christ to those disabled and to those who may not know their true disabilities. And please pray for us that we would be encouraged and empowered to do this work of hope that we feel uniquely called to do--we can't do it without you friends, thank you!