Fulfilling Jesus’ command to love and serve “the least of these” landed Andra Eason at Joni and Friends, a ministry that communicates the gospel and equips Christ-honoring churches worldwide to evangelize and disciple people affected by disabilities.
“I’ve seen firsthand how difficult their lives can be on a daily basis. It is not uncommon to hear stories from families that have children with disabilities that tell us they have been unable to attend church as a family for months or years,” Andra says.
“Even when churches are welcoming, there are seldom programs to accommodate their special needs children.”
Andra’s first exposure to Joni and Friends came through Mark Hoffman and Melissa Myers, and those eventually led to employment with the organization. In her time there, she’s served as Project Coordinator, Program Manager, Director of Family Retreats and team leader on two different mission trips. She’s seen first hand the difference made in our community.
“Through Family Retreats I have seen families built up spiritually, emotionally and physically as these families were given the spiritual encouragement they needed…I have seen children learn that God has a purpose in their lives and their disabilities are no accident. The ministry works with churches all over the Charlotte area and has begun support groups, disability programs, raised awareness and contributed to the overall wellbeing of families through Family Retreats. Additionally, I have seen volunteers find meaning and purpose.”
On a personal level, working with Joni and Friends has also made Andra more aware of individuals with disability and what is available to them.
“I met a young man out and about who is a quadriplegic. I initiated a conversation with him and discovered that he did not believe anyone would want to talk to him… I sat and talked to him and recommended a local support group that is also a Bible study. Recently this young man asked me how he can give back to his community because he was inspired by Joni’s story and what she has been able to accomplish in her life.”