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Disability ministry to impact culture in U-S

By December 18, 2006

USA (MNN) — For more than a quarter of a century Joni and Friends has been serving people that have been affected by disability all over the world. The ministry is the voice of the disability community, while providing humanitarian aid and spiritual support at the same time.

Joni and Friends is just months away from moving into the Joni and Friends International Disability Center, says the organization’s president, Doug Mazza. This center will provide expanded space for growing programs such as Family Retreats, Wheels for the World, Field Ministries and Special Delivery.

It will also be the headquarters for the JAF International Policy Center. Mazza says the center will, “Deal with issues of life. (We’ll deal with) everything from stem cell research, abortion, euthanasia, all kinds of issues that affect people with disability and giving a Biblical view of those issues.”

Mazza says this will give Joni and Friends even more opportunities to not only lobby for the disabled, but also share a Christian worldview and the Gospel with the world.

The center will also develop curriculum on disability-related topics as well as offer internships, fellowships, and scholarships to students at Christian institutions of higher learning.

It will also offer training, says Mazza. “We will be training missionaries to learn more about international disability ministry as well as training those from the countries we’re currently working in, will come here and learn about the Joni and Friends programs and we’ll learn from them how to do more effective outreach.”

The 33,700 square foot facility is expected to be completed by March.

More than 900,000 people are touched by the Joni and Friends Wheels for the World, Family Camps or other humanitarian work globally, not to mention the 1-million people who listen to the radio broadcast each week.

Mazza says the center is, “A major step forward for us in the internationalizing of international disability ministry.”

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