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Ministries Making a Difference

Joni and Friends, NRB members, Permian Oil Basin and Energy Ministry, Honor Flights Twin Cities

Joni and Friends last week announced on its podcast a new ministry initiative called Joni’s House. Joni’s House will include neighborhood centers set up in developing nations to provide care and help for people with disabilities. The centers will be “hubs for our Wheels for the World outreach, wheelchair repair, medical help, food distribution, micro enterprise. That is, job skills training.” The centers will partner with local churches and hospitals. The idea was birthed out of the pandemic as the challenges of COVID-19 exasperated already-difficult circumstances for people with disabilities—and as the ministry’s founder, Joni Eareckson Tada, endured (and overcame) a bout with COVID-19 herself. Eareckson Tada called Joni’s House her “legacy.”

Members of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) have been responding to ongoing needs wrought by the winter storms that ravaged Texas this month. Samaritan’s Purse, Convoy of Hope, Operation Blessing, and Somebody Cares have teams on site distributing bottled water, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers, blankets, as well as helping deal with the aftermath of busted pipes, downed trees, and water damage. Single-digit temperatures and unprecedented snowfall left millions without power and clean water. More than 80 people died throughout the Deep South, about half of them in Texas, according to WORLD

Many ministries have had to adapt due to the health challenges and restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Permian Oil Basin and Energy Ministry, which started as a ministry to oil-field workers in rural West Texas in 2019, has expanded with the help of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries to provide boxes of food to families in need and set up mobile medical centers for workers without insurance and access to medical care. 

Though not technically a religious organization, Honor Flights Twin Cities was started and is led by Christians Jerry and Jana Kyser in Minnesota. The nonprofit honors veterans of World War II and the Korean War by flying them to Washington D.C. free of charge to visit their memorials and remind them their sacrifices were not in vain. Jerry Kyser, a Vietnam veteran who struggled with PTSD and resentment, told WORLD the Honor Flights missions have given him purpose and been a healing experience. Honor Flights Twin Cities is one of more than 100 hubs for the national Honor Flights Network. COVID-19 has put Honor Flights on hold, but the organization hopes to resume services in summer 2021.

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Christina Darnell

Christina Darnell is a freelance writer who has contributed to WORLD, The Charlotte Observer, and other publications.