Joni Eareckson Tada


Joni Eareckson Tada and her husband
Photo via Joni and Friends

Adam Navis and Christy VanArragon tell the story of Joni Eareckson Tada. She suffered a major injury that changed her life

Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Adam Navis.

Voice 2 

And I’m Christy VanArragon. Spotlight uses a special English method of Broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

It was a sunny day on the East coast of the United States. Joni Eareckson Tada was 17 years old. She was standing by a lake. Tada began a strong dive into the water. She did not know that in a moment her life would change forever. Today’s Spotlight is on the amazing life of Joni Eareckson Tada.

Voice 2 

Tada dove head-first into the lake. But the water was not deep. She hit her head on the bottom of the lake. She heard a loud quick noise. After that, she could not move. Tada was trapped under the water. She wanted to call for help. But she could not open her mouth under the water. No matter how hard she tried, Tada could not get up. She did not understand what was happening. She was holding her breath. But she could not last much longer under the water.

Voice 1 

Finally, Tada’s sister, Kathy, pulled her out of the water. Tada could finally breathe. But she still could not move her arms or legs. An emergency vehicle brought Tada to the hospital. She was very frightened. She asked Kathy to hold her hand while they were waiting. Kathy told Tada that she was already doing that. Tada was surprised. She could not feel her sister’s hand.

Voice 2 

At the hospital, doctors discovered that Tada had broken an important bone in her neck. She was now a quadriplegic. She could not feel or move any part of her body below her shoulders. And this condition would never change. Tada was in the hospital for a long time. She thought she would probably die. She did not die. But her life, as she knew it, had changed completely.

Voice 1 

Tada experienced intense depression for a long time. At first, she could not accept what had happened to her. She thought it was unfair that she would never move her body again. She was angry that her life had changed so much. She wanted to die. She wrote about her experiences:

Voice 3 

“I asked many of my friends to assist me in suicide. I wanted to find a final escape. I could not face the possibility of sitting down for the rest of my life without the use of my hands, without the use of my legs. All my hopes seemed destroyed.”

Voice 2 

But then Tada began to have more hopeful thoughts. She was a Christian. Before the accident, she felt like she was not living her life very well. She had prayed that God would change her. She wanted to be a better person. And now, after months of depression Tada had a new idea. She wondered if the accident might have been God’s answer to her prayer. Tada began to study the Christian Bible. She read what God teaches about pain, suffering, and healing. Tada says:

Voice 3 

“I have discovered that God can heal. He does heal. But he is not required to heal... He has shown me that my suffering is part of a better plan.”

Voice 1 

Today Tada believes that her accident was the beginning of a long and difficult process. It was the process of becoming more like Jesus Christ. Tada writes:

Voice 3 

“God used this injury to develop in me patience and endurance and tolerance and self-control and steadfastness and sensitivity and love and joy. Those things did not matter much to me when I was on my feet. But, oh boy, they began to matter after I began living in a wheelchair.”

Voice 2 

Tada learned that her worth did not depend on being able to move her body. Instead, she could use her situation to help people who were dealing with suffering. And Tada has done this in many ways. She has written over 50 books for people of all ages. Tada learned to paint beautiful pictures. She paints by holding a paintbrush in her mouth! Tada has also worked with government officials to help people with disabilities. She is a singer, a speaker, a writer, an actor, a wife, and an encouragement to many people.

Voice 1 

Tada is the president of a group called Joni and Friends. It is a group that helps people with disabilities in many countries. Every day Joni broadcasts a short radio program for Joni and Friends. Her program is broadcast in many different countries. She tries to help people understand pain and suffering. She encourages everyone to work with people with disabilities. Nate Dell works with Spotlight English. He went to see Joni Eareckson Tada at a conference in 2015. He told Spotlight how she changed the way he thinks:

Voice 4 

“I had heard of Joni before I ever got to see her speak. Before, her quadriplegia seemed to be just a discussion starter for her message. But Joni parked her chair right beside where I was sitting! And I saw how her disability affects every part of her life. She had two women helping her. They held a water bottle for Joni to drink from. They helped her wipe her nose. They even adjusted her clothing. I do all of these things without even thinking about it! Joni’s message is that God loves us – even through difficult circumstances and suffering. Hearing this message from a wheelchair was very powerful.”

Voice 2 

Tada has continued to have struggles. She often has problems with her muscles. She feels a lot of pain. In 2010 Tada had treatment for breast cancer. But throughout all these difficulties, Tada kept her trust in God. She says:

Voice 3 

“My weakness, that is, my quadriplegia, is my greatest strength. It forces me into the arms of Christ every single morning when I get up.”

Voice 1 

In 2014 Tada recorded a song. It became very famous. Over a million people watched the Youtube video of “Alone But Not Alone.” We end today’s program with some words from this song. They show Joni Eareckson Tada’s faith, and the strength it brings her every day of her life.

Voice 3 

“I will not be bent in fear.
God is the shelter I know is near.
In His strength I find my own.
By His faithful mercies shown.
When my steps are lost and desperate for a guide,
I can feel his touch, a soothing presence by my side.
I am alone yet not alone.”

Voice 2 

The writers of this program were Liz Waid and Rena Dam. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Joni Eareckson Tada’.

Voice 1 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

How do you deal with difficult situations in your life?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Emília monte
said on November 28, 2015

Congratulation Spotlight for beautifuls and deeps broadcasting for to learn English, is absolutally the best way to the learning the language and make a hug reflexicion about the life, meaning, what is intenselly gratifying.

Avatar Spotlight
Truongbinh1996
said on December 05, 2016

Thanks for Spotlight. A writing was very nice and meaningful. It had seemed to help a lot of people .

Avatar Spotlight
kenhieuloilam
said on December 08, 2016

We have difficulties and challenges in life. We always make much effort to live a beautiful good life. We do not know what will happen to us tomorrow. If it is not by the grace of God we will not be able to live a holy life. We live our faith life. We are witnesses of presence of God in our lives. When we have God we have the beautiful good things and the kingdom of God. When we do not have God we lose all. We always make much effort to keep away from not good things and become better every day. We live in God, with God and by the power of God. It is by the grace of God we can live a holy life. When we do not have God we lose all.

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Dela
said on December 10, 2016

The heroic woman Tada was successful, in spite of the serious physical handicap, to endure, fight terrible suffering, pain and depression. With the help of strong belief in God’s blessing and support Tada could perceive how she can change her mind coming on in her further life.
Moreover, Tada wanted to help other people with similar disabilities to understand pain and suffering, so that her own example represents the great encouragement to these handicapped persons.
From this amazing story we should learn that even through suffering, difficulties in life we can get the new positive mental power, expectation and determination as well!
Thanks Spotlight for another excellent topic!
Greetings!

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on January 14, 2017

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To: spotlight programme
Subject: answer to the question above
Date: Saturday 14, January 2017
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Liz Waid, Christy VanArragon, Rena Dam, Adam Navis, and Michio Ozaki:

At first, I want to thank you for bringing us readers and learners of English more one great article, thanks!
Everybody has a bad moment in his or her life. However, when it happens with me, I put the problem on God’s hands. So, He gives me a solution of the problem very quickly.

Your regards,
Severino Ramos
Brazil