A Friend at All Times: more about the moms

22 04 2013


{If you’ve landed on this post and don’t know what A Friend at All Times is about, please take a minute and read the initial post in the series here. Thank you!}

I am the mother of a disabled young adult. Since Jacob’s near-fatal drowning in 1996, I’ve known firsthand the heartbreak, exhaustion, and frustration that caring for a disabled person can bring. I’ve ridden the roller coaster that soars to hope only to plunge to despair and then back again, with its monotonous click, click, click during long, slow climbs through drudgery and disappointment, to the sheer terror of an unexpected medical emergency.

I’ve seen the confused looks on strangers’ faces, the averted eyes, and even the disdain. And I’ve felt the sting, but I’ve also understood, because once upon a long time ago I wore some of the same faces.

I’ve known these trials, but I’ve also known the help of therapists and aides, the support of a loving husband who serves his family joyfully and well, and the sustaining prayers and comforting presence of true community. And I’ve had Jesus walking with me every step of the way.

I have not for one moment done this alone.


As I wrote in my initial post, that’s not the case for mothers of disabled children in Kazakhstan. They know the roller coaster all too well, but the support? That’s hard to find. Many children born with disabilities are abandoned or institutionalized, and if the parents do keep the child, the father often leaves the family and the mother becomes a full-time caregiver. Society shuns or ignores their children, and government pensions barely provide enough to survive. For these moms, loneliness and isolation come with the territory.

On top of all these hardships, very few of them know Christ. They haven’t experienced His peace, the comfort of His presence, and the assurance that all things are working together for good.

But the ones I’ll be speaking to this summer? They have learned to love and trust A Friend at All Times. They’ve seen their children blossom under the influence of compassionate leaders and an accepting community of peers. And they are deeply grateful.


Because of what their children have experienced, many of these moms are eager to come to their own version of camp. Opportunities to get away and relax are rare. But that’s not all the retreat will provide. Our hope is that they, like their children, will discover real, deep, ongoing community with each other, and our prayer is they will also become sisters in the truest sense of the word.

I’ve been asked to share our story, and that would be impossible to do truthfully without also declaring God’s goodness, faithfulness, purposes, and plans. That’s why I was invited in the first place — to comfort with the comfort I’ve received, and the best way I know to do that is to give them glimpses of the upside-down kingdom, where greatness isn’t based on intellect or physical ability or material wealth, but on serving the least, washing one another’s feet, and seeking the approval of only One.

The whole team is praying the moms will see, understand, and embrace God’s redeeming grace in Jesus Christ, and we’ll all be loving them toward that end.

But that’s not all we’ll be doing. We also want them to have lots and lots of fun.

So, I’m bringing my dancing shoes, and I expect we’ll do a line dance or two and (shhh, don’t tell anyone) maybe some Latin moves, because who can salsa with a frown on her face? We’ll play games and enjoy the beach and laugh together and cry together, and all the while there will be plenty of time to form friendships and swap stories and to lean back and simply receive for once.

When it’s all said and done, we want them to be blessed and refreshed in the name of Jesus.

Will you pray with us that God will come? That we will be His hands and feet, and the moms will feel welcome, safe, and celebrated? That the Lord will give them ears to hear and hearts to respond to His life-changing love? And please pray for me, that I’ll be sensitive to His voice, and the words I speak will be anointed with His power to transcend cultural differences and language barriers.

Pray they will behold the King in His beauty, and their hearts will break in the very best way.

As I type these words, my heart overflows with joy, because I know faithful friends will take these requests straight to the throne of grace, and that God will go before, and that even now He is preparing us all to receive what He has purposed and planned. What glorious mysteries. What amazing grace.

I love and appreciate you. (Yes, you.) And I’ll say it again, because I can’t seem to say it enough. Thank you.

* * *

Info for interested donors:

Donations can be made by check or credit card.
Please send checks (any amount appreciated!) to:

P.O. Box 1057
Cordova, TN 38088
901.458.9500 ext 223

Include a separate note indicating the gift is for
“Camp Scholarship, A Friend at All Times, Kazakhstan Young Life”
This category is not available for online giving at Orphanos,
but you can give by credit card at the phone number provided above.

$250 covers the cost of one camper
$200 covers the cost for a mom

Your gifts are tax deductible.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section.

Thank you!
(With all my heart.)

Previous posts in this series:
A Friend at all Times
A Friend at all Times: Meet Elina, Baxa, Dima, and Sasha
A Friend at all Times: Meet Aibolat, Sayat, Artyom, Azamat, and Azhara
A Friend at all Times: Meet Bogenbay, Bota, Dennis, Sasha, and Evgenia
A Friend at All Times: Camp Video



8 responses

22 04 2013
Tatia Cook

Wow, Jeanne…that photo! Strikingly beautiful (you!) and a sweet, sweet man 🙂 I’m printing this as a reminder to pray. I was struck by the stories of the ‘campers’, but this one? The moms? Struck to the core. Thank you for your faithfulness to what God is calling you to do!

27 04 2013

Thanks so much, sweet Tatia! I appreciate your prayers more than you know. Love you!

25 04 2013

Jeanne, this is such important work you’re doing. A true high calling. Sharing with our readers tomorrow as a featured post. Thanks for your beautiful writing and your heart for moms, especially those with extreme challenges!

27 04 2013

Thank you, Dena! I haven’t been online the past couple of days so just saw this. I appreciate your sharing with THC community so much! What a gift. Thanks for your encouragement and support. Love.

25 04 2013
Karen Zacharias (@karenzach)

Love this photo.

27 04 2013


12 05 2013
Deidra Riggs

Oh…have I missed this? Did you go already? Have you danced the salsa and I missed the chance to pray with you, as you go? Thank you for this work you do, and for all the ways you allow comfort to overflow…

13 05 2013

No, you didn’t miss it. I go on June 22. And please do pray! Thanks so much, Deidra. Love to you, friend.

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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