Joni and Trevor: Ambassadors for Life

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Trevor Hendershot and Joni Eareckson Tada
Trevor Hendershot and Joni Eareckson Tada (photo courtesy of Robert Hendershot)
When I look at the photos of Joni Eareckson Tada and Trevor together, I can’t help but think about how both of them, in their own unique ways, joyfully proclaim God’s message that every human being is incredibly precious, infinitely valuable and eternally significant.

When our family was invited to attend Focus on the Family’s “Live” event in Southern California this past November, we figured it would be a special evening.

Along with my wife, Melissa, and our son, Trevor – who has Down syndrome – I had previously enjoyed the privilege of visiting Focus on the Family for a broadcast taping about “Shining a Positive Light on Down Syndrome.” The Nov. 11 Orange County event was the first night of Focus’ five-city pro-life tour, and we would be in the audience this time, witnessing a live interview with Jim Daly, John Fuller and special guest Joni Eareckson Tada.

We have followed Joni’s incredible journey of faith, read her inspiring books and heard her pro-life message many times over the years. We knew that she became a quadriplegic as a young adult and has dedicated her life to supporting the disabled. Yet we had only admired her from afar. That night
we learned that the in-person Joni was more genuine than we ever imagined.

Trevor, Melissa and I first encountered Joni during the pre-event reception. Joni arrived soon after we did, and she quickly took notice of Trevor. Everyone parted to make room as her wheelchair quickly rolled over to where we were standing.

Joni, meet Trevor

“I’m Joni,” she said with a smile. “What’s your name?”

“I Trevor!” he replied.

“How old are you Trevor?”

“I 29!”

“Trevor,” Joni asked, “what brings you joy in life?”

“I love singing worship songs!” he said. “I work for Angels, Ducks, Rams and Trojans!”

“I love singing worship songs, too!” Joni said. “What do you do for those teams?”

I shared with Joni how Trevor was hired as the team store greeter by the Los Angeles Angels in 2012, the Anaheim Ducks in 2013, and the Los Angeles Rams and USC Trojans in 2018. I told her that over those
years, Trevor has become known, admired and often loved by tens of thousands of sports fans, fellow employees, team executives and professional athletes.

“Wow, I’m very impressed!” Joni said. “It’s been such a blessing to meet you, Trevor! I will continue to pray for you and that you continue to glorify God while you work.”

When I look at the photos we took of Joni and Trevor together that night, I can’t help but think about how both of them, in their own unique ways, are ambassadors for life: joyfully proclaim God’s message that every human being is incredibly precious, infinitely valuable and eternally significant.

Buoyed by his interaction with Joni, Trevor spent the rest of the evening meeting new people and engaging in conversation with one and all.

‘Do you love life?’

Joni spoke passionately about pro-life issues that night. She shared with Jim and John how God created
all of us in His image, how we should treat people with disabilities with the utmost dignity, and how we should therefore continue to fight for the sanctity of all human life. She expressed great sorrow that babies diagnosed in the womb with Down syndrome are too often aborted because so many assume that they will bring little “value” to society and never experience a truly happy or fulfilling life.

Amazingly, she then addressed the crowd of several hundred people: “My new friend Trevor is here tonight. He’s 29 years old and has Down syndrome. Please stand up, Trevor.”

He stood up to great applause.

“Trevor,” Joni asked, are you happy?”

“Yes, I am!”

“Trevor, do you love your life?”

“Yes, I do!”

Joni turned back to the audience.

“Trevor,” she said, “like all people with disabilities, provides undeniable proof that every child is here for a reason … perhaps especially those the world thinks are imperfect. Thank you for being with us here tonight, Trevor!”

Our son sat down to even greater applause.

A heart-breaking statistic

I went on a men’s retreat a few years back where the visiting pastor challenged us, “Find out what breaks your heart, because that’s where God is calling you into ministry.”

Melissa and I taught Sunday school when all three of our sons were younger. I’ve spoken about drug and alcohol issues at college fraternities and led several Bible studies. We’ve fed the homeless on skid row
and sung Christmas carols at nursing homes. While these were all “good” things, they weren’t done out of a broken heart.

What breaks my heart is that 70% to 90% of preborn babies in the United States diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. Some European countries are even striving to be “Down-syndrome free.” In other countries, boys born with Down syndrome are sold into back-breaking slave labor; girls are sold into lives of prostitution. The potential fates of children who have Down syndrome are what break my heart.

We learned of a woman who was pregnant with a child who had Down syndrome. She was unsure of what to do at first, but after meeting Trevor she decided to carry her child to term.

One stadium at a time

We recognized that Trevor had some cool jobs with sports teams, but we started to wonder if there could be more to it. Perhaps we could try to replicate what Trevor does at other athletic venues around the country by by encouraging teams to hire individuals who have Down syndrome to work as greeters at their stadiums.

Maybe then, when a woman discovers she’s pregnant with a child who has Down syndrome, someone could tell her, “Before you do anything, go see ‘Tommy’ at the local stadium.” Or, “Say hello to ‘Susie’ at the local arena.” These ambassadors for life could lead to saving the lives of even more babies who have Down syndrome.

Two years ago, we formed nonprofit called Angels for Higher to promote the hiring of individuals with Down syndrome to work as greeters in sports stadiums, athletic venues and college campuses across the country – and eventually around the world. Angels for Higher has enjoyed success this past year as sports venues have come to appreciate how employing our greeters helps their brand, their business and their reputation in the community.

Along the way, Angels for Higher’s greeters joyfully demonstrate the message that every human being is incredibly precious, infinitely valuable and eternally significant in God’s sight. It’s our prayer to transform the pro-life, special needs culture of the world – one sports stadium at a time.

Like Joni said that night, we’re all here for a reason.

Dynamic CTA Template Below

Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
Emerson-Eggerich4-840w

Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.
Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

Read More About:

You May Also Like

Laura Huene prepares to meet pearl, her daughter who isn't supposed to live.
Adverse Diagnosis

Feeling Alone: Pearl Pt. 3

I throw myself into making arrangements for the end: a care plan for Pearl at birth, as well as how we will hand her into the arms of Jesus.

Palacios Family - Show Hope
Adoption

Let’s See Where Hope Goes

What if we could further journey with families, once adoption has been finalized, by offering Medical Care grants to help offset healthcare expenses?

Tell Your Story

By sharing your struggles and triumphs, God can transform your courage into hope and faith for others.

see life episode 1 coming soon version

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!