Fathers of Children with Disabilities Share Journey from Helplessness to Hope

Authors from Joni and Friends portray ‘Another Kind of Courage’

AGOURA HILLS, Calif., March 31, 2014 – Fathers of disabled children often don’t know where to turn for answers. Likewise, wives don’t understand the emotions their husbands’ experience. But now Doug Mazza and Steve Bundy have written a book for every man who has experienced that feeling of helplessness — “Another Kind of Courage: God’s Design for Fathers of Families Affected by Disability.”

Mazza, President and Chief Operating Officer of Joni and Friends, a worldwide ministry serving people affected by disability, and Bundy, Vice President of the ministry’s Christian Institute on Disability, have sons with genetic disorders.

Their book will go on sale at www.joniandfriends.org in mid-April, which is National Autism Awareness Month.

Mazza’s son Ryan was born with severe facial and skull deformities, and doctors expected him to live only a few moments. After he lived for two weeks,   Ryan underwent the first of 13 brain and skull surgeries he would experience in his first three years of life, leaving him severely physically and developmentally disabled.

Mazza has found that other fathers coping with the onset of a child’s disability had experiences remarkably similar to his.

As he revisited that time during the writing of this book, Mazza recalled “the seemingly endless days of medical tests and the sleepless nights spent searching to understand medical terms you can’t even pronounce and through it all feeling powerless to help takes an incredible toll. As a man, you know how it is:  we want problems we can fix.”

Eventually, Mazza realized that his own strength was not sufficient and he turned to God for answers. Bundy had a similar experience with his son Caleb, whose disabilities include muscular dystrophy  and autism.

One night when he was two, Caleb awoke in the middle of the night, crying, and Bundy went to his room to comfort him. After Caleb went back to sleep, Bundy began wondering why God didn’t “fix” Caleb’s disabilities.

But then Bundy experienced a revelation, almost as if God were talking to him: “Son, aren’t you glad that I didn’t require you to be fixed before I accepted you?” Bundy realized that he was the one who needed to be “fixed” – learning to love Caleb just as he was, as God had designed him.

The book also tells the story of other fathers of children with disabilities who had to come to grips with their own powerlessness. “God is never more in control than when we feel out of control,” Bundy writes.

Mazza explains that it can be a long journey finding blessing in what seems like tragedy, but decades later, he rejoices that “Ryan is still with me and I wouldn’t have missed being his father for anything in the world.”

For more information on the book, please visit www.joniandfriends.org/.

For 35 years, Joni and Friends has worked to accelerate ministry to the disability community around the world, offering a wide array of life-affirming ministries, including the Christian Institute on Disability; the International Disability Center; international radio and television programs filled with inspirational stories; Wheels for the World, which every year gives thousands of individuals wheelchairs and the life-giving message of the Gospel; and Family Retreats, where families affected by disability learn they are not alone.

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Note to Editors: For more information or to arrange an interview with Doug Mazza or Steve Bundy, contact Steve Yount or Melany Ethridge of A. Larry Ross Communications at 972.267.1111, steve@alarryross.com or melany@alarryross.com