People Who Inspire Joni: Francesca Naijipu

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • Nov. 28, 2016

FrancescaIt’s one thing to grow up with a disability in America, but quite another, in Africa – 36-year-old Francesca Naijipu was born into the Samburu tribe in Kenya; she had spina bifida. Because her tribe believed that her disability was a curse on the community, her grandmother prepared a lethal concoction to end Francesca’s life. Thankfully, her mother rescued her – from there, most of Francesca’s life was filled with rejection, abuse, and overwhelming hardship. One day when she was ‘scooting’ to school through the dirt, she was almost trampled by elephants! Her legs were so badly damaged from the long ‘walk’ to and from school, that she was admitted to a hospital for pressure wounds and infections. In the hospital, she learned about Christ… saw the Joni movie… read my book A Step Further… and embraced God's will for her life.

Now, many years later, Francesca is married and has a 5-year-old son, Jeremy. She is working at JoyTown Christian school among a population of 270 children with disabilities. She serves in child mentorship, counseling, and evangelism among the families of the many children. I'm honored that, in the past, our Wheels for the World teams have delivered pediatric wheelchairs to JoyTown school! Francesca’s amazing story inspires me to continue to persevere, despite whatever hardship – if she can do it by the grace of God, then so can I!   


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This is an amazing story! Francesca is another overcomer like Joni. Two women having godly attitudes whose earthen vessels are showing the excellency of God.
  • Dec. 4, 2017
  • 7:42 p.m.
  • Dorothy Seymour
Joni and Friends, Isn’t amazing what Jesus can do in a life. I am very grateful that Joni and Friends began the ministry. Praise our Jesus and don’t let any tell that you can’t. I send my love from a heart that has been transformed by the grace of Christ Jesus. Amen and thanks. Ronald Davies.
  • Nov. 9, 2017
  • 12:24 a.m.
  • Ronald B. Davies
For the past 50+ years your always pointing to the Lord has been an inspiration to me. The stories you share of others do the same. Thank you. Years ago I was asked to read parts of books to a 5th grade public school class. I read Joni and some other books. It was the Joni book that they requested the teacher to continue reading. Your message of hope from our Lord and Savior has been an inspiration and challenge to me in the various areas of ministry and I say 'Thank you."
  • Aug. 23, 2017
  • 11:04 a.m.
  • Susan Drumwright
Wow!! What an amazing God we serve. Francesca is an inspiration and a testimony to God's goodness and grace! Way to go Francesca!!!
  • Aug. 22, 2017
  • 5:53 a.m.
  • David Robinson
Thank you for your faithful service, Francesca! Numbers 6:24-26 ‘“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’
  • June 16, 2017
  • 7:01 p.m.
  • Rachel
wow I am so grateful to THE GREAT I AM for the privilege of knowing about Francesca! Peace and blessings. Ruth
  • May 18, 2017
  • 2:11 p.m.
  • Ruth Southerland
That's my best friend and big sister!! She's been such an inspiration to me and always had my back. A wise, Godly woman, best friend ever!!!
  • Feb. 21, 2017
  • 12:45 p.m.
  • Ann Muthumbi
Hi dear friend Joni,today I just bumped onto the above compliment about my testimony as African girl born with spina bifida posted on November 28 2016.This is incredibly humbling and encouraging for me -- gives me every reason to live for and serve the great 'I AM ' Thanks my bigger sister-in-Christ !!
  • Feb. 21, 2017
  • 11:10 a.m.
  • Francesca
Your wonderful wheelchairs have been a blessing to Joytown. Francesca is an inspiration to all. Thank you.
  • Feb. 21, 2017
  • 5:59 a.m.
  • Diane Dunn