Thursday, November 3, 2011

On the Inside

I just had to post this (sorry if it is hard to
handle).  Even though this article is from
6 years ago, and I'm sure there are many
more current stories about Joel, I thought
this was powerful.  I was listening to
a Christian radio broadcast today with
Pastor Bob Coy from Calvary Chapel
Fort Lauderdale and he was interviewing
Joel.  Joel currently is on staff there as
well and is married and has at least one
child (they said that in the intervew). 

Listening to him, you could hear joy in
his talk and he was very sacrcastic and
humble at the same time.  The whole
message was a reminder that it's what
is on the inside that matters most.  They
said many people look good on the
outside, but are a mess inside and he is
just the opposite: people see a mess on
the outside, but on the inside he is a
put together as anyone there is.  I just
know that this was 6 years ago and he
was talking today on the radio about how
he shares and helps others.  All the glory
goes to God and he mentioned that many,
many times.  When you love Jesus with
all your heart, what matters most is
completely different than what the world
says matters!

Joel Sonnenberg Encourages Burn Victims in Korea

We now meet a survivor of a fatal accident.

Burned beyond recognition in a car crash when he was
almost two, Joel Sonnenberg overcame much of
his pain. Now, the 27-year-old man is spreading
a message of hope and encouragement while
letting us realize the importance of looking beyond
the surface.

Ever wish you were someone else? A little prettier,
smarter or richer? Or, wished you had it easier?
Well, meet Joel Sonnenberg, who doesn't want
to be anyone but himself because he's grateful for
who he is today.

"Willingness says a lot. I'd rather have willingness
than someone who has all the right answers, the
right talents and no willingness to do anything.
I'd rather be the opposite," Sonnenberg said.

Joel, at the age of 22 months, was diagnosed
with a 10 percent chance of living upon surviving
a car collision with an 18-wheel tractor-trailer.

Despite the life-altering accident which left 88
 percent of his body covered in burns, Joel,
with the help and support of his parents and
community, learned to cope with his limitations.

"Those are just differences that I have to adapt
around. Just like you have differences, but yours
may not be as noticeable as mine," he said.

By focusing on his strengths and nurturing his
talents, he was elected captain of his high school
soccer team and was awarded with a college scholarship.

Although he has proved to the world and
himself that nothing is impossible, one thing
the 27-year-old hasn't adjusted to is the looks
he gets from people.

"It is a reminder every single day of why I'm living
and what focus I need to have. And that's not
necessarily always on myself. And that I can make
a difference in someone's life for the better," he said.

Currently visiting Korea upon invitation by a
Christian organization, Joel hopes to spread a
message of hope and encouragement by sharing
his life-story with those suffering physically or

But he's not content with being a role model
for the disabled. He wants to educate others to
look beyond differences, to see the people
behind the scars.

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