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In all circumstances

Joe has been walking in faith since 1996. He met his wife in college at SUNY Upstate in Syracuse, New York.  He and his wife, Jennifer, celebrated 22 years of marriage this June. Joes and Jennifer were blessed with twin boys, Joey and Vinny. He knew that the Lord was always right there, however Joe tended to handle life’s circumstances on his own. 

Joe said for many years life went his way, until one day that he noticed while plugging in a lamp, his hand “froze.”  Then, he developed a tremor.  After a ton of tests at age 34, Joe was diagnosed with early Parkinson’s Disease.  For a long time, he hid the disease with medications until it was too hard to hide any longer. When his balance was affected and he had to give up one of his favorite pastimes, playing basketball, he knew it was time to get the help and support he needed. Three years ago, Joe had a deep brain stimulation implant. While he still benefits greatly from the surgery, Joe was officially placed on full disability in September 2017.

Joe was struggling with depression from a tough year of many losses: his job, his confidence, and ability to play basketball to name a few. One Wednesday evening, a team of people from Joe’s church gathered and shared their experiences and testimonies after returning from a trip to Haiti.  While listening to the various stories, Joe said, “I had that feeling when you know God is telling you to do something.  Call it conviction or a calling, it was clear.” That evening Joe said YES to God’s calling. 

While in Haiti, Joe and the team went to small communities, played with the beautiful children and to served them bread. Joe recalls, “It was our first stop that I got it- Christ was present.  He was present in the smiles, in the joy they had with Jake and Mikayla singing worship songs.  He was there as Eric and I painted the girl’s fingernails and smiley faces on the boys’ arms.”   Climbing prayer mountain was a challenge that Joe wanted to conquer.  Amazing things happen when you go beyond where you think you can’t go any further.  That is where God comes in showing faith. He said,” It was a tough climb, but with a little help from my friends and God’s grace I made it. Mike walked over to me, placed his arm around me and prayed over me.”

Joe never thought that he could inspire anyone, he believes, “if my story inspires one person to do something different, maybe a little crazy, in His name then that is great.  I learned that Parkinson’s or not, I have a purpose.  All said and done, when you feel God calling you, say “YES.”


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