Donna’s Story

Donna’s Story

By Nazarene Discipleship International, | 10 May 2024

Donna's Story

Donna has been visually impaired for most of her life. She was able to drive in her early days as a Bethany Nazarene College student, but she was unable to drive when she graduated. Donna found that she was no longer able to read books as she loved to do, but instead she had to get used to audio books. A pair of magnifying glasses had become her new way of seeing, and she used special glasses to help her see things that seemed ever so distant to her although they were near to those without a visual impairment.


Despite the challenges Donna faced, she still found ways to serve the Lord. Donna has been a Sunday school teacher for more than 50 years. She has served as a local Nazarene Missions International president for more than 40 years. Donna is a board member at her local church; she also serves on a district committee. She has been a youth leader as well as a ladies ministry leader and speaker. She has even served as pulpit supply on special occasions. Donna just recently retired from custodian duties at her local church after more than 50 years of service. This is just a small sample of the many ways Donna has been engaged in the church and in serving the Lord.


In 2015, Donna testified that the Lord healed her vision at a prayer conference. She told her children that she felt the Lord touch her. She believes that God is faithful in what he says. Her vision did not improve; in fact, it has grown worse, but Donna maintains her faith and hope in what the Lord has said. Many people will struggle to understand how someone can testify to be healed and yet have some sort of affliction. While’s Donna’s sight may still be impaired, her faith is strong. When Paul tells of the thorn in his flesh, he says, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. This is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). Donna’s testimony is much like Paul’s. Her sight may not be restored, but God is restoring and empowering her.


Donna has been married to her husband, Marty, for 46 years. They have three adult children and six grandchildren. Donna is currently serving in her local church as the adult Sunday school teacher and NMI president. While reading is exceptionally hard for her, Donna still wakes up each day and reads God’s Word with the help of her reading device. Disabilities come in all kinds of forms, but God is still good. There are many times when we struggle to see God’s goodness. It is easier for us to see the hardships or the reasons why we can’t do what God is calling us to do. I thank God that, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29).


We may never comprehend the why, but we can definitely find hope in Jesus. For Donna, it has not been an easy journey. She has had to work hard to be the teacher and leader God has called her to be; she has had to overcome the battles of not being able to see, or drive, or work traditional jobs; she has had to wake up each day and make the decision to follow Christ despite all of the hardships. But Donna will tell you the journey with Jesus is worth it!


Donna’s eldest daughter, Crystal, had this to say about witnessing her mom overcome hardship to serve the Lord: “I am in awe of how most people around her will not even know she has a visual impairment unless she tells them. She maneuvers through life as if she can see. She can remember how to get almost anywhere if she has been there once. She never lets her disability stop her from any endeavor. Her vision does not stop her from her calling. She doesn't just live life; she experiences it to its fullest.”


Donna’s second daughter, Shannon, shared this about Donna, “It is impossible to put into words all the things I admire about mom. She is an absolutely amazing human being. She has never let her disability define her. Her compassion for others is unmatched. Despite her low vision, she goes above and beyond to help others. She is more giving of her time, abilities, and means than most without a disability. She is the epitome of Christlikeness. She continues to have an adventurous spirit and sense of humor. She is willing to try anything. Despite many obstacles, she will find a way. She can laugh at her mistakes and mishaps. She can handle being the brunt of many jokes and dish it right back out. She is an amazing mom and an even better grandma. Her love is unconditional. She is the leader of the family and the go-to for spiritual and life advice. She is full of wisdom and emotional strength. She asks little from anyone but will give the shirt off her back to anyone in need.”


Donna’s youngest has had the incredible privilege to write an article about his mom. “As a child, I remember my mom not wanting to go to the grocery store because it was so hard for her to read the labels and price tags. She didn’t like that it took so long to find what she wanted and that people would often get exasperated with her because she would take too long looking at something they wanted. As I remember those challenges, I find myself even more thankful for her drive and desire to live for Jesus. For someone who can’t see the price tag at a grocery store, you have been an incredible example of Jesus to so many people, and you stand as a beacon of hope for those who feel like they can’t overcome the obstacles. Thanks for being an incredible mom and follower of Jesus! I love you mom. Happy Mother’s Day!”


You can connect with me, Rev. Ryan Nelson, NDI disability ministry coordinator for the Church of the Nazarene, at