Our Executive Director, Mrs. Mary Jane (Duggan) Ponten,

brings to Mephibosheth Ministry a lifetime of understanding people with disabilities. Born with cerebral palsy, educated from fourth through twelfth grade in the special needs schools in the Chicago educational system, she moved into the adult world of college, real world employment, marriage, parenthood, and finally grandparenting five precious children.

At the age of twelve Mary Jane felt the call to China as an ambassador for Christ. Even though she had been active in church and youth activities, it was not until her first year of college that she realized her need of a personal relationship with the One who then became her Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ. After graduating from Northwestern College, reality hit. No one, no mission board, no ministry would send a “handicapped” person like her to China or anywhere else.

She took a job at Marshall Field and Company in downtown Chicago. After a short spiritual struggle she settled into lay work in the church and para church venues both before and after marrying Harold (Bud) Ponten who also had cerebral palsy. After twelve years living and working in Spokane, WA, where Tom and Susan completed their family, Bud and Mary Jane were invited to join the staff of International Students, Inc. a Christian ministry headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO. Bud retired from ISI in July 1989 and was called Heavenward in January 1990.

In 1992, with a friend John Nix, she co-founded Mephibosheth Ministry. Within two years they were occasionally working with Joni and Friends – a partnership which continues to the present time. Mary Jane has ministered on every major continent presenting disability ministry and sharing the love of Christ with people and families who live with disabilities. She has worked in 16 countries, including her beloved China, making over 40 ministry trips.

Now in her eightys Mary Jane says without hesitation that God has been preparing her for this ministry from earliest childhood.


Mary Jane with her grown children. 

One of the ways Mary Jane serves those effected by disabilities is by writing Christian based curriculum at various levels of cognitive abilities. Her closeness to the Lord brings her amazing insights into communicating the gospel. Here she is in her home office.


When Mary Jane studies her Bible, she reads it using her own "BIBLE READING CHART". In 2012, she will have read her Bible over 5 times!

Notice her Bible repair job after five go throughs just this past year...

Email us at: mephiboshethmin@comcast.net