In 1983, after a year of marriage, Marcus felt the Lord tell him to move to Montgomery, Alabama. He asked, Why Lord? God told him to start the first Christian television station in that state. Marcus and Joni said, “Lord, we don’t know how to do that.” So they moved, not knowing what they were doing. “We borrowed old equipment, transmitters and old cameras,” says Joni. “We were faithful and went on the air in 1985. We were there 7 long years but God was faithful.” They knew Alabama wasn’t their resting place and the Lord stirred Marcus’ heart to reach a bigger audience. The opportunity came for them to open in Dallas and they sold their station to Sunlight Broadcasting (Jay Sekulow and Paul Crouch). Joni says they had the opportunity to sell to a secular owner, but the Lord told themif they kept it a Christian TV station, then He would bless them when they moved to Dallas. Today over 30 years later, Marcus and Joni are reaching millions of people. “We had no idea that we would be the second largest Christian television network.” Today they are the only Christian network broadcasting in Israel. “Daystar was granted permission by the government of Israel to broadcast on TV,” says Joni.
She says their lives have not been without struggles. “We have always had a good marriage,” says Joni. “Our family comes first before ministry.” They are engaged in a local church and submit to a local pastor. “Our children are rooted and grounded and we try to help as many people along the way as possible,” she says.
POWER OF SURRENDER
Joni grew up in a strong Christian home. For a time, she struggled with a difficult relationship. “Surrender is a powerful word. We can do what we want or we can connect with the One who created us,” says Joni. “I loved God but I had never really stopped to ask Him what His plan was for my life. I was 20 years old and going through some difficulties in a relationship. One night, I was talking to the Lord about it and decided to write a letter to Him.” She wrote, “Dear Lord, take my life. Use me in whatever way and I pray You show me the path to follow. A few days later, God opened up the door for the future He had for her. That Sunday morning, Marcus came to preach at their church. When he saw Joni in the audience, he asked a church member if he could meet her. They dated for a year before getting married. “It’s really profound now looking back at how powerful that letter was. Even then, God was trying to show me what was ahead,” she says.
Marcus gave his life to the Lord as a teen and began preaching when he was 15 in 1973. He received his degree at 19 and graduated from Lee University with honors. When he and Joni were married, they ministered in more than 20 states. Marcus has a unique gift for preaching and teaching the Word of God. Today their network owns 70 stations and reaches 80 million homes in the U.S. They have over 1 billion viewers in 200 countries around the world and is the fastest growing faith-based television network.