Brian and Johanna Cannelongo are parents to 8 children, 4 came to them through birth and 4 through adoption. One of their children, Gianna, had a heart condition and sadly passed away from complications in 2018. We wanted to share with you about their foundation, GIAS HOPE as well as their newest branch, GIAS HOPE Farm Friends. Below, Johanna shares about their newest endeavor.
GIASHOPE Farm Friends is the newest branch of GIASHOPE.org
(@LiveGiaGrowForeverFoundation): a therapy farm that exists to help nurture hearts through nature and to bring joy to others through sharing the love of Jesus through the gift of His creation.
Our little farm sanctuary has been a huge blessing and has brought so much tangible joy and healing to our family and especially to our Gianna. She came home to our family from China at age 2 with a 1/2 heart and we will never be the same after experiencing her love and bravery and miracles. She teaches us all about our Living Hope.
In her too brief (yet full) 6 1/2 years of life, she endured 6 open heart surgeries, meningitis, seizures, a brain bleed, and countless hospital admissions. There were many times that she had to be so courageous and her spirit did experience deep medical trauma and anxiety, however she found such peace, calm, and joy with her cuddly creatures and her colorful gardens. You could always find her with a chicken under her arm, cuddling a kitten or bottle feeding her baby goat.
In fact, after realizing how our little farmette had brought so much healing and peace to our whole family… that Spring of 2018, we decided to allow this blessing to overflow into the community to bring others to our farm (who needed joy) so their hearts could experience the peace that God’s creation brings. It was a beautiful miracle to watch the vision of Morning Glory Farm Friends unfold. However, weeks later our world suddenly crashed. We unexpectedly walked the valley of tragedy and grief when Jesus took our precious Gianna home April of 2018. It felt like our world lost its sunshine. But as we know, God wasn’t done. His stories never end in ashes… Life always wins. And He is the one who calls us out of the darkness and into the light.
So four years ago, just weeks before Gianna moved to heaven, we had excitedly launched our dream and started a Therapy Farm Ministry (formerly named Morning Glory Farm Friends) and we even had our first “farm class” just days before Gianna’s heart crashed.
I remember our animal obsessed GiaBia being my sweet, excited sidekick and helping me get all the furry babies ready to introduce to her new friends.
She and her siblings were thrilled to start this ministry together because our little farmette had been such a huge powerful healing balm to our own traumatized hearts (after enduring so many hospitalizations, separations, anxiety and medical trauma). We wanted to share this healing love and joy with others while raising money for heart surgeries for orphans in China …and it was beautiful to watch it bloom that spring of 2018.
But then our world broke and we suddenly lost our baby girl .
And the Lord has gently been calling me back out to re-start this care ministry.
But I ran for a long time because it hurt so deeply to imagine starting again without my GiaBia.
I felt too broken.
However, In the meantime, God continued to use nature to nurture our own grieving hearts through our animals, gardening and caring for His creation. This brought our Gia close.
The invitation was still Being whispered to let God use the tremendous grief to redeem and rebirth this ministry of HOPE.
I could have kept running away for my own self preservation but ….To avoid the pain, would be to avoid the joy too.
I had to surrender and allow God to use the pain of the darkness to grow something new in the light. A new goodness in the land of the living.
So here we are, allowing God to do a new thing in honor of our Gianna Lilyfaith.
And She’s squealing from Heaven, I’m sure.
Introducing “GIAS HOPE Farm Friends”: a new part of our care ministry branch at GiasHope.org Live Gia Grow Forever Foundation that serves to nurture hearts through Nature.
It’s our desire to care for the broken, hurting and special needs in our local community while also nurturing hearts around the world as proceeds go to fund the other ministries of Giashope.org
Goodness is Arising!
Please take some time to visit their website to find out more about what programs they offer including Story Time on Tuesday mornings and Family Farm Experiences. GiasHope.org