Friday, March 15, 2013

March Newsletter

Six weeks! We have made it through the first 6 weeks. To celebrate, we de-hospitalized the house and finally got some much needed work done on our Jeep. The steering was freezing up, our tires were bald and leaking air, and we needed an alignment. I found myself airing up the tires late at night in snow storms and cold temperatures wondering why we didn't take care of all this before John’s surgery. But we didn't have the time or money to do much about it. I don’t want you to feel like I am complaining because really, I am not (although I might have been at the time), I just want you to rejoice with me in God’s provisions! To say God has blessed us through this surgery would be an understatement! From the hospital bed and equipment for our home, that was loaned to us, to the meals, groceries, gas cards and gift cards, to the friends and neighbors who cleared the snow from our driveway and Jose of Jose’s Mexican Restaurant surprising John with a meal one night, we have been awed by God’s love and care for us. And then there were all the generous financial gifts that came in. I cannot tell you how floored we were every time another gift showed up and every time we got another check, we saw God providing a way to fix the Jeep. So this week were able to walk into the shop with cash and drive out with a dependable vehicle. That has been such a load off our minds this week and no more driving around to find an air compressor that works in Baraboo.

The other thing we did to celebrate is go to Madison for John’s 6 week Doctor appointment. The x-rays look good and there is a little evidence of some bone growth and that is what we were looking for. Now John can start some physical therapy and start to increase his strength. He is moving around well but doesn't have the strength to do anything for very long. He tires very quickly and gets really sore easily. He should start working part-time in the next couple of weeks and he is looking forward to getting out of the house some. Please continue to pray for a complete recovery. We know that most major surgeries don’t go by without some complications but really... there haven’t been any so far, and we feel so blessed because of that.

At Expeditions, we are getting closer and closer to covering all the costs of moving and remodeling the cabins. We are within $5000 of our goal! A couple weeks ago, Culver’s in Wisconsin Dells held a Fundraiser for Expeditions where our staff served the customers and a portion of the day’s profits went towards our cabin fundraising. Our family didn't get to partake in the serving but we did get to partake in eating some food and $2063 was raised! Another thing to praise God for is a wonderful Winter Retreat Season. In our last newsletter we mentioned our concern and need for winter weather and God has blessed us with just that! Along with that there have been numerous lives given to Christ, both for the first time and as a re-dedication. We have so much to praise God for right now! Please remember us in your prayers and praise Him with us!

Partner With Us

Currently we are desperately needing monthly supporters! We need to raise $400 more a month. Will you help us? If we had 16 people support us at $25 a month or 10 at $40 we would be there! Please pray about it and see how God leads you. THANK YOU  for your continued support through your prayer and financial gifts. Checks can be written out to Expeditions Unlimited with our ministry number “02103” in the memo and mailed to E11844 County Road D L Baraboo WI 53913.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

One week later

Today marks one week since John had his surgery. The surgery went really well and only took 3 1/2 hours. Only time will tell if the surgery did what we were hoping it would do but we have no doubts that God has had his hand in this whole journey. Over and over we see how he worked out every little detail. The staff at St. Mary’s did an exceptional job with John. He stayed there 4 days and 3 nights. I can’t believe you can cut out a portion of a man’s back, replace it and have him standing next to his bed (twice) within 12 hours. The next 2 days were a struggle of pain management but, again, they did an amazing job helping John through it. I stayed at the hospital for the first 3 days (mostly due to the snow and ice storm) and by Thursday night, when I finally made it home to sleep, I figured I had slept 6 of 65 hours. Friday, they sent John home which was an agonizing hour drive home over the ice crusted, snow covered and bumpy roads. The first night was difficult because, as much as we tried, we couldn't find a comfortable place for John to rest. Praise God, the next day my mom was able to locate a hospital bed through St. Vincent De Paul for free. A neighbor was in our driveway shoveling when my mom called and said she could pick it up but needed help. Our neighbor jumped in his truck, met my mom and helped haul the bed into our living room! That morning was such an encouragement to John. He has been able to sleep and rest comfortably since! He still needs his walker to get around but he is getting faster and faster with it. Just 2 days ago his movements were very labored, even with the walker, so I am excited to see him “cruising” around the house. We have also been blessed, beyond what we could have ever imagined, with meals and financial gifts to help us through this time! I have been awed at the generosity of others. God has used each and every one of your encouraging words, meals, groceries, gift cards and gifts to remind us of his love for us! Thank you! Please keep us in your prayers as I know the road is still long. I apologize that this is the first ‘official’ update I have given since the surgery but communication at the hospital was difficult and I feel like I have been sleeping as much as John since we got home. Nonetheless, I knew people were praying for us because we felt such peace and such comfort through it all. There were a couple times that I felt so alone at the hospital (Because of the snow, I couldn't get home and no one could get to us) but God used a text message or an email to remind me that there were so many people praying for us and an overwhelming peace came over me. Thanks again for praying for us.

Monday, January 28, 2013

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

Today is a day of mixed emotions. As much as we are relieved this day, and the hope it brings, has finally arrived, we are also keenly aware of the trials that await us. I have to admit that my stomach churns a little bit at the thought of what lies ahead. But this is the road God has given us to travel and He has not sent us down some dark and dangerous path alone. No, He is leading us and walking beside us to a place he has prepared. HE has laid the foundations for this path and will never leave us or forsake us! He has asked us to trust him with all of our hearts and not to lean on our own understanding. So we are feeling as prepared as we can be. I am sure there will be times that we question if we did the right thing, days where we will wonder if it is worth it and moments where we struggle to find peace. I pray in those moments we can feel your prayers and that God’s Words will speak to us. I pray that we will remember that “anything that makes us need God, is a blessing.”

Friday, January 18, 2013

January Newsletter

Happy New Year! We hope your Christmas celebrations were blessed and that you are ready for all God has in store for you in 2013. Our family said goodbye to 2012 and welcomed the new year with anticipation. We have no idea what the rest of this year is going to look like for us and that is a little scary. But God knows and we trust him.

January 29th, John will undergo a two level fusion in his spine. We have prayed about this for some time now and feel that there really is no other option. John’s mobility and ability to do daily tasks, even as simple as putting on shoes, has decreased and his pain has increased. At this point all of his energy and strength is expended at work and by the time he gets home, all he can do is recover for the next day. As much as this has caused us to grow as a family and in our relationships with the Lord, it has also been difficult on our family, probably in more ways than we even realize. Ethan is 10 and needs his dad to keep up with him, wrestle with him and do the things that dads do.  This is so heavy on our hearts as parents especially when we think where John will be at next year if something is not done.  It is exciting to see God open the doors for this surgery and we are confident he is leading us down this road whatever that entails. Over and over, we hear wonderful things about John’s Neurosurgeon and feel that is another confirmation of God’s leading. The recovery is what we are most apprehensive about but again, we trust in the Lord. John will be at home recovering for two to three months and then hopefully fully “recovered” by six months. Obviously he will not regain everything he has lost, but he should have more mobility than he does now and a lot less pain.

Before John ‘s surgery, he and the crew at Expeditions have been working hard to get the new cabins up and going. Boilers are heating, water is running and bunks are built in half of the cabins and the rest should be ready by the end of next week. A few warm days here are likely to throw a hiccup in our winter activities but you can be praying for more winter weather. It is a big part of our winter ministry.

Expeditions is already compiling a list of light-duty jobs for John to do as he eases back into work. We hope this will happen sooner than later so that Expeditions will not be shorthanded for too long. We just aren’t sure what it will look like as John resumes working but we desire to serve Expeditions in any way possible. Your continued giving and prayers are greatly appreciated and vital to us, especially through this difficult time.

PRAY for the Doctors and Nurses that will attend to John. Pray for steady hands and clear thinking. And pray for peace for our family as we approach John’s surgery and long recovery.

PRAY for Expeditions as they finish the winter season short-handed and for much needed winter weather!

THANK YOU  for your continued support through your prayer and financial gifts. Checks can be written out to Expeditions Unlimited with our ministry number “02103” in the memo and mailed to E11844 County Road D L Baraboo WI 53913.

October's Newsletter

Whew! What a summer! This summer flew by so fast and here we are halfway through our fall season already. The number of campers Expeditions Unlimited has served has grown from 1000 campers in 2004 to 2,050 this summer alone! This season's campers came from over 50 churches and organizations located throughout the Midwest. With the growing number of campers and the need to demolish some very old cabins, we had asked for your continued prayer in our last newsletter. Now, after six long years of prayer, God provided - in His perfect timing - twelve cabins and a three-bedroom house that have been successfully moved, from the old Pine Beach Resort in Lake Delton, fourteen miles to Expeditions Unlimited.  John and many other volunteers put in 8 foundations and 3 basements. In addition to the work on the cabins, John guided 12 trips. All of this happened during Camp’s peak season with record numbers of campers. So again, I say, “Whew!” Praise be to God that $136,000 of the $150,000 it costs to move and renovate the cabins, has been raised. That leaves ONLY $14,000 to raise! God is so good!

This fall we have kicked off our Outdoor Education Program. So far the response has been amazing and the winter and spring months are filling up. We are so thankful for all the hard work Bri has been investing in this program and are anxious to see what God does with it.

John continues to be in pain as a result of his degenerative discs in his back, so we have been seeing a specialist in Madison regularly to try to narrow down the source of the pain. Through many different tests and procedures it seems as though a two-level fusion of his vertebrae is in the near future. In the next two weeks we will hopefully know for sure but at this point there is no other option besides living with the pain the rest of his life. This is a difficult decision but it also offers hope. Hope of some relief and the possibility of being able to do thing things he used to do. Please lift up the doctors and our family through this decision. Pray for wisdom and God’s timing.

PRAY that we would serve well and be an encouragement to every camper that steps through our doors. 
PRAY for our family as we face the possibility of John’s surgery and long recovery.
PRAY and CONSIDER if you might be able to partner with us financially. We are in great need of monthly supporters. If this is something God is leading you to do, please give us a call or send us an email.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Training Continues

Today the guides are training in Swift Water Rescue. Tomorrow will conclude guide training for 2012. Let the campers come!

High Ropes

"They call me T-Bird"

Climbing Day at Devil's Lake

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Productive Day

John and several volunteers poured the third foundation today for the new cabins. Only 4 more to go. The other cabins will be sitting on existing foundations.

And here is a shot of the Guides on the Challenge Course. Tomorrow is High Ropes!