Reflections from a Hospital Room
Thank you all for praying for Hannah – I can’t tell you all how much it means. Hannah went through a 5 ½ hour surgery yesterday. The doctors said she did very well, and they did a lot of skin grafting. The whole process causes extreme pain for her, so since the surgery, she has been pretty heavily sedated. She is on a ventilator again and for the next couple of days, and tomorrow she goes in for another skin graft surgery. We think that may be the last one she’ll need to have.
I stayed the night in the room with her after her surgery, just to be with her, and she slept very well. A few times she woke up, and of course with a breathing apparatus, she can’t talk. So, she’s trying to write notes, expressing what she needs or how we can help her.
I anticipate in about another 10 days or so, we may be able to bring her back to Texas to be in a hospital in Dallas where she’ll be able to do rehab and physical therapy for the next month or two.
As I’m sitting with Hannah hour upon hour, watching every sort of technology known to the medical world connected to her body, I observed a paradox. As I’m looking at each device one at a time, I wondered about each piece and how much time, money, and investment it took to develop just THAT piece of technology. All of those devices and their various cords and lines are connected to Hannah to help her recover. Things are beeping, screens are flashing. Numbers are going up and down based on each of the tubes and wires connected to her, and I’m thinking about all of the people over who-knows-how-many years who have spent their lives doing research, and then refining their research, and about all of the money and time coming to bear right at this moment to restore Hannah’s health.
Then I think about the people who spend their lives becoming doctors and medical professionals to administrate each of those pieces of technology so that they’re used properly to restore Hannah. Then I think about the patient next door and the scenario is the same for that person, and for every patient on the entire floor of the hospital, and for every patient in the entire hospital. I think of all of the money and effort that’s been spent to save and restore those lives. Then I think of the thousands of hospitals across America and around the world, and the millions of medical professionals in various specific professions within the medical world.
Then I think about the multiple billions of dollars that governments and research agencies have invested all with the hope of saving a life. It seems like a massive investment, and it is, because we as the human race value life so much. People from all different religions and all different walks of life value life so much, somehow they think it’s worth investing in the medical industry, whether it’s medicine, or technology, or time, or learning the practice in order to save a life.
Then I think about a recipient of all of that technology and all of that investment. So here’s a patient with all of the cords plugged into them. Then I think about how many hospitals save how many lives every day and then restore lives to healthy functioning, and I’m wondering if that patient really understands the value of the investment. Sure, the hospital bills will come due, and insurance covers a lot of that in most cases. But even then, does that patient really understand that somebody valued them so much for so many years so that all that investment could be poured into them in that moment when they needed it the most? And once they are restored and out of the hospital, do they live in such a way that shows that they know that they were valued?
In other words, do they value their own life in such a way that they live to make it meaningful, or do they just think to themselves, “I sure am glad I have been given a few more years to live,” but then sit in front of the TV or a computer screen for the rest of their life?
I thought, what a vast juxtaposition. People who don’t even know these patients value them so much that they would give their life’s work, their careers, their money, and their passion to save the lives of strangers. And yet, so many people live without purpose and without making any kind of contribution. Even though their lives have been valued by others, they don’t value it themselves. They merely exist.
As Christians, you can see the metaphor clearly. God so valued us that He made a huge investment in us to save and restore our lives. Do we reciprocate? Do we value what He’s done in us to the point that we refuse to live a purposeless life? That we refuse to take that investment He’s made in us for granted?
As I think about this, I’m inspired to live a life that is more worthy of the sacrifice and the value that was placed on me. We could never live up to the value that was placed on us, or the whole sacrifice that was given for us. But at least we could attempt to live in a way that demonstrates our deep appreciation of the value God places on us. Our response should be to refuse to take this life for granted, but instead to live a life that makes a difference because we understand we were saved for a reason.
Extreme Race Photos
Extreme Race is hosted by Extreme Camps every spring and is open to anybody looking for a fun adventure race to run. It is a 10k (6.2 miles) through water, mud, obstacles, and wooded hills of Extreme Camps home base. Below is a glimpse of the finish line from the race.
Extreme Camps goes Mobile
ExtremeCamps.com is now optimized for smart phones. Scan the QR code to see for yourself.
We could be wrong, but we think we might be the first christian camp to make a mobile version of our website. Let us know if you see any others out there.
Latest on Hannah’s Progress
Dear friends and prayer warriors,
Hannah is in surgery again today for skin grafts. It is an excruciating process for her, and the pain she feels afterward can not be fully treated with medication. She has another such surgery on Wednesday. I ask that you lift her up in prayer today and for the remainder of the week. These are difficult steps in her recovery, and I pray that the Lord brings her healing and relief.
Her sister, my second-oldest child, Charity wrote a very good update on how Hannah has been progressing. Please read it and then leave an encouraging word — you don’t know just how much it means to all of us to read what you have to say. It blesses our hearts.
Update on Hannah from Charity Luce
Over the course this weekend with Hannah, the dramatic transformation has been so encouraging. On Friday, even the smallest movements were excruciating and sleeping was nearly impossible–then yesterday afternoon, after some deep rest, she blew us all away in physical therapy when she was able to stand!
After so much prayer for the right balance of medication and strength of heart, we were so uplifted to see brightness in her eyes, to hear her express desire to fight for her recovery [she actually asked the nurse, “Do you have a workout facility on this floor?” and the nurse replied, “Well, not in ICU.”], and to hear her talk about her dreams. She just moved into a beautiful new room-with-a-view–a window almost the breadth of the entire wall!
This weekend was a beautiful respite between surgeries, she’ll have the steepest mountain to climb in the next few days, with the autograft procedure tomorrow and the other on Wednesday. Please pray for her rest tonight, that it will be sweet and satiating.
Remembering Luke Sheets
Saturday was the funeral for Luke Sheets, the young man who piloted the plane on May 11. Even though the details of the crash are still under investigation, I believe his efforts to get the plane on the ground were crucial in ensuring that Hannah survived.
I never had the chance to know Luke in person, but from talking with his parents and meeting his loved ones over the weekend, I learned a lot about the man of God that he was. If I could describe this young man in one word, it would be, “Passionate.”
He was a passionate pilot. At the funeral, they played a video Luke recorded a couple of years ago titled “Love of Flying.” In watching the video, you could feel and almost get a taste of how much flying meant to him. It brought me to tears when at the end, he dedicated the video to his father, Craig Sheets, for instilling in him the passion for flying.
Luke was also passionate for life! In addition to piloting, Luke was an avid skier and snow boarder, a sky diver, a hunter, a dirt bike enthusiast and a ballroom dancer. He did it all! He was homeschooled and graduated from ORU with a degree in media and communications after just 3 1/2 years.
Above all, Luke was passionate about the Lord. His love of Jesus permeated his whole life. He dreamed of living his life on mission for the Lord. And that’s exactly what he was doing when his plane went down in that Kansas field. He was flying with his friends to an event where they would be a part of sharing the gospel with the teenage generation. They all loved the Lord with all of their being, and now they are worshiping together in Jesus’ presence. What a testimony!
I want to share with you Luke’s obituary, and again, I encourage you to leave comments of encouragement for his family and friends that he left behind. The world needs more men like Luke, Garrett, Stephen and Austin, and my prayer is that in reading their stories, many more young men and women will commit to living their lives passionately for the Lord.
Also, please consider honoring Luke’s memory by giving to his memorial fund:
The Sheets family is also asking that memorials be sent to the Oral Roberts University Department of Missions. Checks may be mailed to Oral Roberts University – Attn: President’s Office, 7777 S. Lewis Ave., Tulsa, OK 74171 (Luke Sheets Memorial / Missions).
Additionally, the Sheets family is requesting memorials be made in Luke’s name to Teen Mania Ministries. Donations may be made online at www.TeenMania.com. Click on the “Donate” button at the top and select “Luke Sheets Memorial/Teen Mania” from the drop-down menu. Additionally, you may send a check to the Luke Sheets Memorial/Teen Mania at Teen Mania Ministries, Inc., Attn: Memorial Gifts, P.O. Box 2000, Garden Valley, TX 75771.
Luke F. Sheets, 23, of Ephraim, Wisconsin, went home to be with the Lord on Friday, May 11, 2012. Luke and four friends from Oral Roberts University were on their way to a National Christian youth conference event when their plane went down in Kansas.
Luke was born on May 21, 1988, in St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of Craig and Debra (Freid) Sheets. The family moved to Ephraim, Wisconsin in 1994. Luke was a home school graduate of 2007. He then took a gap year and was employed at Door County Cherryland Airport in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. On May 5, 2012, he graduated from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a degree in Media with a concentration in advertising, and a minor in business. He was an avid, licensed commercial pilot, and was pursuing his love of flying with a career in aviation. Luke had a joy and passion for life and loved encouraging and helping people in any way he could. For those that knew Luke, words like spiritual, godly, intelligent, kind and humble only start to describe the kind of man he was.
He was a member of Door of Life Christian Church in Sister Bay.
Survivors include his parents, Craig and Debra Sheets of Ephraim; brother, Blake Sheets at Lee University, Cleveland, Tennessee and Ephraim; paternal grandmother, Helen Sheets of Sturgeon Bay; aunts and uncles, Carolyn Sheets of Duluth, MN, Deborah Smith of River Falls, WI, Mark (Debbi) Sheets of Cedarburg, Lucinda Sheets of Duluth, MN, Rebecca (Paul) Miller of Green Bay, Laurie Kendell Sheets of Sturgeon Bay, Kevin (Lori) Sheets of Sturgeon Bay, Jim (Marlys) Freid of Lonsdale, MN, Suzie (Dwayne) Dugan of Mankato, MN; and many cousins.
Preceding him in death were his maternal grandparents, Louis and Evelyn (Studnicka) Freid; paternal grandfather, Dr. Weldon Sheets; uncle, Forest Sheets (1990).
A celebration of his life will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday (May 19, 2012) at United Methodist Church in Sturgeon Bay with Rev. Edward House pastor of Door of Life Christian Church officiating. Burial will follow at Bayside Cemetery.
Friends may call from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday (May 18, 2012) at Huehns Funeral Home in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and at the church on Saturday from 1:00 p.m. until the time of services at 2:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Luke’s memory to Oral Roberts University – Attn: President’s Office, 7777 S. Lewis Ave., Tulsa, OK 74171 (Luke Sheets Memorial / Missions), or to Teen Mania Ministries (for online giving and address at www.teenmania.com).
Sign online guestbook and offer condolences at www.huehnsfuneralhome.com
Remembering Stephen Luth
In a few minutes, I will be attending the funeral for Stephen Luth, which is happening this morning in Muscatine, Iowa his hometown. Stephen was a young man we had just brought on board at Teen Mania, and I was so touched by his focus, professionalism and heart for this generation during the time I spent with him during his interview process.
I just want to share with you a little bit about this young man, and how God was working in him up to the point of his death, and even more so after. Stephen’s life, and the lives of Austin Anderson, Garrett Coble and Luke Sheets are such a wonderful testimony of the work of Christ and the cross, an example for young people just like them to live sold out for the mission.
I want to make sure everyone is aware of the opportunity to make memorials in honor of Stephen, Austin, Luke and Garrett, to continue the legacy of these young men. Please go here to see how you can honor these young men.
Below is Stephen’s obituary, and I encourage you to leave comments of prayer and support for the Luth family as they deal with the loss of their son. Please lift them up today in your prayers, and ask the Holy Spirit to comfort them and bring them peace.
Services: Due to the overwhelming response, the funeral has been moved to Calvary Church 501 West Bypass Highway 61 #16 Muscatine, IA 52761. Near junction of Highway 61 and Highway 38.
Burial: Memorial Park Cemetery. Online condolences: www.wittichfuneralhome.com.
MUSCATINE, Iowa—Stephen J. Luth, 22, a former resident of Muscatine, died on Friday, May 11, 2012, in Chanute, Kan.
Reverend Al Perez and Reverend Steve Russell will officiate the service. Casket bearers will be James Luth, Joshua Luth, Jonathan Luth, Ryan Kral, Ben Kapella, and Brendon Kapella.
Memorials may be made to the Stephen Luth Memorial Scholarship Fund. Click Here to donate: http://stephenluthmemorial.com/
Stephen was born on August 6, 1989, in York, Penn., the son of David and Cyndi Youngblood Luth.
He graduated from Oral Roberts University on May 5, 2012. He was on the Cheer Team at the university and also served as Chaplin for his dorm floor. He was Captain of the Cross Country and Track Team at Muscatine High School, and was on both teams all four years. He was part of the Nexus Program at Calvary Church where he led a small group.
He had worked for Fareway in the Meat Department.
Those left to honor his memory include his parents, David and Cyndi Luth of Muscatine; three brothers, Joshua Luth and wife, Britney, of Broken Arrow, Okla., Jonathan Luth and wife, Jennifer, of Tulsa, Okla., and James Luth of Muscatine; his paternal grandmother, Mary Luth of Davenport; his maternal grandmother, June Halkens, of Mountain Home, Ark.; his maternal grandfather, Fred Youngblood and wife, Martha, of Eagle Point, Ore.; several aunts and uncles and cousins; and a special friend, Tori Dollar.
He was preceded in death by his paternal grandfather, John Luth.
Remembering Garrett Coble
This afternoon I will be attending the funeral for Garrett Coble in Tulsa. Garrett has served with Teen Mania’s Global Expeditions ministry for years. He went on 15 trips with us between 1999 and 2006. He had a heart for missions and reaching the lost with the gospel, and he died in pursuit of that mission.
Please pray for Garrett’s family today, and for his fiancee Rachel Fouts. It will be a very difficult time for them and for those of us who worked with Garrett in the mission field. We have peace that he is in Heaven with the Lord, but on earth we will dearly miss him.
Below is Garrett’s obituary and a place to leave condolences. Please let the Coble family and Rachel know how much you loved and appreciated Garrett.
Garrett Vincent Coble, a resident of Tulsa and assistant professor at Northeastern State University of Broken Arrow, died in a plane crash near Canute, Kansas on Friday, May 11, 2012 at the age of 29.
He was born Oct. 21 21, 1982 in El Reno to Vince Coble and Catherine R. Graham Coble. He lived in Yukon until this third grade year of elementary school when he moved with his family to Henryetta. Garrett grew up in Henryetta and graduated from Henryetta High School . Following High School, Garrett continued his education at Tulsa Community College and at Oklahoma State University. While completing his undergraduate studies, Garrett spent two semesters abroad studying international marketing at the University of Lima in Peru and at University of Colima in Mexico. He taught international business marketing for one year at Oral Roberts University. Garrett had completed his studies and lacked only his Doctoral dissertation in completing his doctorate degree at OSU.
Garrett leaves a legacy of love and giving. Through his extensive travels he touched thousands of lives. Garrett completed travels to mission fields in Russia, Panama, South Africa, Peru, Mexico, VietNam, Chile, Belize, Guatemala, South Korea, and Thailand among others. Especially important to Garrett was the El Nino Emanuel, an orphanage located in Peru, which Garrett supported by donating the funds to build additional rooms, facilities, and provided clothing and shoes for orphaned children.
Garrett was a member of the Nazarene Church of Henryetta and also the Life Church of South Tulsa. He was very involved with Teen Mania ministries, an organization that was dear to his heart.
Garrett is survived by his mother and father, Cathy and Vince Coble of Henryetta; by three brothers, Blake Coble and wife Kali of Henryetta, Austin Coble and wife Ashley, all of Henryetta, and David Coble of Tulsa; by a sister, Patricia Coble of Tulsa; by his grandmother, Edna Thomas of Henryetta; by his grandfather, Roy Coble of Okemah; by grandmother, JoAnn Graham of Yukon; by two great aunts, Eva Cottington and Elaine Ray, both of Henryetta; by an aunt, Mona Coble of Henryetta; by an uncle, Jimmy Graham of Yukon; by a nephew, Parks Coble of Henryetta; by a close friend, Josias Alverado Coto of Tulsa; and by the love of his life, his fiancee Rachel Fouts of Shreveport, LA.
In honor of Garrett’s continued commitment to missions, the family has designated the El Nino Emanuel orphange in Peru as appropriate for memorial contributions. A fund has been established at Oral Roberts University. Please make checks payable to ORU, attention Mark Rutland, president (write Garrett Coble in the memo) send to 7777 S. Lewis Ave, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74171.
A Memorial Service and Celebration of Garrett’s life will be held on Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 2 p.m. in the Chapel at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa under the direction of Integrity Funeral Service in Henryetta.
Update from Kansas City
I just wanted to give you an update from Kansas City where Katie and I are with Hannah. Hannah is continuing to improve and were thanking the Lord for that. She was laughing and joking with the nurses yesterday, which was great. Indications are that she is feeling better. She is eating a little bit of food. Even though she is taking pain medicine, she still is experiencing a lot of pain.
Hannah’s burns are mostly on her arms, legs, and back. The nurses have to redress those wounds two-three times a day, which means they have to take the bandages off and wash things down and put everything back. As you can imagine, that’s quite painful. Its also quite cold because of the dressing they put on the wounds before they wrap it up.
Hannah is going in for her second procedure today to deal with some of the wounds on her back. We have continued to receive an outpouring of love through emails. Friends from all around the world say they are praying. You may have seen the Today Show, but if not here is a link to that story: http://www.teenmania.com/
Yesterday was the funeral for Austin Anderson. It was moving to see 2,000 people gathered in his small town to honor his life, including a number of his fellow Marines. I met with Austin’s family, encouraged them, and listened to their stories. The president of Oral Roberts University, Dr. Mark Rutland and the dean of the School of Business Dr. Steve Green, who has been to the Teen Mania campus several times to help us, were in attendance, too.
As you can imagine, it was difficult for me to get through the funeral without losing it. It’s because of the friendship that Hannah and Austin had, and the fact that he recently joined the staff here at Teen Mania. Also, it’s because of the role he may have had in helping Hannah actually survive the plane crash.
I was given the opportunity to speak, and part of what I shared with the attendees is the fact that en route to the event, where they were going to worship the Lord with 2,500 other young people, four of those on board the plane instead encountered the ultimate worship service in Heaven. They were on their way to learn how to help a whole generation meet Jesus face-to-face, and then in a moment, they met Jesus face-to-face. Austin, Luke, Stephen and Garrett were determined and focused, consumed with God’s call on their life to make a difference in this world. Rather than focus on starting big, money-making careers after graduating with business degrees, Austin and Stephen instead decided to become part of Teen Mania and do everything they could to rescue this generation.
In the middle of that focused mission God had for them, they lost their lives. What better way to go? Isn’t that the way we all would want to go, instead of being distracted by media, living a life that is meaningless, and treading water your whole life? They died in pursuit of a mission, and while their death seems senseless, they joined the ranks of people like John the Baptist, who was jailed for sharing the gospel and killed over a ridiculous whim of a king, and Jim Elliot and Nate Saint who were on a mission to reach the Auca Indians, whose lives were ended in pursuit of that mission.
What better way to meet Jesus face-to-face, when you’re all-consumed and focused on what He has called you to do, throwing yourself into spreading His message, abandoning every other possible treasure and honor that the world might offer. Then, in the next moment there you are with Him. This provides a great example for all of us. The way Austin and these three others went to Heaven is the way I want to go, focused on the call until the very end. May we all re-examine our focus on Jesus, that we might live like this until the very end.
Please pray for me as I am traveling to Tulsa for Garrett Coble’s funeral, and tomorrow to Muscatine, Iowa and Saturday to Sturgeons Bay, Wisconsin for the funerals for these three great men.
Thanks again for your prayers.
Remembering Austin Anderson
I will be attending the funeral for Austin Anderson at 2 p.m. today in Enid, Oklahoma. I wanted to share with all of you Austin’s obituary, which gives a beautiful testament to this young man’s life. Please take a moment to read and then leave a message for the Anderson Family at the link provided below.
Please keep the Anderson family, and Austin’s fiancee Elizabeth, in your prayers today and as they continue to deal with his loss.
Austin Grey Anderson
From the Enid News and Eagle
ENID — Austin G. Anderson, 27, passed away Saturday morning, May 12, 2012, at St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, Kan. Austin was born Feb. 6, 1985, to Monte Grey and Mary Frances Anderson.
Austin graduated from Ringwood High School in 2003, where he excelled in football, making the 8-man All-Star Team.
Following graduation, he joined the U.S. Marine Reserves and served two tours in Iraq. In 2012, Austin was pinned Staff Sergeant Anderson in Washington, D.C., and was later honorably discharged after eight years of dedicated military service.
Austin accomplished a life goal of graduating from Oral Roberts University on May 5, 2012, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Immediately after graduating, Austin began his dream career at Teen Mania Ministries in Tyler, Texas, as Head of Operations and Marketing. Austin was a dedicated member of Faith Center Fellowship, the church founded by Austin’s father.
While serving Teen Mania Ministries, Austin’s plane went down north of Wichita, Kan. Austin was one of two survivors of the accident and was able to heroically carry the other survivor from the scene of the accident. Once a Marine, always a Marine.
All who know Austin will forever profess of his inspiration to others to find purpose in life and strive to help all those in need. His favorite movie line quotes, “Every man dies, but not every man truly lives,” and Austin is one of the few that truly lived for each day.
Austin is survived by his fiancée and love of his life, Elizabeth Thaxton; his mother, Mary Anderson; brother, Aubrey James; sister, Allie Joy; grandparents, Don “Papa” and Carrol Ann “Annie” Anderson; grandmother, Edna Parker and husband Neil; and many extended family.
Proceeding in death is Austin’s father, Monte Grey Anderson; uncle, H.O. Scott; and grandfather, Don Steidl.
The celebration service will be 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Okla. Arrangements by Anderson-Burris Funeral Home.
Memorials are to ORU Veterans Scholarship.
Condolences online at www.andersonburris.com.
Life is a Journey
“Life is not a race-but indeed a journey. Be honest. Work hard. Be choosy. Say “thank you,” “I love you,” and “great job” to someone each day.