Hannah is Walking!

I want to thank you all so much for praying! As we have heard from people praying from all around the world for Hannah’s recovery, she continues to be in the burn center of the KU Medical Center in Kansas City and is making significant progress. She’s still in quite a bit of pain, but she is beginning to use her limbs more. In fact, just yesterday she walked all the way to the visitors area and back without a walker, which is the first time she’s walked over the last three weeks.

Hannah continues to be encouraged by the many cards, letters, and gifts sent from all over. Even small gestures of generosity have moved Hannah deeply. Children have written her get-well letters, with their creative touch on them. Others who’ve been through similar traumas have written letters of encouragement, saying they’re praying for her.

In fact Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas called to encourage Hannah the other today. He said that, as he was passing through Chanute, KS the other day, people were still talking about the accident. Gov. Brownback listened to Hannah’s story and then prayed for her, and that really lifted her spirit.

We believe that today will be the first chance she’ll get to go outside for the first time in three weeks. She’s really looking forward to that. Her skin is tender and painful, and still is growing back. She has to work out regarding the functioning of her muscles, which, for all intents and purposes, have not been used in the last three weeks.

We anticipate moving Hannah Monday morning down to a hospital/rehab center in Dallas, Texas. As kind as all the people are in Kansas, I think we’re ready to get back to our home state.

Is the Church Really a Hospital?

Having spent the last two-and-a-half weeks almost completely living in the hospital where Hannah is being treated, I’ve been immersed in a whole new world. Whether it’s sleeping by Hannah’s bedside in the ICU night after night, or walking the halls and corridors of this incredible place, one thing has become glaringly apparent: Hospitals are full of hurting people.

We all know that people get injured, but when you’re living in hospital for several weeks of time, you begin to realize it’s a massive epidemic. People are in wheelchairs. They are young — some just children. Some are older. Some walk with a limp. Others have bandages. Some are rushing into the Emergency Room with obvious wounds. Some have just come out of surgery and are being wheeled down the hallway with multiple contraptions attached to them. Some have been there for years it appears, getting ongoing treatments.

It is interesting how hospitals attract hurting people. People realize they need help, know that something’s broken, and they cannot fix it by themselves. People are hurting everywhere. People are injured. People have got diseases. People have emergencies. And they all come to this central place. I wonder if we could put our glasses on, as it were, and see what all of humanity is going through, if they would all be in just as bad shape physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.

I wonder, if we could see through God’s eyes, would many of those we come into contact with every day look like they’re wandering the halls of a hospital, looking for a physician or someone who can give them some kind of help? I wonder, if our churches were really perceived as a place of healing, would these hurting people be streaming into our doors every week?

I wonder if many of them are already walking in our doors? We see them as “visitors” when really they’re checking to see if the Physician can help them.

I’m also amazed at all the people employed by hospitals who make them run. Of course there are innumerable medical employees – doctors of every sort, surgeons, specialists, nurses. There are counselors and psychiatrists, too, and people who specialize in wrapping people’s wounds and helping them manage pain.

They all sort of look the same. They all are either wearing scrubs or some kind of a white coat with stethoscopes around their in the necks, treating patient after patient. All of them know their jobs, and at the right point in treatment, they come in and execute their skills.

In addition to the medical personnel, there are the people who cook the food, the people who clean the dishes, people who work on the heating, and the air-conditioning, and the lights, and the building maintenance. Every single role is imperative in order for a single person to get well.

I begin to wonder if we as the body of Christ all understand the role that we play in the same way.
Do we know what part of the healing process we were designed to play in the Kingdom of God and in the lives of those who are hurting all around us? Have we been trained? Have we refined our skills? Are we on call, waiting for opportunities to reach the hurting people all around us?

It is true that Hannah would be waiting, would continue to wait, and would never progress to the next level of healing unless the next specialist walked into the room to assess, and then take her to the next level. I wonder how many more people would be helped and healed if we all similarly pursued our roles in God’s hospital, the Church?

Healing Continues

I want to thank all of you who’ve prayed for Hannah, who’ve expressed your love and compassion for her in various creative ways. I cannot begin to tell you how much it has meant to Hannah, Katie and myself.

Over the weekend Hannah has progressed steadily, although she continues to battle bouts of pain in different parts of her body. It seems as though one drug will work for the pain for a while, and then the next day it won’t work and we’ll have to try something else.

It appears as though all of her grafts are taking, according to the doctor’s examination yesterday. We’re thanking God for that, as sometimes portions of grafts do not take and patients have to be operated on again. We are praying that no more operations are necessary and that she can continue to heal.

We have spent hours and hours reading cards and letters sent by well-wishers from all over. It’s been very encouraging for Hannah knowing she’s had so many people tell her how they’re praying for her. She still is in shock and asks, “How all these people know?”

As her wounds continue to heal, we’re beginning to look towards when we can transfer her to a Dallas hospital/rehab center. We should know more about that within the next 24 hours, and hopefully next week will be able to have the transfer complete.

Thank you for your continued prayers for Hannah, both for the physical side as well as the mental and emotional sides as she begins to pray and understand how to go forward now that all of this has transpired.

I’ve continued to reach out to the various family members of those that perished, and ask you to continue to pray for those family members. Pray that the Lord is healing their hearts and giving them perspective for the future. I have the greatest respect for each of them, and for each of the young men who gave their lives in the line of duty for the kingdom of God.

Hannah’s Continued Recovery

I wanted to share with you the latest on Hannah’s recovery and let you know just how much your prayers have meant to us.

Hannah has had a total of four skin graft surgeries, and she is recovering well. Doctors removed the tube from her throat and she is completely off of the respirator. She’s still heavily-medicated because of the pain, but we are hopeful that the pain will pass quickly. Her legs and right arm are immobilized until tomorrow to ensure the grafts adhere.

When Hannah is alert, she is joyful. She’s so overwhelmed by all of the cards and well-wishes she received and keeps asking “How did hey find out about me?”.

She seems to be doing better by the hour. She was able to drink today and hopefully will be eating tomorrow. As her grafts and donor sites heal, she will begin the process of physical therapy. Doctors estimate physical therapy could last two months.

Thanks so much for your love and prayers! It is sustaining Hannah and our whole family during this time. Please continue to pray for the families of the four men who died – the grieving process is long and difficult. Continue to love on them and lift them up to the Lord.

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.
 

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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.

- Ron

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 Sheets

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.

Stephen Luth

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.



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