Wounded Warrior Getaway

  • Jan. 3, 2012
  • #7742

Joni: Hi, friends, and welcome to this first week of 2012. And I’m Joni Eareckson Tada…

Ken: And I’m Ken Tada.

Joni: And here we are, starting the New Year together. Are you loving it, Ken Tada?

Ken: Oh, I am loving it, Joni. You know, we’re going to be going to Family Retreats this year, colleges and universities – that’s always exciting for us. And also, you know what? We’ll be going to a Wounded Warrior Getaway in partnership with the Chaplain’s Office at Camp Pendleton.

Joni: Well, absolutely, Ken! You know, people have asked me, “Joni, why should your ministry be involved with military families?”

Ken: And my answer to them is: Why not? These families have been probably devastated by some of the worst disabilities. And it’s the ones that sometimes you can’t see. You know, of course, men and women have lost limbs in war, but it’s the PTSD (Post Traumatic Syndrome) that men and women come back with from these war zones. 

Joni: Absolutely, servicemen and women, marines, soldiers, and sailors coming back from the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, having sustained injuries… Okay, here’s what a Wounded Warrior Getaway looks like, friends: Imagine these hard-as-steel Marines and their families arriving kind of reserved, a little stiff, wondering, What in the world have we gotten ourselves into?! But next, picture them being flooded with four days of slam-dunk fun and feasting, hot-air ballooning, rock wall climbing, a carnival, spa treatments for the wives…

Ken: …A 'patriotic' barbecue, campfire with s'mores… You know, Joni, what it does is give them opportunities to spend time with their families. I think, one of the neatest things for me is to watch these men and women who we have so much to owe for our freedoms come to these camps very much reserved, very much “well, what is it we’re going to do here,” and by the time the middle of the camp takes place and we’re getting towards the end, they’re talking, they’re laughing, they’re holding each other, hugging each other, and it’s just great!

Joni: Absolutely! It’s something for the whole family, not just for the wounded marine; not just for the wounded soldier. Games, parties, prizes for the kids, heartwarming times around God's Word, and awesome music. And on Sunday afternoon, the closing day, when Ken and I were at our most recent Wounded Warrior Getaway, Marine Corps Chaplain, Ron Hutchkiss pointed these men, wives, and children to Jesus Christ. Afterward, at the sharing time, every steel-hard heart had softened and tears of gratitude and repentance flowed as couples wrapped their arms around one another.

Ken: You know, it’s interesting, those Wounded Warrior Getaway evaluation forms that we usually pass out, all of them to the man and woman said  “excellent.” One Marine wrote, “I have become a better man, husband, father, brother, son, Marine, Christian since I attended your retreat.”

Joni: You know, Ken, how did the Wounded Warrior Getaway affect you? Because you were there moving among the marines.

Ken: Well, I think it affected me from the standpoint that over these many years, every time we go to an airport or public area and we see our soldiers in uniform, we always go up to them and thank them for the sacrifices they make for our country. But to go to a place where these men of honor, the same men who have been fighting for our freedoms and have either visible wounds or invisible wounds, and realizing the sacrifice they have made for our country, we can enjoy the freedoms that we do.

Joni: It’s wonderful to do something for them, isn’t it? Like I Timothy says, “Endure hardship as a good soldier.” These men and women are an example to us how we can handle hardship. So let’s remember to lift our military men and women up in prayer! And if you know of someone wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan, tell them about our Wounded Warrior Getaways – get all the details at joniandfriends.org. 

© Joni and Friends

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