"We are going to focus on LIFE for Katya. I believe, one day, she will amaze the world."

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Wherein We Reveal a Huge Surprise--Part 1

Last Thursday night, we received a phone call from the Director of the local disability support group.

"Hope Anne, would your family like to go to a Joni and Friends Family Retreat?"

"Yes, Laura, we would, and Katya's school teacher even suggested to us that we consider going, but when we checked into it, the cheapest one was priced way out of our budget right now."

"Well, what about if it was all paid for? Would you be able to get there?!"

WHOA! What a minute! How could this be happening?!

As it turned out, the Family Retreat near Uniontown, PA, had a opening for one family who did not have a mobility issue. Because it was so very last minute, they had called Laura, asking if Joni and Friends covered most of the cost, would the local group have a family who could benefit from going?! The local support group had a scholarship fund for a family going to a Joni and Friends Retreat. That scholarship  would cover the remaining cost of the retreat that Joni and Friends was not covering.

As they say, "The rest is history". And it really IS.

We had the amazing and wonderful gift given to us late Thursday night. We scrambled over Friday and Sat to be clearing our schedules, notifying violin students and music teachers that we couldn't keep our scheduled appointments due to this wonderful opportunity that was given to us,  purchasing a couple of needed clothing items for the week, doing green beans, and generally trying to be ready to go.

Sunday we went out of town to our church denomination's conference. And Monday we packed up and left. Excitement was running HIGH. Some apprehension too! How would we explain the concept of what was happening to Katya?

Charity hit on the idea of explaining to Katya that we were going to a big long friendship party at a camp, and so we began to call it a "Friendship Camp Party" to distinguish it from the local support group parties.

She seemed interested--a bit anxious, but not anything we couldn't talk and support her through. Before leaving, hoping to make things less stressful, Charity had shown Katya the web cam for the camp entrance at Jumonville.

And happily, when we pulled up to the entrance, we were welcomed not only by a lot of smiling faces, and clapping and cheering, but by PIN WHEELS! Identical to the ones that sometimes line the walk up to the parties here locally, Katya focused immediately on them and began excitedly showing us that they were spinning in the breeze! She instantly relaxed, and it set the tone for the entire week of fun! This was indeed a friendship party, you could just about see her thinking. With lots of new people, at a new place, and it was odd to sleep there, but it was fine.  What an amazing God ordained detail just for Katya! ;-)

Along with all the clapping and cheering, and pinwheels and smiling faces, we had a personalized banner waving!


It said, "Press On" which was the theme for the week, and then our last name.

We were quickly shown where to go, and a swarm of smiling faces descended on our vehicle, begging for things to carry! It was entirely amazing how FAST all our suitcases, backpacks and pillows arrived in our second story room!!

We had to watch, or they would have cleared out every thing not screwed down in the van, I think! But, it was lovely! It all happened so fast, that we could turn right around and go down stairs where they had a golf cart waiting to whisk us up to supper at the dinning hall!

(To Be Continued)

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