Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday for the Military: Meet KC Frantzen

Today we have a very special guest! A few weeks ago I left a comment on the Seekerville blog for one of the authors about "Mondays for the Military." Imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail from another reader, excitedly telling me about people she knows in the military and about the program she helps with called "Wounded Warrior Getaway!" KC Frantzen and her husband both volunteer with WWG, and I'm thrilled to feature her today and give you a glimpse at this amazing program and the ways you could help!

So please join me in welcoming KC to "Seasons of Humility!"

Amber: Thank you so much for joining us today, KC! First of all, could you explain a little bit about yourself and the "Wounded Warrior Getaway"?

KC: Thank you for asking me to share about this fantastic program. (Waving to you and your readers!)

Joni Eareckson Tada has a 5 minute segment each morning on Moody Radio. ("Joni and Friends" presents the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people affected by disability, and their families, around the world.)

One particular morning in early 2009, Joni was talking about Family Retreats and mentioned they had recently started one for Wounded Warriors. I called my husband and he immediately agreed - this is something we wanted to do!

Amber: How does WWG serve military men and women? Do you have an example or two that you could share with us?

KC: Over 30 families participate at the Texas WWG. Most warriors have profound injuries: lost limbs, agonizing burns. Almost all have PTSD or TBI or perhaps are still in the hypervigilant stage of readjustment. With burns as an example, warriors endure 20, 30 or more surgeries. When they say "endless doctor's appointments and therapy", that is what is meant.

The real key to the WWG is family. This is the ONLY program in the U.S. that enables the entire family to come at NO CHARGE for an extended period (long weekend) not just a few hours. Donations from grateful American companies and individuals pay for the family's stay. (Volunteers raise our own support.)

Concerns vary with age: Why did this happen to me and my family? Why does God allow people to die? Why is my warrior Dad or Mom like this (angry, distant, disabled, disfigured, zombie, a wreck)? Will they ever get better? Will I have to be "the parent"? Will we ever escape psychiatrists writing everything down? Will we have to redeploy?

Two of the most poignant questions from warriors are: How can I provide for my family when I can't take care of myself? What if the pain is so bad I can't take it?

Some know a lot about Jesus Christ, some a little, and some seem to have never heard.

We serve them by being available, honest and loving. We are there to give the warriors and their spouses/caregivers unfettered time. We care for their children as if they are our own, so parents can fully give themselves to reconnecting.

Breakout sessions are led by professionals, one for spouses/caregivers, one for warriors. Participants sometimes share, for the very first time, thoughts and feelings they've grappled with since their injury.

Amber: What are some of the ways you've seen God at work in the lives of those you are helping?

KC: At this past April's Getaway after church on Sunday, we had open mike time. Two sang. One read a poem she had penned. Some commented: "I never knew there was something like this for my family. We really needed it and will be back and we'll tell others." And another said: "You all showed us what love is. You are Genesis to Revelation to me." One teen tried to tell us how much we had helped her dad… but could not finish for weeping. A lady warrior had everyone give us volunteers a standing ovation. They were amazed that some of us travel "so far" to minister to them.

(They have given EVERYTHING; we show up for a weekend.)

My favorite scene from the April getaway was out by the lake. A big ol' warrior was bagged out on a blanket under a Texas-size spreading live oak, knees up, ignoring all the water activities and rock climbers. On his chest was his little 18 month old daughter. They just communed for the better part of an hour. THIS is what the WWG is all about.

Here's a portion of an email already in our inbox when we returned home.

"Joni & Friends Team:

I would like to say a great big THANK YOU! Joni & Friends and all who were involved as well as the Warriors/families that participated blessed my soul and my wife's (also a warrior). I pray this can be implemented at most major military installations that deploy Soldiers frequently (Fort Bragg, NC; Fort Lewis, WA; Fort Carson, CO; Fort Benning, GA or Fort Stewart, GA; Fort Hood, TX; Fort Drum, NY; Fort Riley, KS; Fort Polk, LA & Fort Campbell, KY). It is a chance for families to be renewed and strengthened inside and outside. God has definitely taken something like a disability that most would say is a negative or bad thing, and made it into a true blessing and the devil can’t stop it. God never ceases to amaze me how He orchestrates miracles and blessings in a dim situation. With the Love and kindness shown, people will be drawn to Him. You all did that!!!"


Amber: Wow! This is a powerful program!

Have you learned anything about humility while working with WWG that you could share with us?


KC: YES! One is humbled in the presence of true heroes. The officer forced to make excruciating decisions after the IED explosion - his medic was killed and he couldn't save all his men. The warrior who wants to be a good husband and father, but can hardly care for himself. The wife who stands by the man she loves, the man who has changed so dramatically through no fault of his own. The teen who struggles with protecting his younger siblings and Mom OR trusting that his Dad can truly be in charge of the household once again. The husband who tenderly nurses his beautiful wife (now an amputee) back to health.

When a warrior stops you in the parking lot to chat, then pours out his heart and asks you to pray with him - This is holy ground, and it IS humbling.

The most humbling thing of all is to realize that you are part of someone's eternal destiny. Over a dozen people came to faith in Christ at the April Getaway.

Amber: What are some of the ways we could learn more about WWG and get involved (actively, financially, or otherwise)?

KC: Please click HERE to go to the website or call 210-481-5664. The program is expanding because of the urgent need. (I heard on the radio last week that over 25,000 wounded Marines have returned. That's just the Marines.) In addition to the events twice a year with Brooke Army Medical Center, Joni and Friends has added getaways with Walter Reed Army Hospital. The first one was last month.

As far as participation, there are several ways for grateful Americans to join in. Families receive goodie bags upon arrival. We need items like handwritten thank you notes, Christian books and music, Bibles, snacks, crayons, gift cards. We also have prizes such as cameras, DVD players, Wii games. Many choose to donate dollars, to sponsor events such as the BBQ dinner, climbing wall, fishing, horseback riding or an afternoon of pampering.

But the best way is to come join us and see for yourself! These experiences have greatly blessed our marriage, serving the Lord and our warrior families in this way.

Amber: How can we pray for you and all those involved with WWG?

KC: Prayer is THE most important part. Pray especially for the Chaplains. Especially them…

Kleenex alert!!! Charlynn, one of the volunteers, takes part as a clown and other characters too! Here is a sample of her impression of things and some prayer requests:

"I know many of the soldiers and their families. We have stayed in touch with each other over the two years since the Wounded Warrior Getaways began. I look forward to meeting the newcomers and welcoming them with the overflowing joy of the Lord.

The returning children look forward to seeing Care EE the clown, having their faces painted and playing with all the funny clothes, hair and hats. But I never cease to be amazed at the site of grown men, grinning from ear to ear as they try on floral hats, boas, and wigs that make them look like Rock Stars. It is better than Disneyland - and it is certainly like no place on earth.

Two new warriors came in our "Imagination Station." The husband and wife (both soldiers, both wounded) tried to take it all in, while smiles of wonderment broke across their faces. A green haired volunteer began to make her "sales pitch."

"Over here, you can try on one of these lovely outrageous costumes. Located on the shelves, fancy hats to assure you feel, well... fancy. And as you can see strewn across the tables against the walls - wigs of every color, length and style."

Their heads twisted from side to side. They laughed. The wife put on a pink and white feather boa and topped her look off with a "Salvador Dali" style artist's beret. Her husband started looking through the hairpieces and wigs, carefully weighing each style. Care EE was quick to assist.

"No, what I am looking for is something I can clip on." He was particular and purposeful. He finally found an elaborately braided clip-on blonde hairpiece which he attached to his safari hat. He flung his new found persona into Rock Icon mode. His wife laughed. They both posed for the commemorative photo.

She only had one leg. He had suffered burns over 80% of his body.

Who could have imagined this day? Who would have predicted their laughter?

From Psalm 126 The Message "We laughed, we sang, we couldn't believe our good fortune. We were the talk of the nations. "God was wonderful to them!" God was wonderful to us; we are one happy people."

Pray for "appointments" with the Great Physician
Pray for healing of unseen psychological wounds
Pray for wisdom of the volunteers handling the breakout sessions with the warriors and caregivers
Pray for enduring strength for the volunteers and staff of Joni and Friends
Pray for time with our guest speakers to make an impact
Pray for joy everlasting through salvation
Rejoice for the victories
Rejoice for greater is He that is with us, than he that is in the world
Rejoice for the resurrection power
Rejoice for the freedom we have to share the Gospel
Rejoice that death has no victory
Rejoice for our King is on the way"

[Also,] there is a WWG Oct 27-31, so pray for all participants, please!

Amber, I'm so glad to have "met" you through the gracious ladies at Seekerville. You're doing a wonderful job with your own blog and are a super inspiration to me!

If anyone wants to ask questions directly, they are welcome to contact me. Know that I'm only a volunteer, but I'm honored, and yes, humbled, to help our military any way I can.

Thank YOU for your heart!!!!

Amber: KC, it has been a pleasure to feature you and WWG today. Thank you for the wonderful example of love, caring, and dedication you have shown us. You are an inspiration, and may God bless the work that you and others are doing through WWG!

Note to readers: I just thought I would draw your attention to a new page for "Mondays for the Military." (The list of pages is in the top right section of the sidebar.) It includes a list of upcoming events and a way to contact me concerning this feature. Thank you for making it such a success!

32 comments:

Renee Ann said...

What a wonderful program! This whole post made me cry! I also see KC posting at Seekerville but didn't know anything about her. Thanks, KC, for all that you do.

Blessings on all those who support our brave men and women. I love to see God making something beautiful out of devastating loss! May all our warriors, wounded or not, come to know Him!

Kav said...

Wow -- I'm completely astounded, amazed, humbled...speechless!!!! I too have seen KC around in the blogosphere and it was neat to get to know her better. What an incredible cause and obviously there's such need for it. I'll definitely be praying harder and more specifically for our military after tuning in to your Military Mondays, Amber!

Project Journal said...

*dab, dab, dab at eyes* *sniffle sniffle*

KC!!!!
GREAT to see you here, girl! I had no idea you were a part of this program. It sounds fabulous. Thank you for your commitment.

I LOVE that picture of the soldier daddy and his lil baby....awwww makes me want to cry again : ( But it is truly glorious too.

Amber, love the new page! Check out my blog for some changes I've been making and I'm putting up a new post soon about meeting Gregory Maguire yesterday!! AHHHH!!
I'll check back i nlater,
Hannah

Julia M. Reffner said...

Amber and KC, I really have tears in my eyes this morning reading this and seeing the picture of the Daddy and his girl.

Truthfully, I was feeling a bit blue this morning about our cat being sick (and I have a feeling we might have to put her down today)and I'm really glad I stopped at your blog. What a great reminder to get my eyes off me!! There are so many that are going through great sacrifices. Thanks for the reminder to pray for others today. I needed this.

Diane said...

Great interview and much needed service they perform. Prayers and hugs to our military. :O)

KC Frantzen said...

Hey y'all.... :)

Thank you for the kind remarks. But really, this was just an example of answering when God "calls"... We are the ones who are blessed by participating.

Good to see you Renee Ann, Kav and Project Journal!!! Welcome to a tad of my crazy world. :)

Yeah... I KNOW! Each time there are "moments" like the ones mentioned. Divine appointments we like to say...

Thank you for your prayers for the Chaplains, the warrior families and this program. That is what makes everything possible. (You may know that Joni was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. So in addition to being a quadriplegic, she is facing this challenge. If you've not checked out Joni's Corner on her site, it's a must. Talk about a grace-oriented lady... And her precious husband, Ken...)

I'll try to check in today as time permits (and through the storms!) so if you have some questions, I'll do my best to answer them.

One thing I didn't mention is there is training for volunteers, so you can feel comfortable in volunteering. We have a full day before the families arrive to learn and be prepared.

I'd say one of the hallmarks of a successful program is evidenced by the folks who return. If the warriors are still actively in treatment, they are welcome to return, and many do. And many of the same volunteers return. It truly is, as Charlynn says, "like no place on earth."

Thanks again Amber, for having me. It is an honor to do anything for our AMAZING WARRIORS and WARRIOR FAMILIES.

You'd be counted among that number, Amber! Please thank your Dad and Mom and the rest of your family for YOUR service to our beloved country!!

KC Frantzen said...

Hey Julia,

Oh my. May sends (((hugs))) along with mine. It is so hard. They leave pawprints on your heart don't they?

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Thank you so much for this! Thanks also to all who serve to keep us safe.
Warmly
Cheryl Wyatt

Renee Ann said...

Amber, I linked to your article because it really touched my heart. My subscribers might not receive an email update until tomorrow morning, but hopefully some of them will take the times to read this!

Sandra said...

Thanks for all you do, KC. This is a great program and my family will be looking into how we can be more involved.

Cher' Shots said...

My husband and I are happy to say Karen is a personal freind. When you hear the phrase 'gives from the heart' that pretty much wraps up who Karen is. 'hugs from afar'

Amber S. said...

Thank you all for stopping by to leave a comment for KC! This is a powerful and wonderful program she's involved in, isn't it? :D

RENEE ANN: This was certainly a touching interview, and I'm so glad that KC contacted me! She's a very sweet person, and it has been fun e-mailing back and forth. :)

As to the second part of your comment: Amen!

KAV: It's so amazing to learn more about the lives of our blogging friends. KC is certainly an inspiration!

You know, I confess that as the person conducting these interviews and putting these posts together, I think I sometimes take for granted what the interviews are actually saying and how amazing it all truly is (which you think would be the opposite way around). Your note about praying is a wonderful reminder for me, as well, so thank you! :D

HANNAH: Isn't that picture so moving? It is so, so sweet, and such a beautiful picture of everyone's need for familial love.

So glad you like the new page! (Did you notice the "Blog Awards" page inspired by you? You should check it out!) Anyway, I see you added some new pages, as well, and I definitely need to go check out your blog again today soon! :D

And...is it really bad if I don't know who Gregory Maguire is...? I need to find out! ;)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

JULIA: It is such a sweet picture! And I love that picture of KC and her husband, as well. :) So cute!

I am so sorry about your cat, Julia. :( *big hug* I love my kitty, and I can't imagine the pain involved with knowing you have to put your dear pet down. May the Lord bless and comfort you today.

DIANE: I'm glad you enjoyed the interview! It is indeed a much-needed and wonderful service they do, isn't it? Thank you for stopping by!

EVERYONE: I'll be back to respond to more comments in a little while!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

KC: It has been such a pleasure not only hosting you today, but being in contact with you through e-mail! :D You are such a sweet, generous, warm-hearted person, and I'm so glad we're friends! You are certainly an inspiration!

And that is so hard, what Joni is going through! May the Lord give her and her family strength and comfort through this time.

Also, thank you for your kind words to me and my family! :)

CHERYL: I'm so glad you were touched by the interview! Thank you, indeed, to all those who help our military men and women. :)

RENEE ANN: You're so sweet! Thank you! It would be really neat if we could spread the word about KC and the Wounded Warrior Getaway. :D

SANDRA: Thank you for leaving a comment for KC! That would be fabulous if more people could be involved in this. :)

CHER' SHOTS: KC is a wonderful friend, and I just know her in the blogging world! I'm sure she's even more wonderful in person. :) I think your description fits beautifully. Thank you for stopping by!

~Amber

KC Frantzen said...

Checking in before shutting this down for the evening. :)

Please let me know if there are other questions. Happy to answer them.

And remember, there is a WWG this week so be praying please. And always remember to pray for the Chaplains, and of course, our warriors and families.

God bless you all!

Amber S. said...

KC: Thank you for checking in! Again, so wonderful to host you here, and thank you for sharing with us about this great program!

God bless you, and all the volunteers, Chaplains, and warriors and families!

~Amber

Poet of Purpose said...

Thanks for quoting my blog about the Wounded Warrior Getaway in April.

(http://sunshineafterrainministries.blogspot.com)

I appreciate Monday for Military, and all the new prayers it will generate for the upcoming weekend with the Warriors. There are many new families in attendance. The Harvest is ripe. Pray to the Lord of the Harvest for the workers!!

Amber S. said...

POET OF PURPOSE: The Wounded Warrior Getaway sounds like an amazing program; it was an honor to be able to host KC so she could share about it! :)

I'm so glad you like the "Mondays for the Military" feature. I have been so blessed by all the people I have been able to meet because of it. :) God bless you and all those who are helping with and attending WWG this next weekend! Thank you so much for stopping by!

~Amber

Vince said...

Hi Amber:

What a wonderful post. I think KC and those who help her are heroines as well.

Something that is also inspiring is the Honor Flights that take whole plane loads of WWII vets to see the WWII memorial in D.C. My sister-in-law is a Commander in the Navy and she has worked on several of these flights. She even did the flight that her father went on.

The idea is to let these vets see the WWII memorial before they die. Many are in bad shape. Some do not even live long enough to take the flight. There seems to be last minute openings on every flight.

These men and women are so proud to be remembered and yet I doubt that there is a one of them who will admit to being a hero. WWII hurt so badly that it took decades to build the WWII memorial. It’s just wonderful to see how much people still care. I think these Honor Flights are also reassuring to the vets now serving.

Great post. Keep up the inspiring work.

Vince

Amber S. said...

VINCE: I so agree! KC is indeed a heroine, and a wonderful example to us all. :D

The Honor Flights sound amazing and very, very moving. What a great thing your sister-in-law does, and all those who help with that program! The WWII memorial is awe-inspiring and powerful to see, and I was blessed with the opportunity to see it this past summer. I can only imagine how it might effect those who were actually in WWII.

Do you think your sister-in-law would be willing to talk about this on my blog? What a post that would be, as well!

~Amber

Vince said...

Hi Amber:

I’m sure my Sister-in-Law would be happy to be on your blog. How could she not after she sees what a great joy you are doing! I’ll send a link to her military email.

BTW: She also worked with Navy astronauts and the Blue Angles. When she was teaching, she brought a Navy astronaut to her school to meet the kids. How cool is that?

Vince

Vince said...

Hi Amber:

I meant 'job' above but 'joy' works just as well when you think about it.

Vince

Amber S. said...

VINCE: Thank you so much for the compliment, and for e-mailing your sister-in-law for me! What a privilege it would be to host her here! :) It sounds like she's a very generous and kind-hearted person.

And that is very cool about the Navy astronauts! :D

~Amber

Amanda said...

Amber & KC, I am absolutely awestruck and speechless by this amazing interview! Goodness, the tears just won’t end! I had to keep stopping to collect myself and grab more tissues! KC, it is a pleasure to meet you :) THANK YOU for what you and your husband do, and for all you’ve shared with us. Your words here, the testimonies, the sacrifices and prayer requests, have been so very powerful, inspiring, soul-stirring and humbling.

I can’t even imagine what these incredible men and women have gone through, what they are going through now, and what they have yet to face down the road. It’s as if the battlefield follows them home. Only the sovereign grace, supernatural strength and perfect peace of Almighty God can carry a soul through such pain and uncertainty. Praise be to the Lord that can reach in past the external wounds and heal the ones deep within the heart and mind. And, He is using you and all of the other amazing volunteers to be His hands and feet! Your work reminds me of the lyrics to the song “Love Them Like Jesus” by: Casting Crowns

“You’re holding their hand
You’re straining for words
You’re trying to make sense of it all
They're desperate for hope, darkness clouding their view
And they’re looking to you…

Just love them like Jesus
Carry them to Him
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
You don’t need the answers to all of life’s questions
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side
Love them like Jesus”

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. KC, thank you again for all that you've shared with us here, and for letting us know how to pray for our courageous, selfless, heroic, wounded warriors and their precious families. I pray the Lord will bless you and all of the other volunteers richly and continue to use you all mightily in Jesus’ name :)

Amber, thank you for another incredible post, my friend, and the opportunity to meet such incredible people!!

Blessings,
Amanda Stanley

Amber S. said...

AMANDA: Thank you so much for sharing those song lyrics, and for leaving such a touching comment for KC! :D She is truly doing an inspirational thing, sharing God's love with others in an active way.

It is definitely hard to imagine what these military men and women suffer deep within their hearts for the things they have seen and the trials and suffering they have been through. I recently talked with my dad about a similar topic on the phone, and I cried as he told me about just one of the things he had seen when he was in law enforcement. To think that he has to live with being a witness to such horrific things in this world that many of us never even think about! It is heart-breaking. But the Lord is indeed mighty to heal, and He can use us to reach out in comfort and understanding toward one another.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for stopping by! It's always good to hear from you, Amanda. :)

And I am the one who has blessed by getting to meet all these people through the "Mondays for the Military" feature and God's providence. :D What a gift, and I'm so pleased I have the honor of introducing these people (like KC) to all of you!

~Amber

KC Frantzen said...

Stopping back by.

If this lets folks know a way to pray, then my work is DONE!!! :)

Vince - super cool.

Amber, you have quite the collection of readers. Way to go! The Lord is using you mightily!!!

For all who commented, thank you. Truly, this was God's call. We just answered. The same can and WILL happen for YOU!!! Just listen!!!

Remember, the next WWG begins - TODAY! Please pray as Charlynn (Poet of Purpose) mentioned. She and a friend are traveling from Dallas to be there...

And those precious Chaplains. They are an amazing group.

Phil 4:19

Amber S. said...

KC: May the Lord bless WWG--all those attending this weekend and all those who are helping. :)

Thank you again, KC, for sharing with us about this amazing program! I have been so blessed by my readers' responses, as well. Aren't they great? :D

~Amber

KC Frantzen said...

FANTABULOUS!!!!!!

Cheryl Wyatt said...

I loved this so much I had to read it again. KC keep up the great work!

Keep passing opportunities along for military book giveaways too! I'm always happy to help. Bless you!
Cheryl

Amber S. said...

CHERYL: Thank you for sharing that! It truly is a blessing to read about KC's wonderful example. :)

And I'll definitely keep that in mind! Maybe you would be willing to do an interview/giveaway for "Mondays for the Military" one week? :) The books I have to giveaway are actually military devotional-type books, which is such a neat opportunity! Can't wait to read more of them and pass them along!

~Amber

KC Frantzen said...

Amber and everyone,
Just a quick note to remind you that there is another WWG at the end of April.
Please especially pray for our Chaplains, and all those God would like to attend this spring Getaway...
Prayer and thank you notes and prizes and Christian books and games - whatever you can think of. Just go to that link and participate. And if you can join in, in person... FABULOUS! :)

Amber S. said...

KC,

Thank you for the reminder to pray for the next WWG! :) May God bless all those chaplains, volunteers, and our wounded warriors and their families!

Thank you for all you do! :D

~Amber