We are in week two of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a special time of the year here at Lighthouse Family Retreat. September holds a significant place in our hearts because it allows us to bring forward numerous stories that shed light on the impact of childhood cancer. Today, we are thrilled to present reflections from three families who joined us for a retreat this past summer, revealing its powerful and lasting effects on their lives. We hope you find their reflections both touching and inspiring.
We are still overwhelmed with joy by the love we felt and the care we received from everyone there, especially the Smiths and Greshes. The placing of those two amazing families with us was absolutely divine. Our kids matched up perfectly, not only by age but also by personality, and we felt like we built lasting friendships. From the time we drove up to see them with our “Welcome Morphis Family” poster and started crying to the tear-filled goodbyes on the condo deck. Their example of love, service, and sacrifice was something we have never felt before at that level, and have thought of and still talk about each day.
Upon leaving, we received a care box packed with sincere notes that brought us to tears. We use the daily study bible verse book at night and have added it to our dinner routines for scripture study. We still have the “Welcome Morphis Family” poster propped up in our kitchen bay window to remind us of the week. We loved the “therapy sessions” each morning and the ability to connect with other parents and talk about our stories. This was both some of the most helpful and hardest times of the week, which gave me healing that I didn’t realize I needed.
We grew close to one of the other cancer families and are in regular communication. We loved the daily verses posted on the wall in the main tent. We felt so much healing as a family, healing that we didn’t realize we all needed, which brought us even closer. I cry now as I think about the power, strength, and support for each of us that came to us from individuals who wanted to serve and give everything they could. Your daily songs and prayers were wonderful. One of the best parts of the week for our entire family was the service on Thursday night, with singing and testimony. I love the spirit we felt that evening as we worshiped through song.
You have created such an amazing program and community, and we are indeed grateful to have been a part of it. We will always cherish the week we had at LFR, so thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Our toddler still talks about his friends from Lighthouse. He had such an amazing time, as we all did, but it was a relief for us as parents that we knew he was excited and happy to go to flip flop time, unbirthday party, etc! Common Grounds was so amazing for us to be vulnerable and to be trusted for others to be vulnerable and share as well. The Howie’s led us so wonderfully and helped us all feel comfortable, welcomed and cared for so quickly. Our hosts were a perfect match for our family & the Cortez kids. We had a blast. The Cortez’s & our Emily fully allowed us to rest by cleaning and doing our laundry on top of loving on us and our kids so well in so many ways.
I’d also like to share SUCH a God story regarding our trip!
I have had seizures for almost 9 years now. They have always seemed to be related to big changes in hormones, but we’ve never been able to find a neurologist who could really focus on that and help me. We wern’t originally even supposed to be on this particular retreat, but the original date I chose ended up being the same date as our church’s VBS. I contacted Jackie, and she so very kindly moved us to this retreat. The night of the parent's night out, we “randomly” sat by one of the other couples, and in conversation, it ‘randomly’ came up that she also has seizures. In discussing and sharing both of our stories, they shared that her neurologist in Wisconsin (we’re in Georgia) SPECIALIZES IN CATAMENIAL EPILEPSY. ONLY GOD! He orchestrated all the changes, all the ‘random’ happenings that aren’t random whatsoever, etc! How amazing is HE? We’re currently in the process of waiting for an appointment and will happily travel to Wisconsin for a neurologist who specializes and can finally help me. Praise God!!
Thank you to everyone who played a part in that and allowed God to use you in many different ways for our family and many others. We are forever grateful.
The retreat was awesome!! It was the right time for my family. We are a party of 4 and spend all of our time together. My kids are the smallest in my family, so they do not have playmates. Seeing them interact with other kids was everything. I loved that for them. They are not your typical kids. My daughter has spent many days away at doctor visits, and my son has spent time with his grandparents. So, they do not normally get to have many fun days. My daughter finished chemo in January, and they have been enjoying each other so far. The week spent with Lighthouse was exactly what we needed. I wish they could do more stuff like this in the future. They enjoy being around kids their age. They also enjoyed meeting new people because they still talk about it. This week was an energizer for my whole family. We, as parents, enjoyed the breakout sessions. It was so nice to be around people who can relate to what we have going on. We felt right at home. Everyone was so nice. We are thankful for our extra helping hands and host families. They were great. They helped with everything. It was nice to let my guard down and let someone else help me. It taught me that it’s okay to let people help. It’s ok to take a step back. Overall, Lighthouse was WONDERFUL. We are grateful for the opportunity, and thank you for allowing my family to enjoy the moment.