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Divine Visitor - November 2016

This post was originally shared by Inheritance of Hope co-founder Kristen Milligan in November of 2010.  As we prepare for our largest New York City Legacy Retreat® yet (21 families), we look back at her reflections from the first Legacy Retreat® there.

 

"They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.”  -- Daniel 3:27

 

As I write this devotional, Inheritance of Hope is hosting its first Legacy Retreat® in New York City.  My prayer is that the seven families gathered there are being blessed with memories, community, and support, just as my life has been changed by these blessings at previous Legacy Retreats®.  This is the first Legacy Retreat® which I have not attended, and my heart hurts to miss meeting the families God has brought together this weekend.  Instead I am home recovering from a difficult surgery, feeling broken and useless despite wonderful family support and an ever-patient and encouraging husband.  I know those of you who have battled illness and the inevitable treatments know what I am feeling.


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Volunteer Spotlight: Nate Most

Repeat volunteer Nate Most first heard of Inheritance of Hope at a small tractor dealership in his hometown of Brady, Nebraska.  A rancher, Nate was simply doing business and was surprised when a stranger who had come in for oil approached him and told about how his own family had been blessed by an IoH Legacy Retreat®.  The story resonated with Nate since his wife of 25 years, Amy, had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.


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Volunteer Spotlight: Haylee Bunner

Haylee Bunner turned in her Inheritance of Hope volunteer application as soon as she could--the very day she turned 18. She had been waiting for the chance to serve families like hers for quite some time. Haylee, her brother Cameron, and their parents Matthew and Kim attended an Orlando Legacy Retreat® in May 2012. Kim passed away a little over a year later.

 

“I knew that volunteering was something my mom would have done had she been healed.“  Haylee describes Kim as someone who loved to help other people. “To know that her death gave me the ability to understand much of what these families are going through would have given her peace.”


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Family Spotlight: Strebe Family

Strebe Family at Their Legacy Retreat®
Strebe Family at their Legacy Retreat®

The Strebe family—Jon, Donna, Luke, Ryan, and Emma Kate—attended an Orlando Legacy Retreat® in February 2014, shortly after Jon underwent a bone marrow transplant and thoracic surgery. At the time, he was battling stage 3 testicular cancer metastases to the lungs.  Donna remembers that the trip to Orlando came at a very emotional time.

 

“It had been a tough year, and the volunteers served from the bottom of their souls and blessed us. We said from that point forward we would serve as long as we were able.”


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Lisa Duscio -- 2 Races, 2 Continents, 1 Weekend

Friday, March 13, 2015, Jerusalem Half Marathon: Runners climb paths long traveled by pilgrims. They gaze upon landscapes that have been treasured and disputed for ages. The paths are now roads and the scenes have been added to, but the place is timeless—as are the struggles and dreams of its people. Men and women of many nations pass through the Jaffa Gate under the watchtower of David and exit the Old City through the Zion Gate. They run along the once-cursed Valley of Gehenna, past a U.N. peace-keeping site, and close to the tense area of East Jerusalem. And, the marathoners run by ancient sites, holy sites, places that are sacred. With each step, one runner offers a silent prayer. With each new view, she senses the courage that new life will one day be ushered in. With each breath, she hopes for this nation to find peace with God.

 

Sunday, March 15, 2015, New York City Half Marathon: Cheers from hundreds of voices fill the air, smiles of encouragement grace diverse faces, and opportunity is demonstrated on every corner. The course begins in Central Park and passes by evidence of what is possible—down broad avenues flanked by the rewards of prosperity, through the excitement of Times Square, and into revitalized neighborhoods along the Hudson River. The runners race past the World Trade Center site and Battery Park. They finish on Wall Street. With each step, one runner offers a praise of thanks. With each new view, she feels courage that God is as present now as ever. With each breath, she hopes that one day all people will know the Prince of Peace and His peace that passes all understanding.

 

Over the weekend of March 13th-15th, Lisa Duscio, Team Inheritance of Hope Coordinator and Legacy Retreat® volunteer, completed a marathon spanning two continents: the Jerusalem Half Marathon and the New York City Half Marathon. The routes and experiences may have seemed divergent, but her goal and heart were of one mind.


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Coordinator Spotlight: Kim Loving

Click here to see how!
Kim Loving was first introduced to Inheritance of Hope (IoH) through a letter from a volunteer.  Kim and Natalie Lindell lived in the same neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida.  Natalie had volunteered on several Legacy Retreats® and had heard about Kim, a young mother who was battling breast cancer for the second time.  Natalie dropped off a note about the organization and its retreats at Kim’s house.

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Meet the Rye Family

The wintry weather in New York City was a bit of a challenge for the Rye family from Florida, but Joel Rye said it didn't stop his family from making memories at the Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat® in November 2013.
 
“We'll always remember all the people of IoH being so loving and giving,” he said. “It was just stress free.”
   
The past two years have been particularly challenging for Joel's family. Almost a decade after doctors first discovered melanoma on his ear, Joel learned his cancer had spread. Doctors said he had mere months to live.

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Meet the Young Family

Phyllis Young learned about Inheritance of Hope when a local North Carolina television station featured the organization. She immediately knew her family would enjoy going to an IOH Legacy Retreat®.

“I knew we took things for granted and we needed to take some time to step back and enjoy being a family,” she said.


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Meet the Martin Family

When Amy Martin from North Carolina was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007, her two oldest children, John and Jennifer, were respectively off at college and working in California. But her youngest, Lyndi, was 7 years old and still lived at home.  “She has grown up with the ups and downs of the cancer world,” Amy said. “You worry about


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Meet the Hichkad Family

Amanda Hichkad has stage IV cancer that started as cervical cancer in 2008 but spread to her spine, lungs, and liver. She’s been through surgeries, radiation, and 13 rounds of chemotherapy, and she visits doctors several times a week to keep the illness under control.

That’s all in addition to being the mother of three boys


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Meet the Hull Family

“There’s a really big need to tell your story,” said Julie Hull of Eagan, Minn.

Julie’s husband, Ken, was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer after a blood clot was found in his calf three years ago. Ken was a long-distance runner, and the cancer stunned Julie and their 12-year-old son, Sam.

“It drew us into a totally different plane,” Julie said.

Soon the Hulls were making routine hospital visits. Ken underwent 18 rounds of chemotherapy, 10 rounds of radiation, and two brain surgeries.


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Meet the Siscos

Jenifer Sisco, a teacher and mother of three from Midland, Michigan, was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in May 2011. Then came Jenifer’s first surgery after the diagnosis.

“The news we got was worse than we expected,” said Michael, Jenifer’s husband.

The surgery and further testing showed cancer had spread to Jenifer’s bones.

“It was complete shock because of how young I am and the fact I have young children,” Jenifer said.


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Meet the Spears

Kassandra Spears has battled cancer for most of her life. The 44-year-old mother of two from Port Lavaca, Texas, discovered a melanoma spot on her neck at age 15. She underwent surgery and appeared to be cured. Two decades later, Kassandra had married her husband Andy and was caring for her two kids, 12-year-old Ashley and 9-year-old Steven, when cancer came back in 2008.


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NYC...Here we come!

Times SquareThe November 2012 New York City Legacy will kick off this Sunday.  This year, we have 16 families from around the country including: Indiana, Texas, California, Oregon, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Dakota, Mississippi, Arkansas, Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nebraska, and Washington.  Similarly, our loving and servant-hearted volunteers are from New York, Indiana, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Maryland.

Here are a few of the highlights these families can expect:


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A Night Out

Tonight everyone enjoyed a night out! Even the rain couldn't damper our delight to head out on the town.

All of the parents were given gift cards to eat at a fancy New York City restaurant.  They were thrilled to have a nice evening just as adults, but not as thrilled as their children were to have Kids Night Out!  


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A New Day...More Fun!

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This morning it is a little bit cooler and cloudy in the Big Apple.

Most of the families were a little later down to breakfast this morning, feeling the tiredness from an amazing a busy day yesterday.  After filling their bellies with the Novotel's delicious breakfast spread everyone was able to perk up to begin a fun and full day in the city.


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Rockin' with the Rockettes

What an amazing night!

Following a scrumptious dinner  at the Hotel Novotel we took a 3 block walk to Radio City Music Hall. All of the families were super excited to see the show.

The show started with a 3D movie experience and moved into a kick line.  The Rockettes were amazing as santas, toy soldiers, shoppers, humbug zappers, and glittery Christmas decorations.

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Circle the City

Today has been a great day! The weather has been fantastic and all the families are enjoying each other and New York City.

This morning's blog update proved to be an accurate description of everything we have done.  In other words, everything has gone according to plan!  I love it when that happens. 


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Filled with Excitement

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The Hull Family

Currently (at 6:30am) the skies are clear and it is 53 degrees.  This day will start with a delicious breakfast at the Hotel Novotel. Did I mention that this luxurious hotel is in the heart of Times Square and we only need to look out our windows to see the most spectacular view of New York City?  Families have been enjoying the rooftop deck. Make sure you check out the pictures! (You have to be a member of the "Fans of the 2011 New York City Legacy Group".)

Anyone can join just click "join group".


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The Big Apple

NYC Skyline

Ten days from today 16 families from 10 different states will arrive in New York City for a trip of a lifetime. They will arrive from California, Florida, Missouri, Minnesota, Georgia, North Carolina, Washington, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota.

Although we serve a wide variety of families with a wide variety of conditions it always amazes me that the community that develops at our Legacy Retreats is very rich and unified.  These families may come from all over the country but they have much in common. One of the commonalities is their excitement regarding this retreat.  Understandably so....


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