Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sharing the story this weekend...

I have the opportunity to share the Journey through Fire story this weekend at Cedar Grove Community Church in Livermore, CA.

It has been a challenge to dive back into the blog and sift through what to share. I actually had hoped Jake would be with me but he will be up at Champ Camp (camp for children youth who are burn survivors). Each of us has a part in the story and while I want him to tell his story. I am realizing that I want to hide behind him a bit. Yet as it worked out it is my turn. He will get his chance. My story is not his story.

Prayers of course are welcome to all who are reading this as I try to communicate the story and how we experienced the presence of God through the community that surrounded us in the midst of trial.

Grace and peace,


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Jacob....

Happy Birthday Jacob Kirkendall. 
19 years old today!
So thankful for your life.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jake speaking at Faith Community

I have been "blogging" on www.kirkendallministries.com/blog - but I thought I would write a quick update here about Jake.

Jake is winding up his first semester at Cabrillo College where he is majoring in Fire Science. He has also been working part-time at Freeline Surf in Capitola. Overall he is doing awesome but the lingering challenges are the graft sites on his thumb and heel and the pain in his back. He has appointments this week with Physical Therapy and Podiatry. Last week we saw his plastic surgeon who did a little work on the small spot that is not healing well still. Jake nicked it a couple of months ago on kelp while surfing and the wound would normally take a few days to heal - but Jake's thumb has been through a lot and is delicate. The heel is challenging finding shoes that won't rub and cause sores.

Recovery just does not seem to be a definitive amount of time. I guess when one faces death, coma, 8 surgeries, etc, etc patience is still a necessity.

This Sunday, Jake will be sharing with Pastor Nick Hart at Faith Community Church. The subject is joy - how can there still be joy in the midst of...well if your reading this blog, you know. Faith Community meets at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz at 10:30. You should be able to download the podcast next week by visiting the site if you would like to listen in.

Merry Christmas.

Tom (daddy)

Monday, November 22, 2010

There was dancing.

We have a new website (kirkendallministries.com) with a blog in it but I wanted to post a few pictures here from the Burn Unit Gala 2010.

Last year, at Gala 2009 Jake was fresh out of the hospital. Last year Jake was accompanied by a wheelchair, helmet, pik line with medicine bottle, and two very tired and anxious parents. We had to leave early, before the dancing, because Jake was in horrible pain. This year, styling in a pinstriped suit, there was dancing. This year Jake shared his story and gave tribute to Greg Hansen for saving his life. This year we danced and laughed and hugged - nurses, doctors, friends - and we celebrated. And then two very tired and not quiet as anxious parents left with Jacob and Robbie still dancing. We are so very thankful.

Getting ready for the Gala I went to our favorite cleaners in Capitola to get my suit taken in. The owner was there and asked me what the special occasion was. She was tearful when she heard that I was Jake’s dad. Please continue to pray for our opportunities. In a real sense, Jacob’s Journey continues as we live out daily life in the community. When Jake speaks to a youth group or customer at the surf shop, when I go to the hospital, when Jensen and I serve a meal, we are able to share the story of a miracle.

You can keep following through the facebook page "Santa Cruz Compassion Network" and the website kirkendallministries.com. 

Grace and Peace - and Happy Thanksgiving.

Tom (daddy)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Quick update and link

If you are interested in seeing a picture of the group of us at the World Burn Congress, click on this link to Pray for Jake Facebook page. It was an incredible trip. I wrote a bit on the blog on our website: Kirkendallministries.com

We are not really writing much these days here. Robbie is writing on his blogs and I am starting to do more writing again through the website. It feels good to be expressing ourselves through the paths that have emerged from Jake's trauma. What is coming out for each of us, in our own ways is about caring for others in the midst of their own hardship. In a huge way, you that supported us have inspired us to make sure that "none are alone in suffering."

Grace and peace continue...

Tom (daddy)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Blog Post

I just posted a new blog on www.kirkendallministries.com/blog

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Surf Texas: World Burn Congress

Jake and I recently found out that we will be attending the World Burn Congress. This is an annual gathering of more than 700 burn survivors, families, care givers, burn professionals and firefighters put on by the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. It is a forum of encouragement and facilitation of stories, support and increasing knowledge of burn recovery. For many it is the first opportunity to meet and share with others who have experienced burn trauma.

This year it is in Galveston, Texas, and though as a family we all really wanted to go, we do not have the finances to make that work. What a blessing it was when Scott from the the San Jose Firefighters Burn Foundation called Jake and offered to send him and me. Jake and I are excited for a father-son trip... Jake did some googling and was excited to see it is a surf town.

Surfing Texas may not happen because a few weeks ago Jake got an infection in his thumb. He was surfing and hit it slightly on a rock. It was a good reminder that anything "normal" is not really "normal" around these injuries. Jake only has one blood vessel instead of two so infection is more likely. Plus he was in the ocean - not a very sterile environment. Debbie took him to the hospital and he was almost admitted. They had not seen a thumb like this before - grafted, fused, swollen, red... they put Jake on some anti-biotics and followed up a few days later with a plastic surgeon. Things are a ton better but as of yesterday he still has not been cleared for the ocean - suffering surfer! Today he is getting a new splint made to better protect his thumb when he is using it - have you ever tried not using your thumb for a day?

For me personally being able to attend the World Burn Congress is an opportunity to open up the ministry door a little wider as we continue to explore what God has for us. It is a humbling joy to weekly serve as a chaplain to the Burn Unit and other ICU's at Valley Medical. I get to visit nurses, doctors, therapists and patients in a place that was a significant part of this journey. I remember each time I walk in how hard it was to be there - how I could at times only stay in for minutes - while I watched Jake struggle for life. Now I get to engage in conversation with others on their journey. Though each story is different - there exists a bond in the suffering. The best ministry that we can have is by simply being present - showing up - listening - loving.

Recently in the burn unity I was able to visit with a woman who had been badly burned. The first time I visited her, she could not talk so I shared a bit why I was there which included a brief story about Jake. Each week as a came in - there was huge improvement. You know how it is when you do not see a friends kids for while - your amazed at how they have grown? Growth when we are up close seems so slow...we need to step back and remember. The last time I saw her she was in a wheel chair sitting up and smiling. I was so excited and told her so. We talked for a while and I honestly do not remember if I prayed with her or not and I went to the next room. As I was gowning up, her husband poked his head in the door: "you can come back anytime - that is the first time I have seen her smile in a week." I really did not do anything - I just showed up.

The best ministry that we can have is being present - showing up - listening - loving.

God continues to direct us in creating this Santa Cruz Compassion Network - not in our timing but in His. Stepping forward in faith is about being present - showing up - listening -loving. We are still in the development stage as we raise funds and engage in conversations, forming to what God is leading. But honestly, each day I remember what we have been given by the community and that leads me to a vision of providing that ministry to others. One step at a time.

Grace and peace,

Tom (daddy)