Warrior Getaway Provides Healing for Veterans and Families

USA — Sergeant Josh Whiting joined the Army because he wanted to serve his country and defend freedom. But after two deployments, Josh began suffering from PTSD, withdrawing from his family and suffering bouts of rage. As a Veteran struggling to re-enter civilian life and re-connect with his family, Josh agreed to attend a Joni and Friends Warrior Getaway.Warrior Getaway provided a place of safety and love where Josh and his family could reconnect. Josh says that Joni and Friends helped bring restoration and healing to his marriage and his family, calling Warrior Getaway for veterans “the life-changing event of my life.”

Through the Joni and Friends Warrior Getaway, Josh and his family found deep transformational hope for the future.

Josh WhitingInfantry, U.S. Army:

I chose this because I want to serve my country. I wanted to do something better for people that didn’t have the freedoms that we had and I felt that it was worth it.

There’s just nothing you can do to truly prepare somebody for the reality of war.

Stephanie Whiting:

After realizing that Josh had PTSD and I did a lot of research myself to try to understand what it was and what to expect how to help, we were just stuck and I didn’t know what to do.

Josh:

So my wife had a friend that had gone to a Joni and Friends retreat.

Stephanie:

And I was talking to her one day just venting and she told me about Joni and Friends and said ‘They have a Warrior Getaway you should look into it. And I did not tell Josh that I applied because I was certain that he would not come.

Josh:

I did not want to come.

Stephanie:

And then I got the acceptance letter and I had to tell Josh.

Josh:

I was borderline upset, but ultimately I felt it was my responsibility and duty and honor as a father and husband to give his family what they need. Andy my wife and children needed some relief from me, but they wanted me to come. They wanted me to still be there to be part of it because I needed help too.

Sib CharlesJoni and Friends, Pennsylvania:

What our warriors have seen what some of them have done feel that it’s unforgivable. And what we let our warriors know is you have done nothing that is above God’s grace and God’s love. When a warrior comes home from war for them to re-enter into the family unit is a very difficult thing. The warrior has been away sometimes for 18 months at a time. And the family has now learned to survive without that warrior in their circle. And now they’re coming home and now they have to re-engage with their family. And they’re not the same as when they left. They’re different, they’ve come back changed. And so we believe it’s so important to help heal that whole family unit.

Stephanie:

Even though the specific trauma might have started during the war the entire family is affected without even realizing it. And being able to have the entire family involved in a place of healing, a place of love, a place where we all feel safe is life-changing. It’s something that we don’t get anywhere else.

Josh:

The last day when everybody’s passing the microphone around I took the microphone and just started weeping. And it was at that point that I felt like this, this right here is the life-changing event of my life. Every year I feel like I take another step forward, closer to where I want to be. Without Stephanie, I would have been gone a long time ago. And then furthermore without Joni and Friends, my marriage would have been over a long time ago. It’s not just within somebody to magically get out of the horrible cycle that is depression, post-traumatic stress. It takes something, something than we have. I believe that something’s God. If all there is, is to continue living my life the best that I can I try following Christ and lead my family in that way then that’s exactly what I’ll do.


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About Joni and Friends

For 40 years, Joni and Friends has provided the hope of the Gospel and practical resources to people affected by disability around the globe. Ministry programs include Wheels for the World, Family Retreats, the Christian Institute on Disability, and church ministry training. Joni and Friends also delivers inspirational media such as the Joni and Friends radio program and podcasts. To find out more, please visit www.joniandfriends.org.


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