I got to visit The Swamp Tuesday with my friend Justin. I want to thank all of you at The Swamp, you made our visit on Tuesday amazing.
Justin’s life has not been easy. He has dealt with Cerebral Palsy from birth; his mother died from a brain tumor a few months after he enrolled in college two years ago and his stepfather is raising Justin’s four younger siblings as a single parent. You made him feel really important; everyone greeted him with hugs & smiles. Lots of campus student volunteers know him from KSU and from campus retreats & workshops. Matt Long & Shelby Sisco drove him around The Swamp in Jeff’s golf cart to tour the facility…I complained that no one has ever done that for me even though I’m really important. He liked the lunch very much and all the ladies who prepared the food. The brother who disciples Justin, a KSU football player, told me last night, “I don’t know what you did but I’ve never seen Justin so happy.” And while the trip was a dream come true for Justin I gotta admit we did something on the way home he enjoyed even more; we dropped by to see a six year old kid from church who has a similar physical disability. Justin had mentioned to me several times he would like to visit Elliott, and without telling Justin we dropped by to visit the family. The two of them fellowshipped in the driveway, walking in their walker gizmos and smiling because they got to spend time with someone “who walks just like me.” Justin & Elliot reminded me of two young puppies greeting one another, they were so happy. He told me as we drove back to his dorm, “as wonderful as The Swamp was this may have been my favorite part of the trip.”
I’m pretty sure Justin told Jeff Rorabaugh he would love to get a job working at The Swamp. He told me “I would work there all summer for nothing just to be a part of The Swamp”. Matt Long told us as he drove us around on the golf cart that were it not for The Swamp he was pretty sure he would not be a Christian; I’ve heard that story from many others in their 20’s & 30’s. I told Justin how The Swamp experience has been so powerful that it’s being exported to disciples around the world.
I was drained by the time I got home that night, but the memories were well worth the effort. Thanks for making Justin feel so valued and accepted, and for allowing me to come, too, since I’m his friend. I took lots of pics and will post when I have time, but I wanted to tell you how much you impacted our lives. My grandson Kyler is there this week with his friends; he saved his allowance and money he makes to go this week and another week this summer. I love you guys – Jack Frederick
ps. Justin is a published author; his illustrated children’s book I Have Six Legs tells the story of how he uses a walker to get around and the challenges of cerebral palsy. I traveled to Los Angeles last week for a board meeting at the University of California…Justin asked, “when I succeed will you travel to LA with me? I will pay for your travel.” He didn’t say “if” but “when” I succeed. He was baptized into Christ on April 1st. Darice Parker & Jordan Genovese, an accomplished & cool KSU athletes studied the Bible with Justin and physically lift & carry him places he can’t go with his walker or wheel chair.
Dec. 29-Jan. 1
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