Tuesday, August 30, 2016

It's Official - Celebrating 25 Years / and 45 Years!

August 2016 Newsletter

Gary & Cherry Warrick / Cru Communique

Celebrating 25 years as Cru staff!


It's official! This summer marked our 25th year as Cru staff! We joined full-time with Cru in 1991, after several years of serving as volunteers with Cru. We praise God for 25 years, and we look ahead to more years!

This summer also marked another milestone, as we celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary! And we thank God for the great gift of our marriage, and the joy of living life together!

We celebrated both of these very special milestones in July with an 18-day Pacific Coast Trip (click here). Our 25-year award gift from Cru enabled us to make this dream trip come true! Our days visiting two of Cherry's brothers & a sis-in-law, driving along the beautiful Pacific Coast, and then visiting our son, Seth, in San Francisco, were so memorable! We thank God for the gift of that trip, and for the milestones that we have celebrated!  The photo above was taken on our last day along the coast before flying home on July 29th.
It's also official that another summer has come to a close, and a new school year has started up again! It has been a good summer of Cru for high school students in our area through what we call Cru Summer!

Jake (our full-time staff team member) along with Abbie (a volunteer with Cru for a number of years) coached a group of college students to lead our Cru Summer program! The college leaders met once each week, and then in turn, led the student meetings each week. It was an amazing time for both the college leaders, and the high school students! The photo above was taken at the end-of-summer event held on Aug. 8th. Click here to see more photos. 
These weeks we are meeting with some amazing individuals who help make Cru happen on the campuses we are on: our student leaders! In the photo above you see three of these student leaders who are juniors at one of our Cru campuses. They are an encouragement to us with their passion and desire to help lead their peers in a relationship with Christ, and are the ones who really  do make Cru a reality on their campuses.

And also, Cru Omaha would not even exist without the gifted and passionate adult volunteers who serve with us. We are focusing on meeting with each group of these volunteers during the month of August - meeting with them in their own surroundings, on their campuses - catching up with their lives, and encouraging them at the start of a new year of reaching students. We are so grateful for each one of our 20+ volunteers!
PRAISE GOD WITH US ...
1) For the healing God has brought to Gary after his health concerns earlier this year. His two outpatient heart procedures (in April, and in May) have taken care of the earlier concerns. Thank you for your prayers!
2) For the restful, refreshing trip that we had during the summer - beyond what we even dreamed of.
3) For Jake, our part-time staff member, who is now full-time staff and raising his initial full-time financial support at this time. He is a great gift to our team!
4) For the volunteers who work with Cru Omaha, giving of their time and energy to reach students, while they also work at their own full-time jobs. They are the ones who make this all possible!
PLEASE PRAY:
1) For Jake Loftis, as he is raising financial support to be able to devote himself full-time to reaching students.
2) For our volunteers (about 20 at this time) who unselfishly serve and love the high school students on our Cru campuses. Pray for us as we meet together with them this month.
We also thank YOU - those who pray for us, and also those who give financially so that we can devote full-time to reaching middle school and high school students in the Omaha area for Jesus! As a couple, we are being drawn to more faithful and fervent prayer than even before - the Gospel is so needed, and so necessary in our day. Please join us, our staff team and our volunteers, in praying for many students to be introduced to know God intimately during this coming school year.

"Prayer is how God gives us so many of the unimaginable things He has for us. Indeed, prayer makes it safe for God to give us many of the things we most desire. it is the way we know God, the way we finally treat Godas God. Prayer is simply the key to everything we need to do and be in life. We must learn to pray. We have to." (Tim Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Thank you for being part of Cru Omaha through your gifts and your prayers!

Gary & Cherry
Gary & Cherry Warrick / Cru Omaha
Home/Office 402 468-5345 / Cell 402 659-3340
PO Box 184, Fort Calhoun, NE  68023
cruomaha.com / garyandcherry.com
pursuingheart.blogspot.com
Click here to donate to our staff account.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Our Pacific Coast Trip (Part 1)


Our long-awaited trip to the Pacific Coast,
celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary,
and 25 years as Cru staff!

Also, this was our first trip out to visit Lee & Cheryl, and Loren (two of Cherry's brothers and a sis-in-law) since their move to the Portland area, and also ... our first trip to visit our son Seth since he moved to San Francisco! We were so very excited! And so very thankful for our 25-year bonus from Cru to help fund the trip! A four-part trip, over 18 days ...

Sharing just a few of our many, many photos, starting in this post with a few photos from the first part of our trip:

Portland area - July 12-16
Time with Lee & Cheryl, and Loren

Day 1 (July 12) - flying from Omaha to Portland, 
with a glimpse of majestic Mt. Adams as we neared Portland

Visiting the beautiful Portland Japanese Garden, and also the Rose Garden
on our first afternoon, the day of our arrival

Day 2 (July 13) - a day driving through the gorgeous Columbia River Gorge ...
in this photo, a view of Multnomah Falls

A picnic with this amazing close-up view of the Columbia River

Day 3 (July 14) - a two-hour drive up into Washington to view Mount St. Helens

So proud of my brother, Lee, for his research on the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens as a volcanologist for the Smithsonian - his name even included on a display in the visitor center 

Another view of beautiful Mount St. Helens 

Day 4 (July 15) - a one-hour drive to Mt. Hood, and to Timberline Lodge,
built in 1936 at 6,000 feet elevation, about halfway up Mt. Hood

A view up Mt. Hood through the visitor center window

Another view of Mt. Hood, from Trillium Lake

Enjoying our last evening meal of our visit
with Lee & Cheryl, and Loren ...
fresh salmon, caught from the Columbia River by a neighbor 

Our visit came to an end much too soon ... it was such a sweet time with family. Such beautiful sites to see, and the best gift of all was the great conversation and connection together with those we love. 

Besides our days staying with Lee & Cheryl in their relaxing, gorgeous retirement home, it was also a real treat to see Loren's spacious 10th-floor apartment in nearby Portland. We treasure our time together, and have many, many photos to help keep the memories close.

We picked up our rental car the morning of  Day 5 (July 16), and after a few more hours together with Loren in Portland, continued on with our 18-day trip, driving to the Pacific Coast ...

(to be continued)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Dad Siebert Turns 95


Dad Siebert reached a milestone on April 18, 2016 - 95 years old!!

It was a real treat to have Loren (one of Cherry's brothers) fly out from Portland for a 5-day visit around the time of Dad's birthday! His visit was a great encouragement to our father, and his visit also came at just the right time. Loren was a big help to us at the time of Dad's purchase of an electric wheelchair.  


Special days together with Loren, and as we celebrated Dad turning 95. Dad continues to settle in more and more in his Assisted Living apartment at Skyline Retirement Community in Omaha. It had been a rough past year for him as he adjusted to some health concerns, and we are thankful for a more settled and peaceful season now. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Our April Newsletter

Gary & Cherry Warrick
News and Prayer Update - April 2016
View this email in your browser
Spring Greetings!

How we love spring! It is one of our favorite times of the year! With it, comes fresh, new life ... and with this new season of spring this year, comes a very exciting announcement, an answer to many prayers over the years!

Jake Loftis Applies for Full-Time Staff!

We are so thankful for Jake! He came to Christ in our Cru Blair movement (back in the "Student Venture" days!), grew consistently in his faith, became a student leader, graduated from high school and then from Grace University, all the while staying involved as a Cru volunteer. Jake then married another former Cru high school student, Chelsea, who was also volunteering with us in various ways.

After their marriage, and with a full-time job, Jake applied with Cru as a part-time staff member and began taking on more and more responsibility with our Cru Omaha area movement. In all this, Jake has been so dependable with a natural instinct about what to do to lead high school students to Christ in ways the students love as they are drawn to more and more involvement. He has become an indispensable part of our work.

As many of you know, we have prayed over the years for more full-time staff to assist us as our Cru Omaha movement has grown to 8 and sometimes 10 campus movements. At times we asked you to join us in praying for a certain young person we had "on the string". For several years we did have one other part-time and one other full-time staff person with us for awhile, but nothing stuck. (Thankfully, God has provided many faithful volunteers over the years!)

Through much of this time, we have prayed for Jake specifically, that he would sense God's call to become full-time with us. He continues to be such a key component of our area ministry, and Chelsea is such a great co-worker with him, even as she cares for their two beautiful daughters, and works full-time.

We are so thankful now that Jake & Chelsea have sensed this call of God on their lives. It is a huge step for them to take. It means that Jake will be resigning from his position at Castelar school in early May and will travel to Cru headquarters in Orlando for up to 10 days of New Staff Training. When Jake returns he will need to give priority for a season to raising the funds needed to devote full-time to reaching and discipling teenagers for Christ.

Please pray for them during this time. We would even ask that you would pray about committing to be a financial partner with them to enable him to become fully involved in the work as soon as possible. Most of all, join us in praising our all-powerful, loving God, who knows our needs and provides for us so masterfully!

In Personal and Family News ...

We have had an interesting and unexpected turn of events in the past six weeks. Many of you may be aware of the fact that Gary had a stroke on Feb. 28. We are thanking and praising God that there was NO lasting damage as a result of the stroke! You can read more about the circumstances and details of the stroke by clicking on this link: An Unexpected Event.

There have been many doctor appointments and tests done since then in an effort to find the cause of the stroke, and also to find ways to prevent a repeat stroke. We invite you to click on this following link to read more details: Six Weeks Later. Also within this link article on our family/ministry blog, you will see a list of things we would love to have you join us in prayer for - all related to the findings from the medical tests after Gary's stroke.

In other family news, we are looking forward to celebrating Cherry's father's 95th birthday one week from today! He lives nearby in an Assisted Living facility. We are also looking forward to welcoming one of her brothers (from Portland) for a visit over this special birthday time.

THANK YOU for your prayers as we serve with Cru! Another school year is drawing to a close already. We appreciate your prayers for each of our eight campuses, and each of our 25+ volunteers as they continue building into students lives in the weeks ahead. God is at work. At a recent outreach event six students indicated decisions for Christ!

With our praise and thanks to God for His faithful love and care,

Gary & Cherry
Gary & Cherry Warrick / Cru Omaha
Home/Office 402 468-5345 / Cell 402 659-3340
PO Box 184, Fort Calhoun, NE  68023
cruomaha.com / garyandcherry.com
pursuingheart.blogspot.com
Click here to donate to our staff account.
Copyright © 2016 Gary & Cherry Warrick, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because of your interest in Cru Omaha. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Six Weeks Later


Signs of beautiful spring are all around us ...  fresh blooms on our peach trees, goldfinches with their brilliant spring colors feeding on our bird feeders, a son-in-law tilling our garden for us (thanks, Sean!), and two sweet grandkids picking out some of our daffodils to bring indoors.

We also are experiencing some encouragement and answers in regards to Gary's health, particularly related to his stroke which was six weeks ago today. You can read the circumstances and details about his stroke by clicking here. We have so much to be thankful for!  Gary is experiencing NO lasting damage from the stroke!! None at all! He is continuing on with family and Cru responsibilities, just as before the stroke.

At the same time, the days and weeks since Feb. 28 have brought some winds and clouds, as well. Since his release from the hospital on March 2nd, Gary has had 8 doctor visits, 3 trips to Emergency, and 2 trips to Urgent Care. The Emergency visits were because of the necessity of the balancing of meds for high blood pressure. And most of the doctor appointments were for the purpose of finding out things that can be done to prevent another stroke.

We're very thankful for the thoroughness of the doctors in their various tests that they have done to try to possibly find the cause of Gary's stroke. All for the purpose of preventing a repeat stroke. 

Please join us in prayer for healing in the following areas that have shown up as possible causes of the stroke:

1) Deep Vein Thrombosis. We're grateful for the stroke specialist that we were referred to, who called for another MRI in addition to the ones that were done in the hospital. This MRI (of the abdominal area) revealed a still-existing blood clot (a DVT clot). It appears that this clot was the source of the smaller clots which traveled to his brain during the stroke.

Please pray that the strong blood thinner that Gary is on will aid in the dissolving of this still-existing blood clot.

2) Patent Foramen Ovale. We are also thankful for the TEE test which revealed that Gary has some small screen-like holes between the two atria of his heart (a condition called Patent Foramen Ovale - PFO), something he has had from birth. The cardiology specialists, as well as our stroke specialist, believe that some smaller clots broke off and traveled  from the DVT clot in his abdominal area, up through the small PFO holes within his heart, and to his brain ... thus, causing the stroke.

Please pray for Gary's appointment with a cardiology specialist on Tuesday afternoon (April 12) to discuss an outpatient procedure which can be done to close these holes in his heart. Our stroke specialist, as well as several heart specialists, are recommending that this procedure be done in an attempt to prevent more strokes.

3) Heart Monitor Results. Gary was released from the hospital with a heart monitor that he wore for 30 days. This was for the purpose of checking to see if there were any further concerns with his heart. The results showed that he had several episodes of missed heart beats. The electro physiology cardiologist initially determined that Gary would need a pacemaker put in.

Please pray for an outpatient surgery Gary is scheduled to have done this Tuesday morning at 11 am (April 12). The heart specialist decided that there was not enough evidence to call for a pacemaker at this point; instead, he wants to carefully continue monitoring Gary's heart to determine if one will be needed at a later date. A small device called an "Implantable Loop Recorder" will be placed under the skin in the chest area for the purpose of continued monitoring of his heart.  

4) High Blood Pressure & High Cholesterol. Both of these conditions, which contribute to strokes, are being treated with prescriptions. It has been a process to find the right balance of these meds. The first weeks after the stroke, Gary's blood pressure was all over the place ... sometimes so high he was told to go to Emergency, and other times, too low, and he was told the same. Things are balancing out now, for which we are grateful.

Please pray for wisdom with the meds, that the right balance will continue to be in place.

- - - - - - - - - - -

If you have made it to this point in reading all these details ... you deserve an award - thank you! Many of our friends and family have asked how Gary is doing, so we thought we would share these details with you. We do appreciate your prayer for these things.

And mostly, we ask for your prayers for us as a couple (and as a family) as we walk this journey ... that we will be completely surrendered to God in whatever He allows into our lives. All for His purposes and His glory. How we thank Him for His peace and presence through this journey, and through all of life!

Monday, March 21, 2016

An Unexpected Event

Life is full of the unexpected, and we can be taken off guard without even a moment's notice. And this is exactly what we experienced just three weeks ago ...

Photo taken during Gary's hospital stay - Feb. 28 through March 2nd.

Three weeks ago, we were relaxing at home, just the two of us - sitting in our living room, making plans for our upcoming summer vacation trip. I (Cherry) got up from the couch to get some snacks from the kitchen. And when I called out to Gary with a question about what he would like to eat, I was taken completely by surprise ...

Gary was alert and aware, but ... he was exhibiting signs of a stroke.

Moving as quickly as we could, and after a phone call for advice from a trusted family member ... we headed to EMERGENCY! All the way there we second-guessed our decision for me to drive Gary in, instead of calling 911 ... but also, all the way to the hospital, we called on our Great Physician for His help

The signs of stroke diminished quite rapidly, and had mostly disappeared by the time we reached Immanuel EMERGENCY, just 15 minutes from our home. Gary was admitted to the hospital for testing. 

There were multiple tests over the next few days. The initial CT-scan did not reveal any clots, and so initially the diagnosis was that he had had a TIA. However, the additional MRI revealed that it had not been a TIA, but had been an actual stroke, with two blood clots in his brain. 

The amazing thing is that the two blood clots had dissolved quite quickly, and ... they had not left any damaging results. We are in awe of our gracious God who protected Gary from the harmful affects of a stroke!!!


Please pray for us as we continue on from this unexpected event ...

We decided to keep the details of this event close to our family, and to those friends who are close by around us for these first weeks. It has been quite an adjustment for us to have the dimension of having a stroke in our story now. 

After entering the hospital in an emergency on Sunday, Feb. 28, and going through many tests, Gary was released on Wednesday, March 2nd. Since then, he has continued on with multiple doctor visits, including an appointment with a stroke specialist. Of primary focus is learning all we can to prevent another stroke.

The doctors are still in the process of finding the right combination of prescriptions to keep Gary's blood pressure at the correct level. It is common to need to make multiple adjustments. It has been quite a journey as we follow the directions of the doctors to monitor Gary's blood pressure, and as we discern when extra help is needed, as the blood pressure readings fluctuate on a daily basis. 

Gary continues on with family and Cru responsibilities, though he also is needing to slow down his hours to what they should reasonably be now. The long hours are not as wise as we grow older, but the passion is still there! And we are praying for many more years of Cru ministry.

We praise and thank God for ...
  • no harmful damage from the stroke
  • God's presence and peace through this unexpected event
  • our family who has been by our side through this whole journey (our daughter and two sons who live a distance away have supported us from afar, and our three daughters who live nearby have been close by our side - each day in the hospital, and many of the days since then when we have been in need. We are so grateful for their loving care.)
  • friends who have encouraged us and prayed for us during this ordeal

Would you continue praying for us?

We have many unanswered questions about the cause of the stroke, and also about what steps to take in the future to prevent another one. In the midst of our struggles and concerns, we are very aware that we are held by our loving, faithful God through whatever He allows into our lives.


Friday, February 26, 2016

Our February Newsletter

Gary & Cherry Warrick
News and Prayer Update - Feb. 2016
View this email in your browser
Winter greetings everyone!

We trust you are like us in hoping that the groundhog was right and we can expect spring very soon! We also hope that you are sensing God's blessings even in the midst of the realities of winter!
The school year is speeding by! We are loving all the smiling, youthful faces on our 8 campuses greeting us or others on our team each week. Many are eager to learn more about Christ and how to live for Him. Others are asking questions or sitting back wondering ... Is this really true? Can I really believe in a God I can't see? Could He really love me?
We would appreciate your prayers as the school year is now 2/3 over on these 8 campuses ... that God would anoint all these maybe up to 200 students at times, awakening them to the truth and causing faith and spiritual life to spring forth in ways unique to each one so they might sense that God's love is just what they need.
Annual Cru High Leadership Conference in Orlando ...

We flew to Orlando the day before the Feb. 2nd snowstorm hit Nebraska! We enjoyed the warmer weather for the next days, and also were blessed to hear from God through our leaders at this annual conference for Cru High City Directors. It was such a great time connecting with other staff through worship, teachings from God's Word, and participating in sessions covering topics such as multi-ethnic ministry, partnerships, and more.
As we Nebraskans just cannot fly to Florida without spending some time on the coast, we stayed for a few extra days at a hotel in Jacksonville, with a gorgeous view of the Atlantic from our room. This was just what we needed at the start of another year of ministry!

From Our Family to Yours ...

We are sharing our family photo now instead of at Christmas time! Here is our most recent family photo, taken this past Thanksgiving when we were blessed to have family home from CA, TX, and NY, joining those of us who live here in NE. What a joy to be together! This does not happen very often, as spread out as we are geographically.
One family member is missing in this photo, as Amy's husband, Joe, was with his mother in Houston, offering support as she was receiving treatment in her fight against cancer. We are saddened that Sue passed away in mid-January, after her two-year battle with leukemia; please pray for Joe & Amy, Levi & Ali, and Sue's husband Mike, as they grieve their great loss.
Names of family in photo (with ages of grandkids):
Standing in back (left to right): Carrie & Tyler, Seth, Sara & Sean, Amy, Cristy & Mark. Seated on couch (left to right): Abigail (19), Levi (13), Cherry & Gary, Ali (8), Crystal (17), Lance. Seated on floor (left to right): Luke (14), Brianna (9), Cruz (7), Jake (6), Eva (3), and Cole (6).
Thank you so much for your prayer and financial support! Many of you contribute to our Cru staff account so faithfully throughout the year, and many gave an extra special year-end gift. All in all, we are very grateful as your 2015 year-end giving gave us just the boost we were praying for!
We love and appreciate you all so very much! May God continue to bless each of you in many special ways as we continue through all God has planned for us in this near year!

Gary & Cherry

P.S. Be watching for our next newsletter as we think we'll have some extra special Cru Omaha news to share!
Gary & Cherry Warrick / Cru Omaha
Home/Office 402 468-5345 / Cell 402 659-3340
PO Box 184, Fort Calhoun, NE  68023
cruomaha.com / garyandcherry.com
pursuingheart.blogspot.com
Click here to donate to our staff account.
Copyright © 2016 Gary & Cherry Warrick, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because of your interest in Cru Omaha.