The David’s Refuge Story, Pt. 3

by Nov 6, 2013Books and Resources, Special Needs Parenting0 comments

Warren Pfohl is back with Part 3 in a series of how their son's struggle with Batten Disease led to David's Refuge, a special needs respite ministry.

Welcome back to you and to Different Dream’s special guest, Warren Pfohl. Warren’s back with the final post in his series about how his son’s struggle with Batten Disease led to the creation of David’s Refuge, a respite ministry for parents of children with special needs.

The David’s Refuge Story, Part 3

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I love how the New Living Translation translates the word handiwork. It says we are God’s masterpiece! And as His masterpiece He has created specific good works for us to accomplish. The million-dollar question of course, is what is that good work?

After David died, Brenda and I began to wrestle with this question. We looked at our life and asked ourselves in what way had God prepared us to accomplish something great for him. We started to jot down our discoveries:

  • I was a recreation therapist in a psychiatric hospital
  • Brenda was an occupational therapist
  • I was a pastor for 15 years with my primary focus on caring
  • For 15 years we cared for David and all his special needs
  • We had built a home that had a private wing for David’s care
  • We were empty nesters
  • We had been cared for by many as we cared for David
  • We had discovered true refuge in God despite the horrible suffering and loss of David

One day as we were sitting in our hot tub Brenda yells out, “I’ve got it! Let’s open up a refuge for parents who are full time caregivers of children with special needs or whose child is struggling with a life-threatening disease. Let’s pour love and hope into their lives so they can continue to pour life and hope into their own children.”

David’s Refuge was born!

We converted David’s wing into a private bed and breakfast where we invite parents to get away and be recharged. They stay at no cost to themselves. This is a picture of God’s grace. We give them $50 to go out on a date. We offer them a spa service such as a massage or manicure or pedicure. We care for the caregiver! We tell each of our guests that our prayer for them is that they will leave knowing three things:

  • They are not alone
  • They do matters
  • God loves them.

We believe God has loved us with an extravagant love so we let them know that while they are at David’s Refuge we are going to love on them with extravagance.

Because we have grown so quickly, we are now running David’s Refuge in existing bed and breakfasts and inns. This allows us to serve more than one couple at a time. We have also raised up a team of hosts, volunteers who help us carry out the mission of David’s Refuge. These are parents who have had their own children with special needs or fatal diseases and are willing to be vulnerable and serve our guests by sharing their own stories. This new strategy will allow us to grow David’s Refuge without having to invest huge amounts of money in capital expenditures.

You see, David’s story isn’t finished!  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. He is still working on all of his Masterpieces.

Wonderful story of encouragement, isn’t it? Feel free to leave your words of encouragement for Warren and Brenda in the comment box below.

The David’s Refuge Story, Part 1
The David’s Refuge Story, Part 2

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By Warren Pfohl

Warren Pfohl lives in Florida with his wife, Brenda. Warren and Brenda enjoy being parents and grandparents and encouraging families dealing with special needs. If you are interested you can follow his blog at or follow him on Twitter at @Davidsrefuge.


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Meet Jolene

Jolene Philo is a published author, speaker, wife, and mother of a son with special needs.



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