People need people

“Having lots of friends is a better pain killer than morphine”. This article title written by Henry Bodkin in the Telegraph caught my attention. Mr. Bodkin reported on a science study from Oxford by Katarina Johnson. Ms. Johnson summarized her findings that being around people can be very good for us. She stated; “As a species, we’ve evolved to thrive in a rich social environment but in this digital era, deficiencies in our social interactions may be one of the overlooked factors contributing to the declining health of our modern society.”

Ms. Johnson may be on to something here. Perhaps rather than being evolved could Ms. Johnson be seeing the effects of people that are living in ways that they were not created to live? Could a creator make man in such a way that interaction with others meets many necessary needs? Could it be that people that spend much time building their own bodies and abilities to meet their own needs lose the sense that they were created to help others, to care about and for others?   Could people that spend inordinate amounts of time being entertained, amused or preoccupied by social media, texting, and other electronic outlets, lose the sense that there is a need to have face to face contact?    Friends working together

From the beginning God created man to be in relationship with Him and each other. In Genesis God created Adam and quickly acted on Adam’s state of being alone by creating Eve, stating that “it was not good that Adam was alone”.
In Hebrews we are commanded to not forsake the meeting together. The idea of the Church is that fellow believers come together to worship God, build each other up, and spread the gospel.
The Wolf River Refuge is a place that can be used to kill pain and excite endorphin’s in people. We are here to help relationships grow by people spending time together. Helping people remember who created them and encouraging them to build a relationship with Him.

We encourage you to pay us a visit with friends and family and kill some pain by enjoying each other and the God that gave His only Son so that we would have life abundant and eternal!

A Love So Great

Mary Magdalene was a woman in the bible I never knew much about. She was there at the grave when she found Jesus’ body missing and then saw him again face-to-face. End of story.

No, there really is more to her story and how she came to know Jesus that is recorded. Mary Magdalene was a woman who was saved, saved not only by salvation in Jesus, but saved physically from seven demons (the number being significant because it of  the seriousness of her illness). After being cured, Mary became a follower of Jesus and remained in a group of women that also followed Him. Mary was there as Jesus was hung on the cross to die, and after His crucifixion, she saw His body laid in the tomb. There was no doubt in her mind that Jesus was dead. On the third day after His crucifixion, Mary went to the tomb early in the morning and found the stone rolled away (John 20:1). Upon realizing Jesus’ body was gone, she immediately began to weep.

Then Jesus appeared to her. Mary saw Jesus in front of her, but she did not know that it was Jesus. “Jesus said to her, ‘”Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “‘Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”-and that He had said these things to her. ~John 20:14-18

Mary was the first to see Jesus resurrected. She was the one instructed by Jesus to leave and go and tell the disciples that Jesus was alive. Mary had a story. A story of how the Lord had saved her and a story that testified of Jesus- His power over death and His great love for us in rising again and giving us that hope and assurance of our life together with Him.

There is a song called “Alive” by Natalie Grant that is written as if from the perspective of Mary Magdalene. When I read the lyrics and listened to the song, I saw Mary in a way that I hadn’t before. I saw her as a real person. A real person that KNEW Jesus and understood what He came to do for her personally.  I saw the love she had for her Savior. It was a love that was deep, personal, and of faith. I have a desire to know Jesus as Mary did- to have faith in knowing exactly who God is and have that love for Him that comes only from spending time with Him.

Today, I encourage you to spend time seeking God and be in prayer asking Him to reveal more of who He is to you. In James, we are told to first “draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). Think about this: What are the things holding you back from following God with all of your heart? In prayer, ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of the hindrances that are preventing you from seeking God first. Do you know what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

The Wolf River Refuge (WRR) is meant to be a place of restoration- a place to continue to grow in that love and understanding of Jesus’ desire for a personal relationship with us. We encourage you to be intentional about planning a stay at the WRR to have that time of focus on Him. Contact us at

Lyrics to “Alive” by Natalie Grant

Who but You,
Could breathe and leave a trail of galaxies,
And dream of me?
What kind of love,
Is writing my story till the end,
With Mercy’s Pen?
Only You,
What kind of King,
Would choose to wear a crown,
that bleeds and scars,
To win my heart,
What kind of love,
tells me I’m the reason He can’t stay,
Inside the grave,
You, is it You?
Standing here before my eyes,
Every part of my heart cries,
Alive, Alive,
Look what mercy’s overcome,
Death has lost and love has won,
Alive, Alive,
Hallelujah, Risen Lord,
the only One I fall before
I am His because He is,
Who could speak,
and send the demons back from where they came,
with just one name?
What other heart,
would let itself to be broken every time,
until He healed mine?
You, only You,
Could turn my darkness into dawn,
running right into your arms,
I am His because He is…
Emmanuel, the Promised King,
the baby who made angels sing,
Son of Man who walked with us,
Healing, breathing in our dust,
The Author of all history,
The answer to all mysteries,
The Lamb of God who rolled away,
the stone in front of every grave,



Our Firm Foundation

For the past week or so, I’ve been reading through the book of Isaiah. I have been taking note of repeating themes played out, and one thing I consistently have seen is God’s power displayed. God as THE CREATOR. Over and over again we read that “I am GOD, there is no other, there is no one like Me.” And we hear God ask, “Who could you compare Me to? Who could be equal?”
“No one can deliver out of my hand; When I act, who can reverse it?” The answer again: No one.

It is made so clear that God is God, and we are not. Everything God purposes (plans), He does. His plans hold firm. His truth abides and is unwavering. Nothing can stop Him from acting. As the end of the week came to a close, God continued to assure me through His word in many different passages of scripture that He was in control and that He would come through because He is faithful “all His work is done in faithfulness” (Psalm 33:4).  “The counsel of the Lord and the plans of His heart stand forever” (Psalm 33:11), “For those who fear Him, there is no want,” “They who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.” (Psalm 34:9,10).
We can walk with God in confidence by believing Him and knowing His character “I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6).

This week spend time in a quiet place before God, continuing to read His promises and praying for the Holy Spirit to work in your heart and make you more like Jesus. Take time away from your every day life and spend intentional time in prayer and in the bible at the Wolf River Refuge. We’d love for you to come away, having that special place to be with God and leave encouraged and excited about what God is doing!


WRR Songwriters Retreat

SAM_1873Songwriters in their sessions.

SAM_1875Matt Wilhelm, Songwriters’ retreat speaker.

SAM_1882           Good Morning from the WRR!!
This past weekend, March 3-5th, the Wolf River Refuge hosted our first ever Songwriters’ retreat! Matt Wilhelm, the Pastor of Worship Arts at Woodlands church in Plover, WI, was our retreat speaker, and Tom and Sharon Duke were our retreat hosts. It was wonderful to see God add more people to our original few that registered. We had musicians of all different ages, including some young teenage boys in the mix. The weekend was great with guests getting to know God more, having the set apart time to create music, meeting new friends, and enjoying fellowship together.

Some of the Songwriters’ commented:
~”We watched God work a very diverse group of songwriters into an amazingly, encouraging circle of friends.” –Anonymous guest
~”This is an amazing place! Please! have this retreat next year again. The Dukes are fulfilling such a crucial need in the body of Christ through this songwriters’ retreat. Thanks!”-
Paul Trinko
~”I had a good time collaborating with friends on writing worship music for our local church. This time was refreshing and I wish I had more I could soak up. I look forward to future years of songwriters’ retreats if/when they happen.”-
Andrew Anderson

SAM_1855Two songwriters sharing a song.

If you have any questions or would like more information about future songwriters’ retreats, please contact us at!

Serving Jesus!

Our Wolf River Refuge Updates and Prayer Requests!

Thank you for praying for our upcoming events.  People are responding to God’s nudges!  We have two people for the Songwriters, two for couples, and five for Digging Deeper.  We have several people interested in each of the events so please keep praying for their willingness to sign up.  God’s spirit can encourage people to come, they have to respond.  The song writers event is designed to help people write songs of worship to God for their local churches to sing to Him. Digging Deeper is meant to help people learn to study scripture to grow in their faith and help others to know God more.  Art of Marriage for 1-5 years of marriage is a tool to strengthen marriages in the foundation years. These events can be life changing!  If you know people that can benefit from these events please steer them to our website and encourage them to come!!
Yesterday I got the news that our AED for both the Wolf River Refuge and Canadian Adventure was no longer useful.  It is at it’s lifes’ end and is not updatable.  Huh…Yesterday I got a check for a large amount to be used for expenses…Huh…God is faithful!
Please pray for Kris and I and several others that will spend next week learning more about counseling biblically.  Pray that we get into the test writing session as we did not originally sign up for that and as time has passed realized we should have and now are on a waiting list.  We are being training in biblical counseling because we spend a pretty fair amount of time with people that have many questions about life, and about God.  God has steered us in the direction of biblical counseling training which helps us bring God’s word into peoples lives so that God can answer their questions and give them answers that make a real difference in their lives.  II Timothy 3:16-17.  2 Peter 1:3.  We are excited to learn more and use what we have learned to help people know God more and live out the gospel!
Please consider giving to this ministry.  As one friend of the Wolf River Refuge put it, “we are in the pre-birthing period of life for this ministry”.  Children are expensive and this one hasn’t even left the womb:)
Please pray for Church leaders to notice us and want their people to come and take time to build relationship here.  Pray that we are effective in getting this message out!  I keep hearing from leaders that we are unique in that we are more about people spending quantity and quality time together rather than having entertainment for a weekend.  They think in this culture that there is a REAL need for these times.   We are also unique in that we are doing our best to be affordable so people can spend time here.  Being affordable many times means that others will have to help support some families that need to build relationships.  We hope that you will see the value in helping families spend time together, knowing that your giving furthers the gospel through healthy families in our culture.
Thank you for reading this, thank you for your faithful prayers thank you for considering supporting us!

Prayer Retreats

“I scheduled a cabin for day (8am-6pm, no overnight). It was a great ‘re-set’ after busy season in my life. Good to have extended time alone with God, away from the demands of home and work. I could have done this at home, but I would have been surrounded by reminders of work projects that need attention. I was amazed at how God met me on this one-day prayer retreat! In addition to the prayer guide provided by WRR, I also brought my own prayer concerns and some reading. God met me in some personal ways- particularly in a time of confession and forgiveness, and in a time of prayer for a particular problem. I was surprised at how personal and practical God’s words were to me! Shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was! Always am!”
~ Guest WRR, prayer retreat

Prayer is effective! It’s a way of communicating with God and hearing His voice. Prayer is intercession- God works within people’s hearts and changes lives. We are seeing that here at the Wolf River Refuge as people take time to come away and be with their King.

Please be in prayer for our ministry here and for God to continue to use this special place as a way of ministering to people’s needs!

Better yet, contact us at and plan a day/ overnight/weekend to come here and devote time to prayer and seeking God!

May Jesus be glorified!




SAM_1691 Sunlight spreads among the trees . . .

The lovely sunrise in view for us early morning risers!
This is what we see when we’re in the kitchen to make breakfast for our guests.


Winter 2016! Thankful for each season God gives us!


“It was You who set all the boundaries of the earth; You made both summer and winter.”  Psalm 74:17

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” Genesis 18:22



Be Intentional!

Oftentimes in life, we stop learning about people. We stop spending the time to understand our friends and family and be involved in their lives. Really, we’re being stagnant in our relationships. It is grievous to see families barely speaking, hardly having conversations, clinging to the media and closing off everyone else around them, and realizing that they do not know each other. They’ve lived with each other for years and yet have no relationship. With all the busyness around them, time spent individually or as a family in the Word of God almost never happens. There is a sense of hurt and dismay among them.

Perhaps you’ve witnessed this in your own family. It is difficult to be united as a family in today’s world! It is difficult to spend time with each other when distractions are so very present in each individual life. Presently, we are seeing the need for a set-apart time and place for families to come and restore their relationships with each other. God has clearly been showing us that HE is the true healer and that HE is at work in bringing families together in a way that they never could before. Here at the Wolf River Refuge, we are looking forward and praying to see God act in drawing families closer to Him. This summer, especially, we are hoping to have many families here. We’d love to have you and yours come! You may contact us here:

We want to see people become intentional in their relationships! Some ways you can be intentional are by using the trail here to have some one on one time with your son/daughter/spouse, sit down together in your cabin and play games, make your own meals together as a family, and have quality time together reading the bible. Take time to really get to know each other by asking purposeful questions as to how your family member is doing, how God is presently working in their lives, and even learn about what we’d consider their “quirks”. Those little things that could be easily passed over are important and they mean a lot to an individual; They make them feel loved and appreciated. It is so awesome to see how uniquely God made each one of us! “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place . . .”~Psalm 139:15

Count The Cost

The Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul. — He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. — Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. -Daily Light

Thou, O God, hast proved us; thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. We went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. Psalms 66:10

As Elisabeth Elliot once said, “God gives us material to sacrifice.” God gave ALL and God asks ALL!  He asks, “Do you love me?”
I am reminded of the example of Abraham offering up His loved son Isaac to the Lord. And so I offer what is most precious to me up on the altar; God’s will be done. What are you still holding on to and trying to control? What is it that you need to place up on the altar to give to the Lord?

This is a time of being tried, of being refined, and of learning to put our faith in God alone.

Winter Adventures!

We have snow! Enough to begin our winter activities and enjoy them on our hiking trail in the beautiful woods. Here at the Wolf River Refuge, we have brand new snowshoes and we are using them to get outside into God’s creation. It’s been great fellowshipping with others through this fun activity. Today, “Mr. Steve” took two young brothers out to snowshoe for their first time to adventure around.

Marley (9) and Cain (12)


Marley is practicing before hitting the trail!


And they’re off!


We’d love for you to come this winter and experience God’s beauty here and get to know our Creator more intimately! The place of being in solitude with only Jesus is to be treasured. Please pass on and encourage others to take that time needed to be renewed and rest from their busy lives by spending some time at the Wolf River Refuge.

SAM_1618 SAM_1624