The sight of her in a neck brace and cast was not pleasant but it was a reminder to me that God had spared her life and rescued her from the hands of death.
When we give our lives to God, He is faithful to hold them in His hands ever lovingly no matter what we face.
Monday, January 31, 2022, was a beautiful day. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and the wind blew softly. We had the opportunity to distribute gardening equipment to the gardeners and agricultural workers for Ruth’s Home for Children. They were so grateful for clothes and tools that we often take for granted here in the United States. The presence of the Lord was in our midst and His joy warmed our hearts. It was a little past 7 pm when we decided to leave Kinshasa’s countryside and return to our hotel. This was a journey we had made dozens of times. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped by a political site to pick up Pastor Charles, the site director for Ruth’s Home for Children. He was exhausted after waiting around for hours in the hot sun due to a car that broke down. Together, Mom (Ruth), my older brother (Joel), Pastor Charles, our driver (Bruno), and I headed back after an eventful yet victorious day. Little did we know that God was not done scoring victories on our behalf just yet.
About 10 minutes after picking up Pastor Charles, the driver (Bruno) remembered that Pastor Charles left his backpack in the taxi. This backpack carried his laptop, phone chargers, etc. Pastor Charles hesitated a bit and suggested that we simply keep going. He would get his backpack back another day. Feeling bad, Joel and I suggested that we turn around and go get his backpack. After all, it was only a 10-minute drive. Pastor Charles refused a second time and told the driver to keep going. Bruno reasoned with Pastor Charles and began to move the car to the middle of the road to turn around. Pastor Charles refused a third time. While waiting to complete our U-turn, I noticed a white jeep in the corner of my right eye that was driving very fast. Between the white jeep and our car was a large blue van. I heard Joel say, “That car is about to hit that van.” Less than one second later the white jeep and the blue van collided. Immediately compassion fell over me and I thought, “How horrible for those cars to have an accident.” In the next second, I saw the blue van come towards our car and felt the intense push of an intense collision. I could not believe we were hit. Joel was sitting in the passenger seat next to Bruno. Both Joel and Bruno saw everything. According to them, the blue van hit us, then the white jeep swung around and also hit our car on Joel’s side. Although we do not know how long the collision lasted, we all felt like it lasted 3-5 seconds.
In that short span of time, all I saw was gray as I ducked behind my backpack. My life flashed before my eyes and I remember thinking, “This is what it feels like to die.” As the white Jeep approached the side Joel was sitting on, he thought, “I am about to die. This is it.” Later on, Joel told me that he heard Mom crying out “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” He also heard Pastor Charles crying out “Yesu! Yesu! Yesu!” which means Jesus in Lingala. I opened my eyes to a windshield filled with cracks and the sight and smell of heavy smoke. Joel yelled, “Everyone, get out of the car!” Filled with dizziness, confusion, and fear that the car would blow up in flames any second. I reached for the door and stepped outside. I was standing and felt no pain. I was alive and safe. I looked at Mom, Joel, Pastor Charles, and Bruno. We were all safe. A miracle. Mom told me she heard locals in the area yell out, “Ba kuffi! Le gens sont mour. Viens voi les gens qui sont mort,” which means “They are dead! People have died! Come see these people who have died.” There were about 30 people from the surrounding area who came to the site. They were all shocked we were alive. We were, too. According to observers,our jeep spun around three times, traversed from the middle of the boulevard to the edge of the other road, and parked perfectly in front of a pile of sand. Only God could rescue us from that. We all had minor scrapes and pain. Except for Mom. Her arm was quickly swelling, and her neck and shoulder were in a lot of pain. We had to get her to the hospital.
I called the hotel we were staying at. They could not help us. Next, I called the U.S. Embassy. To our surprise they told us it was after hours, we were in a third-world country, and could not help us. We felt so hopeless. Pastor Charles called good friends of his and asked them to meet us. We took a taxi to a hospital downtown which was run by Belgium. On the way to the hospital, Mom told us she felt a finger press and slide down the left and right sides of her neck, then she felt a pop. Immediately, the severe neck pain was gone. The was the touch of God.
The doctors at the hospital took an X-Ray of Mom’s shoulder and arm. They found no issue with her shoulder and gave her a temporary cast for her wrist. The next day, three skilled orthopedic doctors came to Pastor Charles’ house to reexamine Mom. They told us that in addition to the broken wrist, her shoulder had been dislocated. They would need to give her a cast for her wrist and pop her shoulder into place. After placing a plaster cast on Mom’s wrist, they proceeded to pop her humoral bone back into place. Mom’s shoulder immediately felt better. Shocked by the experience, we began to wonder if we should return home to the U.S. We did not know or understand why God had allowed this fatal car crash to happen.
The night of the accident, the driver of the white jeep fled the scene. The driver and passengers of the blue van were severely injured and bled intensely. Later we learned, that on the same night as our car accident there were two other car accidents in the areas nearby. There were no survivors of the other two crashes. Our lives had been spared by the grace of God. My Mom was determined to complete the mission God sent us to Congo to complete.
Often, the Lord values what we despise. Orphans and widows are overlooked and forgotten in Congo. They suffer much. This suffering is not unnoticed by God. He gave my Mom a vision to care for them. Making herself available to her Father in Heaven no matter the cost, my Mom encouraged Joel and me to see the goodness of God in this circumstance. He had come to our rescue and became the “fourth man in the fire.” We were not alone in that accident. The Lord was with us, and He saved us from the enemy’s hands. What the enemy intended for evil; God used for good. He would get the glory.
We stayed in Congo for a week and a half more. Orphans were fed and clothed, and the Gospel was preached to widows. God had allowed us to complete the mission He prepared for us.
Upon our return home, Mom made it a point to attend church on Sunday. She wanted us to praise God for what He had done for us. We did. That afternoon, Dad took Mom to the hospital to have Mom examined by doctors here in the United States. The doctors could not believe their eyes. Mom’s neck was fractured. To be exact, her C3 bone was fractured. As a former medical student, I understood how sensitive this part of her body was. This was a principal bone in the neck designed by God to protect the nerves which exit the brain to travel to the rest of the body. Doctors informed Dad and Mom that most people who fracture this bone become paralyzed from the neck down. They could not believe that Mom could move around for the past two weeks without any issues and even flew on a plane from Congo to the United States. They placed a neck brace on Mom and asked her to stay at the hospital overnight while they monitored her and took exams. They would not allow Mom to move or get out of bed.
Due to Covid, they would not allow visitors. We stayed in contact with Mom over the phone. It was a night filled with so much uncertainty, but God gave us all a sweet yet profound peace. The next day, after a meeting, the doctors decided Mom needed surgery. This surgery would require a neurosurgeon and would be of high risk. However, one doctor suggested an MRI be conducted before the surgery since Mom had been able to move around without severe issues for the past two weeks. Perhaps, surgery would not be necessary. After having her MRI performed, Mom returned to her room. Later, my Dad and I went to visit her. I felt such relief the moment I saw and hugged Mom. She was okay. The sight of her in a neck brace and cast was not pleasant but it was a reminder to me that God had spared her life and rescued her from the hands of death.
About one hour later, the nurse practitioner (NP) came into the room to check on Mom. She told us that she was waiting to hear from the doctor about Mom’s MRI. Once the NP spoke with the doctor, she would let us know if Mom needed surgery or if she could go home. We were praying for a “no” for surgery. We wanted Mom to come home and heal with her family by her side. Less than 30 minutes later, Mom’s registered nurse (RN) came in to tell us that he had just received discharge notes. Mom could come home!
We were so excited and overwhelmed with joy. We were amazed at the swiftness of God’s answer to our prayer. The way the Lord showed up on behalf of Mom will forever be marked upon my heart. The enemy tried to end Mom’s life in Congo, but he failed… epically. God stepped in, took control of the vehicle, touched my Mom’s neck so she could continue her mission, and allowed us to return home to the States to heal. God is Mom’s healer.
The Sunday before we traveled to Congo we attended our home church, Dwelling Place Worship Center. After praying over us, our Pastor told us that on this trip, God would do something that would “blow our minds away.” Our pastor was right! God certainly blew away our minds, yet we are forever grateful. God allowed us to witness a tremendous miracle.
“The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.”
1 Thessalonians 5:24
With Bright Hope,