In my prior post, I asked for prayers for my friend Joe, who was injured in a farming accident on Saturday. Two times since he was hospitalized Saturday, he has passed out and had no pulse or respirations. Today, I’m blessed to say (after a multitude of tests) he has been released from the hospital with nothing more than some nerve damage in his neck and shoulder/arm. The doctors believe this will heal in time. No broken bones – not one bruised organ. Joe is now a walking miracle. Thank you so much for your prayers – please continue to pray for complete healing.
Joe has farmed since he was 11 years of age. He lost his dad when he was 14 years old, and took over the family farms. He finished school, and went to college. I introduced Joe and Rhonda some 30 years ago, and they subsequently married. They had three beautiful children. Read about Rhonda and myself when we were neighborhood friends here.
Rhonda and Joe are woven into the very fabric of my life. I like to tease them that I introduced them, and they still love each other – and me! I introduced them to each other - and they introduced me to the Lord.
Last night, Rhonda said, “Where would we be without you?”
I said, “Where would I be, without you?”
Though Rhonda and I grew up together, I was 38 years old when the Lord apprehended me. That’s another story, for another time. Suffice it to say that the Lord knows the timing, and none can come before He calls. He called, I came. And Rhonda was a huge part of that.
Three years ago, on New Year’s Day, I received a call that literally brought me to my knees. John, Joe and Rhonda’s eldest son, had been killed in a vehicular accident at the young age of 22. John had taken off a semester from college, and chose to help his dad in the field the entire semester. He was going back to school in January. New Year’s Day, John and some friends had been out coyote hunting, and he was coming home, and rolled his truck. MLH and I ran out the door and drove the 75 miles to Joe and Rhonda’s house. What do you say to your best friend when she’s lost her boy – her firstborn? What could we say to Joe? To Sarah and Clay, John’s siblings?
There is nothing to say. You just have to be there, and breathe with them. So we did. And we've continued to do so.
It’s been hard, on the entire family. I have no way to measure. They miss John tremendously…words cannot possibly describe. They have gone on, in their very best way. They serve their community and the body of believers in the area. They work with other grieving families. Sarah is here, in college, and we see her frequently. Clay has grown up, and is high school, is driving now, playing basketball, and helping his dad in the field when possible.
When we visited Joe yesterday, he told us what happened. Joe, Rhonda, Clay, and Joe’s helper were in the 24 hour/ 7 days a week stage of harvesting cotton. Everybody works in a farming family. Clay was running the module builder, having just relieved Rhonda. Rhonda had gone for refreshments for everyone. Joe was cleaning out some clogged up cotton in the cotton stripper, and failed to turn the vehicle off prior to getting in it. His glove caught in the auger, then his shirt, and the auger took him, bodily, down into the machine workings. Joe remembers he was being slowly choked to death. He remembers forcing his tongue back into his mouth, and deliberately taking taking two deep breaths, and then he passed out. One of Joe’s helpers drove the boll buggy up to Joe’s stripper, and noticed the stripper was running, but couldn't find Joe. He got out, looked around for Joe, and saw Joe’s boot sticking out of the stripper basket. The helper turned off the stripper, and when he did so, the auger reversed itself.
The next thing Joe remembers was being able to breathe, and thinking, “Oh, my Lord! I can’t believe I’m alive!!” I know he had to be in intense pain, but he remembers…joy!
Joe had to physically extract himself from the auger, his clothing ripped to shreds, and climb down out of the stripper basket. The helper drove Joe to where Clay was working on the module builder, and then called 911, while Clay took his daddy to the house. The ambulance met them there.
The Lord knows our strength, and our capabilities. He knows all. And me? I know nothing…except that Joe is a walking, talking miracle. And he knows it.
I am thankful. Ecstatic. Humbled.
And now, you know the rest of the story.