This isn’t the first time in my life to be affected by a terrible accident. I accepted Christ as my Savior at the young age of four, but my flesh warred within me and I struggled to obey my parents.
I had an accident on a three-wheeler in 1992 at the age of eleven. I grew up on a farm. I was given permission to drive the three-wheeler ATV as long as I didn’t use the fourth gear. When out of sight of anyone, I would secretly drive in fourth gear.
One Sunday afternoon my parents were taking a nap and I used the excuse of taking out the trash to the dump in our pasture to drive the three-wheeler. Once I’d dropped off the trash and was out of sight of everyone, I opened the throttle in fourth gear on the dirt pasture road. It was spring and there was some ice covered with a bit of hay on the road. I hit that chunk of ice and it sent the three-wheeler tumbling.
When I opened my eyes, I was laying on my back. The three-wheeler was laying on its side quite some distance from me. My helmet visor had ripped off and was between me and the three-wheeler. I sat up and looked at my leg. It was shorter that it was supposed to be. My knee was about half way up my thigh. Then the pain hit!
I had a compound fracture of my femur and I was bleeding. My sister just happened to be out in the pasture and heard the accident. She ran and got my Mom, who is a nurse. She put traction on my leg and pressure on the bleeding wound. Without her help I most likely would have bleed to death. I said to my Mom, “You were right! God’s spankings are much worse than yours!”
I knew I was in the wrong and I accepted the consequences for my actions. I spent a month in the hospital in traction then another month in a wheelchair in a partial body cast. After the wheelchair, I was spent a month on crutches and another month not being able to run. This spoiled my whole summer and gave me lots of time to think. God allowed me to have the accident, but he spared my life. He must have something special planned for me. I needed to be obedient to God.
I began taking flying lessons at the age of fifteen and found I had a natural ability. At the age of sixteen, I rededicated my life to the Lord. I knew of the need for missionary pilots and asked the Lord that if it was His will for me to do this, that He would open the doors for me. And open the doors He did! He brought a former missionary pilot into my life to mentor me and provided the opportunities for my training and experience. I knew this was the Lord’s will for my life!
On October 15, 2014, my life was impacted with another terrible accident. This time I was in the center of God’s will. I had become a missionary pilot. We’d been in PNG for seven months training with SIL (JAARS) on the new Kodiak airplane and I was almost done with this training. In just a couple of months, I would be ready to fly NTM’s new Kodiaks. On the day of my accident, I had just completed and passed a check ride on the Kodiak.
I was driving my motorcycle home from the airstrip. It’s just a few kilometers from the airstrip to the mission center. While coming around a blind curve, there was a Land Cruiser coming straight at me on my side of the road. I don’t remember the accident. I don’t even remember leaving the hangar on my motorcycle. The best we can tell I slammed on the brakes and laid the bike on its side.
I hit the Land Cruiser head on. My right leg was crushed between the bike and the bumper of the land cruiser. I compound-fractured both bones in my right leg below the knee. I started bleeding badly. Some Papua New Guineans stopped and put me in the back of a bus and took me to the mission medical clinic.
I wasn’t able to be med-evacuated to Australia until the next morning since there is no night flying at the airstrip due to the mountainous terrain. I lost a lot of blood. I was dying. My condition was classified as very grave. My blood looked like pink water.
I should have died.
The clinic that is not set up to do blood transfusions miraculously had three blood bags and a list of universal blood donors living on the center. They completed the blood transfusion and even though my blood level was so low that I shouldn’t have pulled through, I did! Even the doctors didn’t think I was going to make it. They put a tourniquet on my right leg to control the bleeding.
By the time I got to the hospital in Cairns, Australia the next day, the tourniquet had been on for 17 hours. They tried to save my leg, but the damage from the tourniquet (that saved my life) was too great and they had to amputate my right leg above the knee. My left leg also needed major knee and foot surgery.
Why did God allow this accident to happen? I was following in His will. I was almost done with my training. New Tribes Mission Aviation needed me to fly these new airplanes and train in the other pilots. The “why” I can’t answer. The true reason may not be revealed for some time.
But, this I know: We are to glorify and bring praise to God in any circumstance. So, that is what I am doing. Giving God the Glory. He spared my life once again in this accident. He is not finished with me yet. He still has plans for me. Maybe someone will come to know the Lord through my testimony. Maybe being an amputee will give me some opportunity to minister. God knows. And I can rest in that knowledge.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)