This morning around 7:15 we were all cuddled in our beds, heading down the road in southern Mississippi. The steady rhythm of the bus is a favorite early morning sensation -- enjoying the time before the front of the bus fills with tousled heads hungry for breakfast.
Andrew was our driver for the morning, and I teased him about being the early bird before snuggling back into my sleeping bag. After about 20 miles of smooth 70mph interstate, everything suddenly changed. While the details are still a little fuzzy, it seems a semi pulled onto the road just a short distance ahead of us. By the time we noticed the speed difference it was too late. We slammed into it, ripping off the front-right side of our bus.
What resulted is a string of miracles that could probably equal my longest post ever.....I'll try to recount with pictures and details ---
Andrew was not thrown from his seat, and was able to swerve in time to avoid hitting the truck straight on. I was sleeping directly behind him, and was thrown up and over his seat onto the steering wheel. I'm sure it was God's hand that kept us both from flying through the broken windshield.
Ruth also was thrown from her bed (she slept in the front/right corner of the bus), but was stopped mid-air by the brace between the two front windows. Aside from a scrape on her arm, she's not harmed.
Nathanael was the third one sleeping in the front section. Just behind him (on the fridge) we keep all our heavy cooking pots, blender, etc.... Amazingly, he stayed in his bed, but all the kitchen-wares flew over him and landed in what used to be the aisle. Except for a few spilled grits/cereal in his hair, he wasn't touched.
Meanwhile, in the middle of the bus, the bunks had collapsed on each other because of the impact and falling walls. Once again -- by God's mercy, both bottom bunks 'happened to' be empty -- Andrew was driving, and Alaythia, previously having a bad dream had moved to snuggle with Hannah on an upper bunk. Besides a few bruises, nobody was hurt.
And the back room held yet another miracle. While Mom ended up in the hallway, and Dad fell into a corner, little Charissa was whisked off the big bed where she'd been sleeping. A pillow flew in front of her, cushioning her impact on the wall --then slid down underneath while a second pillow landed beside her. The bed frame shifted, landing only inches away. But she is perfectly fine.
All the instruments and sound equipment are all okay.
Almost as fast as we realized what had happened, a host of truck drivers and rescue workers were on the scene helping us get out and gather a few necessities (blankets!). I heard multiple times, "You are so lucky -- I can't believe no one was hurt in this!"
But as we shared with them -- it isn't luck at all. We serve such an incredibly merciful God Who is in control of all situations. He carried that crockpot over Nathanael's head. He placed that pillow under Charissa. He blocked us from sailing out the front windshield en-motion.
His mercy is beyond understanding.
"Thank you" seems a trite way to express our gratefulness to those of you who pray for our family's safety. We have never seen the Lord's protection as we did today. We thought of so many of you as we stood around marveling at the miracle around us.
Please do continue to pray as this has placed many uncertainties into the days ahead. We have been brought to a local Baptist church this afternoon, where they have been going out of their way to provide hospitality -- showers, pizza, and a large van to use for errands. And a friend is currently bringing us a motorhome from South Carolina for transportation to the upcoming prison ministry.
Specifically, we ask prayer for --
- Wisdom concerning the rest of this trip: transportation, lodging, etc... (We have over a month left on this trip.)
- Andrew did fracture his 'banjo thumb' -- pray for quick healing and creativity in how to work around that, as he provides much of our instrumentation.
- Future transportation -- new bus?!
- A quick settlement with the insurance companies -- no legal battles.
- As this goes on the local news here in Mississippi, we pray the Lord would be glorified. (The newspaper woman is a believer!)
Again, THANK YOU for your prayers!!! We will endeavor to keep you updated with the latest developments.