A Report on the Car Accident

our son Ben and his wife Danielle our son Ben and his wife Danielle

Many of you prayed for our kids who were involved in a car accident on June 20th of 2008, while traveling home after ministering at a youth camp in East Texas.  We speak often on this site about "our kids", referring to the kids God has given us in Russia.  But, this time we are actually talking about our son Ben and his wife Danielle. 

In addition to starting a new job as a youth pastor at Christ's Chapel Bible Church in Fort Worth, Texas in May of '08, Ben continues to minister on occasion as a "Skitiot", using drama as a ministry tool in camps and conferences around the country.

Though like many of our archived stories here, this info is dated now, we tend to keep these things in the archives as testimony to the power of the prayers of His people.  The following email prayer reports serve to recap the details of the accident, and chronicle the mighty works of God.


Monday, June 23, 2008


Dear Prayer Warriors,

We covet your prayers right now!  Friday afternoon our son Ben called to say he and his wife Danielle were in a car accident as they traveled home from ministering at a camp all week in Marshall, Texas.  Ben's long-time ministry partner in the acting troupe, "The Skitiots", Eric, was driving and Ben was sitting in the front passenger seat.  Their wives were in the back seat and, PRAISE GOD, all of them were wearing seat belts.  The surgeon at the hospital later told us that the seat belts surely saved their lives.


While traveling on I-20 near Longview, heading back to Dallas, the car in front of them swerved, revealing at the last second, a gasoline tank truck parked in the road.  Not being able to avoid the truck, they slammed into the rear of the truck at nearly 60 miles per hour.  Ben's and Eric's air bags deployed of course, saving them from much worse injuries, but the girls in the back seat got the worst of it.  Though the seat belts saved their lives, they probably also contributed to some of their internal injuries, compounded by the force of the luggage from the trunk ramming through the back of their seats. 


Danielle lost the function of her left kidney and broke her scapula.  The doctors feel that the internal bruising and bleeding is under control and shouldn't require surgery, but Saturday evening they became concerned about a low blood count.  We were encouraged that her blood count improved some today but it still remains well below the norm.  Today, Sunday, it was disclosed that she has a partially collapsed lung and some blood build-up in her lung that they are watching closely.  If the body doesn't take care of itself by tomorrow they'll probably have to do something to drain off the blood in her lung. 


Please join us as we petition the throne for continued healing for all four of them.  Ben was discharged the first day, but continues in considerable pain, remaining faithfully at Danielle's side day and night.  Eric and his wife, Alicia, continue to improve, but Alicia will probably be in ICU a few more days.  In addition to internal bruising, she suffered a cracked sternum, bruised lungs, and a broken femur.  Though banged up more than Ben, Eric was discharged Friday as well, but is trying to schedule surgery on his broken hand while Alicia is in the hospital.


I can't close without sharing how this event has lead us before the throne in a depth of worship that we haven't experienced for some time.  When Ben called us from the ambulance, we happened to be in the states for the renewal of our Russian visas, but we were also very aware of a deep need for the renewal of our souls.  We were discussing that very thing when Ben called.  This week it had just occurred to me how much the depth of my soul's weariness may be linked to the shallowness of my worship experience in the context of a Russian church, attempting to worship for the past year in a language I don't yet fully understand. 


A strange sanctuary for worship, but worship I did! A strange sanctuary for worship, but worship I did!

Ben's call would have been so hard to receive if we were in Voronezh, 6,000 miles away, but it was such a blessing for us to be able to jump in the car and be at his side in just a few hours.  I had no idea I would find myself the next morning, worshiping our Lord in the peculiar sanctuary of an east Texas junk yard, as I looked at what was left of the car that had carried our kids and their friends.  A car that had the fingerprints of God all over it in the evidence of His protective care and intervention. 


There's not time enough to detail all the miracles of the past few days, and many of them we'll probably never learn of this side of heaven.  Perhaps I can fill you in on some of the details later, but in the meantime, please continue with us, as we worship a GREAT and AWESOME God, and continue to claim complete healing for Danielle and the others, because of the power of the blood He shed for the purpose of our redemption and healing.


We are so grateful for your prayers!



Thursday, June 26, 2008


Dear Prayer Warriors,

The out-pouring of prayer support from all over the globe means more than any of us can express.  As others report how they are being led to intercede and worship our God and Savior, it continues to move us to worship as well.


Ben, Danielle, Eric, and Alicia all convey their deep gratitude for all the prayers and praises being offered up on their behalf.


God continues His healing work and I wanted to give you all an update.


Our daughter-in-law Danielle seems to be showing some signs of improvement the past few days though she?s still in an intense battle with the severe blow her body took in the accident.  It seems that at the point of impact, when the car suddenly went from 60 mph to 0 in a split second, a suitcase from the trunk punched through the back seat into Danielle?s back, which seems to explain how she lost her left kidney, broke her scapula (left shoulder blade) and bruised her left lung. 


I think it was right after the last main update I sent out that it was discovered she had a partially collapsed left lung and they found a significant amount of blood and fluid in the cavity around the lung.  On Monday they went in and drained a half-liter of blood from that lung cavity, but couldn?t get it all.  They watched it closely with x-rays and ultrasound for the next couple days to see if the body would absorb it, but it didn?t.  So today, Thursday, they went in through her side and installed a temporary drain pump that will work for the next several days to remove those fluids from her lung cavity.  They say if that is not successful, they still may need to go in surgically to remove the fluids. 


All of this means that they will remain in the hospital through this next weekend and possibly well into next week.


One of the main dangers for Danielle is the possibility of developing pneumonia.  One of the best means of guarding against this is exercising the lung.  So, Ben is faithfully getting her up to walk laps in the hall several times a day, as well as doing breathing therapies every hour. 


Please pray for physical strength for Danielle and the will to keep up the fight. 


Ben continues to function pretty well, still serving Danielle as her primary ?nurse?, at her side around the clock, though we know he is basically exhausted and must be functioning mainly on adrenaline.  His bumps and bruises seem to be healing fine, but please remember him in your prayers as well for strength, wisdom, and the perspective to continue focusing on the big picture and what God is doing in their lives and ministry through all this.


Their verse this week:

2 Corinthians 4:17-18  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.


Their friends Eric and Alicia are making progress in their healing as well.  Eric was discharged from the hospital last Friday, as was Ben, but since his wife Alicia is confined to the hospital for a little while yet, yesterday he went ahead and got surgery on his broken hand.  They put in a plate and some pins to aid in the healing, and they feel the surgery was successful.


Alicia was finally moved from ICU on Tuesday, which seems to be helping her get a little better rest.  When the body gets as beat up as theirs have, the body needs all the rest it can get to have the strength for the fight for recovery.  She?s still experiencing a lot of pain in her chest.  I don?t know for sure, but I would imagine that is a result of her broken sternum.  As reported earlier, she had a rod surgically inserted to repair her broken left femur and that seems to have been successful too, though she has a long rehab road ahead of her.


Please continue to remember them all in your prayers.  But, they desire that you remember them in your worship as well.  They feel humbled by the realization that God considered them worthy to be taken through this trial.


Thanks for joining us in the battle!

 Robert & Ann


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Alicia, Ben and Danielle?s friend who suffered the broken leg, was released from the hospital on Sunday, the 29th of June, and is rehabbing in West Texas.  

Danielle was released from Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview on the following Thursday, July 3rd, and spent a couple days resting in Dallas before continuing home to their home in Fort Worth, where she continues to gain strength day-by-day.  Please continue to pray for God?s strength to work within her for complete restoration of her health and strength.

Thanks again for all the prayers during this time.  Difficult yes, but an incredible opportunity to experience the hand of God and offer Him the worship He so deserves!