As many of you know, on Jan. 28, 2013 I was on my way to our region’s annual Minister’s Institute in Newton. The last clear memory I have is leaving Centerville Mercy Hospital after a quick visit with a patient. Apparently there was heavy fog on the road and I missed a turn near Knoxville and suffered critical injuries in the accident. From that point memories and dreams are blended and confused as I spent more than 40 days in hospitals, mostly in critical care. My injuries included two fractures to the spine, numerous broken ribs, a collapsed lung, bruised kidney and large gash in the head that caused traumatic brain injury. I underwent two brain surgeries and a procedure to relieve edema that swelled my body with 80 liters of extra fluid. My next clear thoughts after the accident were on March 14 when I arrived at the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Neb. for the second time. I was weak and still had a gastric tube and a tracheotomy, but was finally alert and coherent. Two and one half weeks later I was able to walk out of Madonna and return to my apartment without aides. This week I formally returned to work part time as the pastor of the Drake Avenue Christian Church. My recovery is a testimony to the power of prayer, and to the love and support that is provided by a church family!
Thank you to everyone who prayed, visited, sent cards, letters, e-mails and gifts, members of my church and countless members of the community. Thank you for the meals, rides, hugs and support since my return to Centerville. Thank you for the financial support given to the church, to myself and to my family. And thank you to my family for their care and support, especially my sister Juanita who was by my side during so much and who had to make decisions no family member ever wants to face. I know there are many more who deserve special thanks. Forgive me for not including you all here. There is not room or time to name everyone. Please know that you are all loved and appreciated.