In 2009, one of our World Missions Outreach Community Outreach Leaders sent an urgent request about a man who had been crushed in an avalanche and was in desperate need of a doctor. By the grace of God, we just so happened to have a medical team staying with us who were willing to answer the desperate attempt to find help. That Summer was the first time I met my now forever friend, Jimmy!
If you have been to World Missions Outreach, then Jimmy and his story should be no stranger to you! Jimmy is a dear friend of mine who has been dealt a pretty tough hand in life. Jimmy was blessed with having a job working for a construction company. What started out just like any other day at work soon took a turn that would change Jimmy’s life forever. The unthinkable happened…
It is a sight you see all the time; a dump truck hauling material from one location to another. However, this time was different. Jimmy was working at the bottom of a sand pit when one of his co-workers released the entire load of sand into the pit without realizing Jimmy was still down in the bottom of the pit. The ground started to cave and an avalanche began to rumble. The sand came down quick and hard, completely crushing Jimmy. Jimmy had no warning and no time to react. He was completely submerged with no sign of life. Everyone there desperately tried to help and dig Jimmy out. Finally, Jimmy’s limp lifeless body was pulled out of the rubble and rushed to the hospital.
That day, Jimmy was paralyzed from the waist down, never to walk again, never to work again, and confined to a small cot that his family made. Jimmy and his family had never owned a real bed before. When World Missions Outreach heard about Jimmy’s story, there was no question, we were already out the door and on the way.
Jimmy had no money to pay for his medical needs, therefore the hospital sent him home to die. Due to being confined to his cot, Jimmy started developing severe open wound bed sores. His sores became infected with flesh eating bacteria and gangrene. Jimmy was in critical condition and needed medical attention immediately! I truly believe nothing happens by chance. The medical team we had in knew exactly how to treat Jimmy’s infections. The young man who everyone thought was surly moments away from death, is still here with us a decade later.
Though the years, I have spent a lot of time with Jimmy.
It is one thing to be alive, but a completely different thing to actually live!
Jimmy and I are the same age; because of that, I constantly find myself overwhelmed with empathy and sometimes even guilt. I can not even imagine the emotional and mental strength that resides inside Jimmy. Overnight, he lost his freedom and was destined for a life that would never step outside of a home made cot again.
I didn’t want to help Jimmy stay alive, I wanted to help Jimmy live and find a quality of life that was worth being alive for.
Every time I have friends or a team come to Nicaragua, we go see Jimmy! We always make sure that Jimmy has a new wheelchair each year, food every month, and medical supplies when needed. We got him a real bed and proper bedding to help with preventing bed sores. We built him a ramp into his house, so he could actually go outside. There really isn’t much that I would not do for Jimmy.
Jimmy is a true fighter and I have never heard him once complain about his circumstances. He is always smiling and always optimistic. He is my inspiration on many levels in life. Now, I know no one is invincible, and Jimmy does fight depression quietly in shadows. Who wouldn’t? However, Jimmy is not bitter and he needs no petty. I truly believe he is the strongest human I know.
Now, here is the part of the story that is going to be hard for me to share…
With the civil unrest in Nicaragua I had not been able to see Jimmy in awhile. I spent many night in the US praying for Jimmy, wondering how he was doing, if he was ok, if he needed anything, if he was still alive. There wasn’t a day I didn’t think about Jimmy and how he was doing during these challenging times in Nicaragua.
I was so excited to see him, take him his new wheelchair, Christmas presents for his nieces and nephews, food for his family; our typical routine! But, this time was different...
Jimmy’s smile wasn’t as big as it normally was. His body was tinier than I have ever seen it. His skin was yellowing and dull, his eyes almost lifeless. We hugged and greeted everyone, but it was clear Jimmy had something to share with me. This is when Jimmy told me he was dying. Typing these words still hit me as hard as they did when they came out of Jimmy’s mouth. The Jimmy I know doesn’t talk like this, so I knew this was serious.
I am not a person that cries a lot. I am not this extra tough person that can’t cry. I just don’t resonate with the emotion of crying as some do. That being said, It is hard to bring me to tears. In this moment I could not fight them from falling from my eyes and stinging my cheeks as they ran down them. I was in shock and all I could think was, Jimmy doesn’t say things like this. This isn’t Jimmy. Where is my Jimmy!
However, this was my Jimmy. Even the strongest of men have a breaking point and Jimmy was at his. Jimmy shared with me that while I had been out of the country he had been very sick in the hospital for three months. He had several surgeries, which only made his condition decline more. The hospital sent Jimmy home, saying there is nothing else we can do for you and that they needed more space for people that they could actually help. Once again, a decade later, I was sitting with Jimmy having the same conversation that we had on the day we met.
I am not sure why bad things happen to good people, but I do know that these hard trials are the moments that define a person. I shared with Jimmy that there truly was not a day I had not been praying for him while away and that I would never stop caring about him. I reminded him that he was a warrior that has overcome more adversities than most people ever will in their entire life. I emphasized the fact that he has come this far and that none of us would allow him to give up now. I made him promise me that he would not give up and I promised him that I WOULD find him the medical help he needs. I intend to keep that promise and find Jimmy someone in the medical field who can come help.
This moment with Jimmy reminded me that prayer is powerful. Sometimes when we pray, we expect God to answer our prayer in only one specific way. Jimmy’s prayers are for healing and health. Although Jimmies prayers may not be answered by a miraculous immediate healing of flesh, I do think that Jimmy’s prayers will be answered by God sending the right hands to use as tools to restore Jimmy’s health. Jimmy needs and is praying for a miracle. We are all praying that Jimmy receives that miracle.
So with this I ask you, will you be the hands that God uses as a tool to answer jimmy’s prayers. Will you be the miracle we are all praying for?
If this is your career field and you have felt God tugging on your heart as you have read this, please email me!
Together we can be the light God uses to preform miracles.