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.