Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Spared to serve another day

G'day from the Petersons
We have been away to visit Robyn's sister Jenny and her family on their dairy farm in Deniliquin, New South Wales for the past few days and have been out of contact by phone or email with most of you. We had hoped to give you an update of our time away yesterday, but circumstances prevented us from doing so. Life has been very full (busy) since we have arrived in Australia. We have had some sort of meeting/get together/etc. almost every day - often multiple. We left last Friday morning with Robyn's Mom in her little car for the 4+ hour drive to Denniliquin. The morning we left I came down with flu symptoms and turned the driving over to Robyn half way there. Though I didn't feel good all weekend, we managed to help in two evening milkings, and we got to go to church on Sunday with Jenny and Stewart (her husband who became a Christian this past Easter). They asked me to take 10 minutes to share at their service (a small house church), but they continued with questions, and finally after over two hours we had to excuse ourselves and get back to the farm. Needless to say it was a good weekend.

On Monday Robyn asked if I felt good enough to drive home, which I did, so we headed off around noon. We were to visit some good friends, Phil & Kelly Morrow, around 3:30pm for about an hour, then get into Melbourne in time to drop Mom home and get to a dinner-Bible study we were asked to share at. Around 3pm (1am Monday Florida time, 10pm Sunday westcoast time) , two kilometers south of Heathcote, Victoria, on a clear, sunny day, traveling along at around 95 kilometers an hour (almost 60 mph) I saw a "Ute"
(car/pickup - something like a 78 Chevy El Camino for you car buffs) flash in front of me from no where. There was an almighty bang and suddenly we were spinning around and around. Smoke seemed to fill the car, and in my bewilderment I had wondered what had happened - was this a dream? I began to pray. Everyone in the car began to ask if each other was all right, and I heard my mother-in-law (sitting in the passenger seat beside me) call for help to get her out. I then blacked out for what seemed like a long time, but Josiah said was only seconds. I heard someone say "fire", and I tried to get my door open, but couldn't. Someone came and opened it from the outside and I tumbled out. I could see Robyn in the back seat not moving, and Mom talking to someone, having tried to get out, but sitting back down. The smoke turned out to be from the air-bags, so fire was not an issue. I tried to find Josiah and Esther, but a bystander, then an emergency worker had me lie down and check me for vital signs. Josiah lay down beside me and was bleeding from the mouth. I feared the worst at first, but soon concluded he had bit his tongue and was okay. Esther laid down between us where I could just get a hand on her shoulder, but could not see her. I had some tingling in my right arm, then in my left also, so they were worried about neck injuries. I wanted to get up and help, and kept asking about the others, but finally concluded if I didn't lay still I could do more damage - though I felt "fine". The tingling soon went away, and my vital signs were all good - pulse was never over 60. Many people stopped and offered aid and comfort and blankets - God sent us people to look after us while ambulances came from over 40 miles away. When the police and other emergency workers arrived on the scene, they seemed to be amazed to find out I was the driver. Judging by the accident scene, they were expecting a big mess. They wanted to know what kind of car we were driving as we could make a commercial for it. The constable (police traffic officer) investing the scene asked lots of questions, breath tested me (a big fat ZERO) and told me the other driver (72 year old grandfather with his 10 year old grandson) turned in front of us, probably not seeing us as he would have been looking into the sun. His big Ute was totalled! Though they thought we might be just all bruised (from the seat-belts), they took no chances and put us all in neck braces and sent us off the main area hospital in Bendigo (we got there about two hours after the accident). The grandfather refused treatment and a ambulance and had himself and grandson driven to the hospital, where they were cleared and released (praise God). Once in the hospital we were all assigned a doctor, took turns waiting for x-rays, then waiting for them to be read and given the all clear. Esther was released first, and our bright little lady began finding us to cheer us up and encourage us, but soon was back in bed feeling nauseous (it took 12 hours for that to fully pass). I was released next, and found Robyn was already in x-ray, so headed to my Mom-in-law's bed. Her doctor had just arrived to say no bones broken, but she did have a chest infection and fever (which she suspected she had come down with over the weekend), so they had put her on intravenous anti-biotic and would keep her several days for observation as it could turn to pneumonia.

To shorten the story, we Petersons were eventually all cleared and released that evening. Robyn and the kids are badly bruised by the seat-belts (I less so as the air-bag stopped me), Josiah also had broken glasses and a sprained left foot, but we are so grateful to be alive and only bruised. We are moving slowly and it hurts to cough or sneeze, but that's nothing to what it could/should have been. We were all rejoicing in the hospital over God's grace and mercy. God has been answering peoples prayer for our protection. Robyn had managed to make a few phone calls (people let us use their cell phones even though they cost big $ to use here, and Phil & Kelly Morrow drove all the way out to look after us. They helped me find a motel, then took the Robyn & kids there, went and got food, and made sure they were settled before leaving (then gave us money for the motel). I stayed at the hospital with Mom and found that our church here had dispatched a pastor (Steve) and a vehicle when they first heard of the situation, and he was there in two hours (not long after our release around 9pm)). Josiah and I had had our shirts cut off, but I at least had my jacket. Esther didn't have her shoes on at the time, and none of them had jackets. It has been very cold her at night (mid 30's). The hospital let me scrounge through some donated clothes so Josiah and I got some T-shirts and him a vest, and I found Esther some socks and a jacket. Pastor Steve loaned Robyn a jacket, took me to the motel when we found out Mom was staying at least overnight, picked us up this morning and took us to the hospital, went and got hair clips for Mom and some reading glasses when he found out Mom was going to stay and was frustrated with her hair and that her glasses were missing, then drove us to the wreckers to get the things from our car, stopped at the site of the accident to see if we could find the missing lens from Josiah's broken glasses (he can't see far without them - alas, we didn't find it), then drove us home. Wow, did we feel looked after. Folk here have called to check on us, people have met to pray. Someone brought us a meal after we got her, and we found notes on our door. Wycliffe Australia had a group vehicle we could rent for the rest of the time we're here, so we can get back up and running. And we managed to get 4 loads of wash done tonight, though we'll wait until tomorrow morning before we hand them out to dry (we have solar clothes dryers here).

The Lord has blessed us by allowing us to get an appointment with an eye doctor for Josiah tomorrow morning, then with a chiropractor just after that, then we have a lunch meeting and an afternoon meeting already booked. We missed two appointments today, but they have been gracious. We leave on Thursday for Warnambool on the coast of Victoria (4.5 hours
away) to visit the relatives down there, hoping to get back on Friday night. That's if Robyn's uncle and aunt can go to Bendigo to pick up her Mom. If they can't, we'll be making a trip up there instead.

We would appreciate your prayers for a quick recovery, and that Robyn's Mom will be released soon. We'd also like prayer that we'll be able to help Mom with the insurance papers and get her car replaced soon, and that she'll feel comfortable driving again. She has full coverage insurance, but these things always seem to take TIME! This Sunday we'll be sharing at both morning and evening services at Robyn's home church, Diamond Valley Baptist. We'll be meeting with the elders after the morning service. Next Wednesday we leave for Papua New Guinea for 12 days with Robyn's brother and family and our colleagues there with their work. We have one night in Brisbane on the way back to visit family/colleagues there, then two days in Melbourne (for Esther's 17th birthday) before heading to New Zealand for 8 days. Our schedule there looks very full as well. I think we're coming home tired having had a very full winter/summer.

Thanks for your love and prayers,
Gary for the Petersons

We're all doing better. My chest was hurting big time a couple of days after the accident. When I traced the pain it fit the airbag impact site. It only hurts when I cough - which is a lot since I'm trying to get over the flu. Still, it should have been so much worse. Robyn's Mom was released on Thursday, so Robyn and her friend Joanne drove up to get her and bring her home. Turns out one of the nurses at the hospital was two cars behind the one who hit us and she saw the whole thing. She also stopped to help us - probably the one who opened my car do. She said the guy just drove right along and turned in front of me. That means if he was going at least 25 kilometers an hour (probably faster), added to our 95-100, we would have hit at least 120 - or 75mph. Nothing short of a miracle. We've been to a Christian chiropractor here twice now, and he feels the kids are good to go, but concerned a bit about Robyn and I. We're both still very sore. I have a sharp pain in my back that I feel when I bend, sneeze or cough - which is often here. The kids get a kick out of the faces I make when I hurt - free entertainment.
Just got word they were able to fix Josiah's glasses and they are in - praise God. He's blind without them.

We have most of the paperwork done from the accident now. That is a relief. We're hoping that most of the costs will be covered by local insurance. Still, my total hospital bill - with x-rays, was around $169 Aussie, or $133.5 US. I can't imagine what it would be in the US.
We have a very full schedule before we leave here on Wednesday, the 6th, for Papua New Guinea. We'll be there until the 17th. We'd appreciate prayer for safety in travel within the country. We're back for a few days, then on to New Zealand, where we have another very full schedule. We'll be getting into LA on the 28th of July and driving up to see the folks. We should be at church that Sunday, then driving to LA that evening and flying home the next morning early (August 1st). I hit the ground flying when I get home, and the kids start school on the 5th.
Blessings on you all there. I trust God is giving you a great summer. Thank people for praying. Encourage them to continue to pray.

Gary for the Petersons

ps. We'll be sharing for 10-15 minutes at the two services in our church here this Sunday - our first since arriving. Praise God for this opportunity for all the new folk to get to know us.


At 10:53 PM, Blogger Suzette Lyons said...

Praise God that he is taking such good care of you in the midst of your trials. I will be praying for you.

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Lloyd and Pamela Goss said...

Wow! Quite the adventure! Praise God you are all okay!

At 8:30 PM, Anonymous rob Gunn said...

Hello Petersons! Praise God you are ok-will continue to pray for recovery from sore body parts. I know God as many more adventures for you-you are special to so many!

-Rob and Miriam Gunn


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