I’m writing from a hospital room in Altamira. One of the men (Dan Sawatzky) visiting us from Canada to help with the church building was in a serious motorbike accident. While returning from the boat to Altamira, he asked to ride one of our motor bikes. He missed a curve and hit a solid dirt wall at about 60 km/hr. He was unconscious at the scene and in and out of consciousness for about 24 hr. He suffered six broken ribs, a fractured shoulder blade, collar bone and jaw. He had cuts and abrasions everywhere. He had a 8-10" laceration over his inner elbow with lacerated tendons which needed surgery the first day. He was on a ventilator for about 36 hr, having a bruised lung, as well. Altamira has a brand new, state of the art hospital where Dan has received first rate care. Dan remembers very little of the day of the accident but has handled the pain and the trauma of it all quite courageously. Even today (about a week after the accident) he said to me, "It was all worth helping these people, even this."
Dan "shouldn’t have" survived this wreck. A much lesser impact has killed many. The fact that his neck remained whole, hitting this wall, helmeted head first, at that speed, is beyond my understanding. In the critical "golden hour" after the wreck, we could do little for him for lack of equipment, even with quite a bit of experience in treating similar traumas.
It’s been a blessing getting to know Dan while sitting many hours with him in this room. It’s also been quite cool seeing God’s many provisions for Dan since the accident. This hospital, for example, and its specialists, wasn’t here a year ago. The other hospitals in Altamira are quite "third world". I don’t understand why things like this happen but I also don’t understand completely why we are blessed with many miracles inside of us and around us, each moment. But God’s provision remains quite evident to eyes that will see, just as His love for us was demonstrated quite plainly in His humbly invading earth to reveal Himself to us, to suffer, and to die for our benefit.
I’ve been personally challenged in several ways while walking through this with Dan. 1) Life is truly but a vapor (Linda – this means that life is so short). 2) Tomorrow may look quite different than today. 3) Are my eyes open to God’s provisions? 4) The value of love, support and grace, especially in difficulty, is truly beautiful.
This has caused me to stop, to reevaluate myself in relation to God, my family, my friends, my work. Just how precious (and fragile, painful and challenging) is this life that we have so graciously been given? Just how precious is the moment by moment provision of our Creator? How precious and needed is demonstrated love between people? In my ever so brief life, what do I want to spend myself on?
Dan has a long road of recovery ahead but will completely heal. His life still has great value to the One in control, as does any life with a beating heart. If you are reading this, please remember the value you have to your Maker. He cherishes you dearly. Jesus, please open our eyes so that we can see your love and provision for us today. We need reminded, Lord, that you are so for us.
Dan(r) with friend, Phil, during the boat trip