Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Kerplunk!

My family and I are reading a biography of a mechanically minded missionary to the Philippines. Jared Barker, and his wife Marilee, began their ministry work in 1953 when the islands were still recovering from WWII. Things were fairly primitive which lent to their using an old military weapons carrier truck to climb up steep trails into the mountains. One one trip, the rear axle snapped and the truck tipped over.
It seemed to be moving in slow motion. Just up and over, and then kerplunk on its top. The little boy in front with us started howling. His mother was more concerned with him than herself. Transmission fluid started dripping down on Marilee and was running through her hair and down her face. We crawled out as quickly as we could to survey the damage.

First, we accounted for the passengers who had been riding in the back. There were some bumps and bruises, but the boys were all right. Except Jimmy wasn't there. Marilee and I looked at each other and froze for a moment. He had been riding right behind the cab, which was now flat. If our six-year-old son was under there, he wouldn't have a chance. With a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach I bent down and looked under the truck.

There, swinging back and forth by his belt, arms flailing, was our son. As the truck turned over he must have gotten hooked up like that, inches from a big rock. If his belt had not got hooked up like that, his skull would have been crushed. I got him loose, he crawled out and got a good deal of huging.

We stood there in the middle of the trail and praised the Lord—an impromptu prayer meeting on the side of a mountain. ... An experience like that makes you pause and consider just how fragile life is.

Jared Baker, as told to Marti Hefley, Assignment in the Philippines, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1984), 120-21.

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