Hi my name is Gary, and I am a sinner saved by the Grace of God, though his Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross and shed this precious blood so that it might wash away my sins. And I believe that he arose on the third day, so that you and I shall have everlasting life.
I did not grow up in a Christian home; my mother was a Christian, and one of the finest women that were on this earth. My father was not a Christian, and I thank God that my dad was saved before he died. I did not become a Christian, until I was 41 years old. God worked on me several times, but I would always turn my back on him. I did not except Christ as my Lord and Savior, until the night, my son Lee died, and my sister, Linda, led me to Christ.
Losing a child has to be the hardest thing for a parent to endure. Words can not describe the hurt and anguish that a parent feels when their child dies. I guess that is the reason why John 3:16, so amazes and inspires me. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him, shall not parish but have every lasting life."
Although I was saved, I did not publicly profess my faith until several months later. I know Bro. Tye had to be thinking that I would never take that walk up the isle of Bethany Baptist Church. I knew that I had been saved, but I wanted to make sure it was right in my heart before I made it public.
At first I was like lots of new believers, my faith was strong, but my roots were not too deep. The Devil really started working on me and throwing things at me. I was having problems coping with Lee's deaf, and it helped to destroy my marriage. My mother became sick with cancer, and died a horrible deaf. My business suffered because of bad decisions, with some contracts and business partners. Some of the jobs that we did required me to work on Sundays, and before long I had turned my back on God.
That all changed in the early morning hours of April 25, 1995, when I crawled under my dump trailer to adjust the brakes. One of its brakes was sticking and causing the wheel to drag. It was dark and I was in a hurry, so I did not put a chuck block in front of the wheel. When I release the brake that was sticking, the truck started Rolling. The trailer's rear axle caught me and rolled over me, breaking my back. I remember being rolled over, feeling my bones breaking, and my very life and breath being crushed out of me. I cried out "Oh God, I am dead". Then all of a sudden the trailer rolled off me, and it was like someone had hooked my lungs to a giant air pump, and my lungs were filled instantly. I knew that I was paralyzed, but I had a comfort feeling that God was watching over me, and I would be all right.
I would like to think God for the Whynot Volunteer Fire Department, and its members who came out and helped stabilized me before the ambulance came that morning. They do an outstanding job.
The doctors did not tell me that I was hurt as bad as I was. They had told my family that I probably would not make it out of surgery, but I knew that I would be all right. I remember as they were wheeling me into surgery I recited the 23rd Song "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will feel no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the present of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dewell in the house of the Lord for every."
After two days at Rush Hospital they transferred me to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS. Were they operated on me to repair my spinal column. If there every was a Hell on earth, I went though it there waiting for them to operate on my spinal column. It was at the University that I promised God that I would never turn my back on him again.
I am now a T12 complete paraplegic, with means that my injury is at the 12th Thoracic, and I am paralyzed from the waist down I do not have any feeling, except a few spots below my waist. Although I don't have feeling in my legs, they are constantly burning with pain. I have to use a wheelchair, and I have no control of my bodily functions. Being in a wheelchair is like being in a different world.
A week after my surgery they transferred me to the Mississippi Methodist Rehab Clint where I stayed for two weeks. My roommate at MMRC was a 16-year-old teenager named Johnny. He had gone out parting one night with some of his friends, and there was alcohol at the party and Johnny became intoxicated. He and two of his friends went out driving, and they had a wreck, leaving Johnny a T-7 paraplegic. God used Johnny to show me how to do simple things again like dressing myself, opening doors, and doing other things in a wheelchair. One of the first things I did while in occupational therapy was to play checker with a man who was a quadriplegic, and he had to move his checkers by using a straw held in his mouth. God used him to show me that I was truly blessed with what I had.
After a two - week stay at MMRC, I came home; it was at that time that I really found out how important it was for me to learn how to take care of myself. I had lots of support from my family and church family. I stayed home for 3 weeks and then I went back to MMRC for a 6 weeks stay.
My first roommate back MMRC was a black man about my age; his name was Walter James. Walter is a C 5-6 Quadriplegic, who was there recovering from pressure sores. He was confined to his bed, and couldn't get into his chair, to do things. He has limited use of his hands and arms; he had just begun to be able to feed himself. When I first found out that I had a back man as my roommate, I did not like it. But that would quickly change. About the second night there, I was reading my bible when Walter asked me if I would read it to him. He said that he could not read, and even if he could, he could not hold a book and read it.
The Lord used Walter to show me that we are truly brothers in Christ, no matter what our skin color is. Walter became my best friend the two weeks that we were roommates. Every day after Physical and Occupational Therapy, I looked forward to coming back to my room and visiting with Walter. And I sure hated to see him leave when the time came for him to go home.
My next roommate was Terry Covert, a black male about 22 years old. Terry was an incomplete C5-6 Quadriplegic, and like Walter, he was there because of pressure sores. I wasn't looking forwards to having Terry as my roommate. But again the Lord showed me that I could not have a better roommate.
When someone has an operation for a pressure sore on their hip, they usually have to sleep on their stomach. But Terry had a great fear of sleeping on his stomach, so they had to put him in a special airbed, which looks like a bed inside of a bathtub. It didn't take me long before I discovered that Terry was a special young man.
In my talks with Terry, I find out that his mother and dad had divorced when he was a baby, and his mother died when he was a teenager. After his mother's deaf, he went to live with his material grandmother. He told me that his best friend shot him in the back of his neck. They had gotten into an argument over a drug deal, and he was shot while running up the steps of his grandmother's house.
Not long after Terry was injured, his grandmother died, and because there was no one who would, or could take care of him, he was forced to live in a nursing home. It was at the nursing home, where Terry accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
One night as I was lying in my bed, and watching TV, I heard Terry crying. When I asked him why he was crying, he told me that he didn't think anybody loved him. He wanted real bad to see, and talk to, his sister, and dad. Terry told me that his sister lives with her husband and children, in his grandmother's old home, and his dad lives in Louisiana with his mother. He said that he had not seen his dad in several years.
So I told Terry that he should call his sister and dad, and ask them if they would come to MMRC and visit him. He called his sister first, and she told him that she could not come up to visit him. When he called his dad, his grandmother told him that his dad was not home, and he did not want to talk, or see him. As you can guess this really upset Terry, and I told him that God loves him, and I love him too. We both started praying and asking God for his loving help.
Not to long after we finished praying, Terry's phone began to ring. It was from one of the head nurses at the nursing home. She said that she was at home, and God was putting a burden on her about calling him. She told Terry that God loved him, and she did to. She also told him that everyone missed him, and they would be glade when he came back home.
A few minutes after Terry hung up the phone, it rang again. This time it was from the head dietitian at the nursing home. She told Terry that she, and her husband, was coming to Jackson on Saturday, to do some shopping, and that they wanted to come by and visit with him. That Saturday they came up and spend the afternoon with him. Afterwards Terry told me that he realized God had blessed him with a new family, his nursing home family. God answered our prayers that night.
God does answer prayers. Although they might not be what we want, or as fast as we want then answered, God does answer our prayers. And the one that I am so thankful about, happen when Theresa, Robert, and I where in an accident. We were driving back from Jackson, Mississippi, traveling eastbound on Instate 20. I was driving, Theresa was sitting in the passenger seat, and Robert was laying down in the back seat of my van. My van was a Plymouth mini-van, and I had the middle seat removed so that I could place my wheelchair behind the front seats. It had already gotten dark before we left Jackson.
When we got at the Forest exit I notices that the vehicle ahead of me all of a sudden pulled over to the left-hand side of the road and stopped and began to backup. I thought maybe they had missed their exit, and were trying to cross the media. Just as I got a few feet from them, someone jumped and tried to flag me down, but it was too late. I hit the rear end of a small dodge pickup. It was sitting dead in the road without any lights on, and I was doing about 60 or 65 miles an hour, when we hit it. Theresa and I were pinned in our front seats, and could not open the doors. Theresa told me that she though that she was all right, but she couldn't get out of the car. We could hear Robert on the floor behind us. He was moaning, and it sounded like he was having hard time breathing. I prayed, "God please let him be all right! Please Lord God let Robert be all right, Please don't let him die!"
God answered my prayer. In a few minutes the police and rescue service were there, they stabilized Robert, and cut off the front doors of my van to get Theresa and myself out. At the hospital, the doctor told me that he though Robert had a cracked skull and that he needed to be rushed to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, in Jackson. So they loaded him into a ambulance, and Theresa rode with them to UMMC.
Just before they took Robert off in the ambulance, Ricky Roy and Debbie Shirley came in to the Emergency Room. They live in the same community as I do, and Ricky Roy and I are distant cousins. They had taken their daughters to a cheerleader's contest, in Jackson, and were on their way home, when they reconigized my van on the wrecker. So they came to the hospital to check on me. They stayed with me until the hospital release me, and then brought me home in their van. On the way home that night, I had a peaceful feeling that God was telling me, Robert was all right.
Not long after I got home, Theresa called and told me Robert was going to be all right. He did not have a cracked skull, but he did have a mile concussion and he had to have about 17 stitches in his right temple. She also said the doctor told that they could bring him home in the morning! GOD DOES ANSWER PRAYERS!!
Life is not fair, and if anyone can testify to that, I can. But no matter how unfair life sometime gets. Just remember, GOD LOVES YOU and through JESUS CHRIST everything in possible