8. THE DAY OF THE AUTO CRASH
When we began walking with the cross in Turkey, the Lord told me – and I wrote in my Diary – “Go as far as you can toward Athens.”
I often thought about those words, “Go as far as you can.” What did it mean? I had seen a brilliant light shining down on the road in a vision along the way that I was walking. I knew that something unusual lay ahead.
Turkey was under martial law and all public demonstrations and gatherings were illegal. But, we had no problems with the police or the people. Joel, Joshua and I had begun our walk at the Bosporus Straits in Istanbul behind the famous Blue Mosque. The Muslim people were so kind and responsive to us and honored that we were in Turkey. So many people prayed to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior.
We drove a Peugeot car pulling a 24-foot travel trailer, which was our home on the road. One afternoon there was no place to park alongside the road so we decided to drive to the next village, sleep there and return to the same place tomorrow and continue the walk from there. I tied the cross on the roof rack and drove over the small mountain and started down. As I passed a slow moving truck one wheel of the trailer hit the gravel and started to swerve. I pulled back into my lane and then heard a loud crash. I saw our trailer beside the car and we began plunging off the side of the road, down a steep embankment. I remember being suspended in space as the car landed on its front. A large truck loaded with rocks had hit us from behind. We were going slower than he was and he couldn’t stop in time. I saw my son, Joel fly out the side window and Joy, my daughter, hit the front windshield knocking it out. Then I heard another loud crash – a deafening sound – then silence. Dust was everywhere and at first I couldn’t see.
I dashed around the crushed car to find Joel. He was on his back with his feet caught in the window. Gina was crawling out of the car with Jerusalem, who was crying, so I knew they were alive. Joel had jumped up and was helping Joshua and Joseph get out of the third seat. They were alive!
People were running down the hillside to help – they thought we were dead. Without any words being spoken, my family gathered around the cross. It had been broken in the accident. The long beam was intact but the short beam was in half. All of us were wiping tears from our eyes and praising God. Gina knelt and kissed the cross and then we all knelt and said a prayer.
The car had landed upside down on top of the cross. But no one had broken a bone and the only blood shed was from a small cut near one of my eyes. Everyone was crying because the cross was broken.
We began to look at the wreckage. The front of the big trucked was crushed in but the truck had remained on the road. Our travel trailer was totally destroyed. Parts of it were only a foot high. The Peugeot roof, front and sides were caved in. But we were alive and well! We gave all our belongings, (except a few personal things) to people crowded around: food, pillows, beds, and clothing. For all we knew, this was the end of this trip. It is time to return to California for a while.
Our dear friend, Graham Lacey from London, flew our family home. We had been through the valley of death. We knew the only value was us. Material things come and go; we never grieved for a moment about the loss of the trailer or car, we only rejoiced that we were safe. We had carried the cross and had landed on it.
This was not the end. The walk was to continue.
I now understand the words the Lord told us at the beginning, “Go as far as you can toward Athens.” We did and now it was time to go home.
Every time I stand looking in the mirror to shave the small scar beside my eye reminds me that I live by God’s grace and nothing else.