The Intrusion

It has now been three months since the car accident in May. How shall we describe this abrupt intrusion in our lives?

We may question God’s plan during times like these. Mike and Sean spent much of their summer in the offices of specialists and physical therapists. The accident happened on May 12 and the days following were filled with uncertainty as we wondered what the future held for Mike and Sean. With the high speed impact and all the shearing forces, their bodies would take a lot of time (and patience) to heal. Here is a summary of each month.

Mike and Sean were in severe pain, Mike worse than Sean. They were both on strong pain medicine. Lying down was too painful for Mike so he slept in a recliner.

One of his main injuries was rib separation from the sternum. His entire chest area was affected and he could not cough or sneeze without excruciating pain. During this month we worked hard to keep him from getting pneumonia.

Unfortunately, with both guys injured, the JAARS Auto Shop had to shut down. There was one mechanic who attempted to keep the JAARS Center vehicles maintained but our missionaries were quite burdened with trying to find affordable repair work for their cars. Plus, with Mike on the heavy pain medicine he was unable to do any consulting by phone or computer. This put a burden on all the overseas consulting as well as the large number of missionaries travelling in the U.S.

As June progressed we began to wonder if life would ever be the same. What would the future hold? What if the injuries proved to be permanent? It was during this time of wondering we received a surprising email; a resume from an experienced mechanic, Andy Ball. He and his wife, Elaine, were interested in permanently relocating to JAARS.

The resume and subsequent meeting with this mechanic confirmed that God was still at work. In the midst of this deep trial we saw God answering prayers we’d had for a very long time. How could we ever doubt? In the grand scheme of things, the Auto Shop was greatly on His mind.

Mike was finally able to sleep in a bed. He and Sean’s physical therapy was well underway. Mike also saw a physiatrist, or rehab specialist. During this time we carried the unpleasant task of navigating two insurance claims.

It was comforting, however, when Mike and Sean began to have significant healing. Mike was able by mid-July to stop the heavier pain medicine. He continued on an anti-inflammatory during the day and added a muscle relaxer at night. We began feeling more optimistic about the future and were hopeful there would be no permanent physical damage.

As July drew to close, Mike was able to return to some office work in between the continued therapy. Sean was healing well by this time and could do light exercise but remained unable to resume any mechanical work. While working from home, Mike wrote training manuals, prepared to teach a class in August, and resumed his work as a consultant for missionaries here and overseas.

More unexpected and exciting news came our way. Greg Davis from Cameroon accepted an assignment at the JAARS Auto Shop as Office Manager/Service Writer. We interviewed Greg last spring and knew he was praying about several openings. He and his wife had to take a U.S. assignment to care for an ill daughter. We were hopeful after the interview but prayed and waited. The Lord answered our prayers.

Greg and Debbie Davis

If that wasn’t enough to rekindle our hope we also received news that Phil Heinicke and his family moved to the area. We will save the story of Phil for another update but he has joined Wycliffe and accepted an assignment as another mechanic for the Auto Shop. He is currently raising his financial support.

Phil and Jeanette Heinicke and family

On August 2, Mike and Sean returned to the Auto Shop on light duty. In other words, they were to test their physical abilities. They have continued with the physical therapy. Mike is still pretty much confined to the desk as he prepares for the class he will teach this month.

Two times per year JAARS has ICC (Intercultural Communications), when new missionaries receive their pre-field training. Mike will teach four-wheel drive theory and practicum. In the theory class they learn the tricks of driving and maintaining a four-wheel drive vehicle. In the practicum they practice driving skills on the trails carved behind the JAARS Center. The terrain is very rugged and provides great preparation for their overseas assignments.

The ICC class is always a great time for Mike to develop new relationships. These relationships have continued through the years and many call or email him here when they need help with anything related to their vehicle.

What Next?
We are thankful beyond words for the progress Mike and Sean have made. We are thankful they are both greatly on the mend. It has been a very busy summer filled with uncertainty and questioning.

It is evident that God was not only going to keep the Auto Shop going but He was going to expand it, answering our prayers over the seven years we’ve been here. As we said last year, our goal was to see the JAARS Auto Shop become an international training center. It appears that it is on its way to becoming a reality.

There is one other bit of bittersweet news in all this. Sean has made the decision to pursue Law Enforcement and begins his training this month. We were unsure if he would be able to do this, but the doctors feel he will never know unless he tries. At this point, he is going to try. We ask prayer for his continued physical healing.

It is sad for Mike to lose Sean from the Auto Shop. He has been so vital at Mike’s side all these years. As mechanics came and went, Sean was always there. We wish him God’s best in his life and are thankful for his years of service in Bible translation. We pray God will use him greatly in his new career and grant him success.

Greg Davis and Andy Ball both are scheduled to join us on September 1st. Mike will have a highly experienced mechanic and someone skilled to run the office. We look forward to Phil Heinicke’s joining us later this year.

And that’s it in a BIG nutshell. Many have not heard from us since that last web post. We have spoken by phone to several but this is the first post since May. We knew many of you were praying for us and we want to express our appreciation. God answered! We also want to thank our financial team for your support that keeps us going every month. It is a blessing to serve with you!

Mike & Kathy

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