Divine Appointments

For six months now I have been praying for a boy named Joseph Stanton.  He is a senior from Kingwood, Texas (close to Houston) who was in a horrible skateboarding accident in the beginning of June.  I knew nothing about him other then his name, accident and hometown.  I fervently prayed for him though.  I felt such a conviction to pray for him probably more than I had many other prayer requests.  I even wrote a “J” on my thumb in order to always be reminded to pray for him.  I never could have imagined the impact Joseph would have on my heart when I started praying for him but O how the Lord works and creates divine appointments.

A couple weeks ago all the missionaries had an amazing opportunity to road trip to Houston for the LifeTeen and Edge Basic Training conference.  Our main purpose for going was to make soul to soul contact with the youth ministers, to pray with them, and to be support for the staff. Little did I know that the plans God had for me to minister to people had very little to do with the conference.  One of the greatest things about mission in the States is that we get to stay with host families.  I was blessed to stay with the Youngs, an amazing Christ-centered family whose daughter I happen to know from her visits to Covecrest.  Staying in The Woodlands with the Young family was truly a divine set up by our Lord (we will soon find out why).

On Monday afternoon while in Houston I found out that Joseph was in The Woodlands at a brain rehabilitation center. I could not believe that he was so close to me. A boy I thought I would never come in contact with except through prayer was right around the corner. I immediately thought that Wednesday before we left to go home to Covecrest we could stop by and see him.  I went back to the Youngs’ house that night and asked if they had heard of the Nexus center where Joseph was staying.  They hadn’t but Mr. Young immediately looked it up online, got the phone number, and figured out it was located four miles away from their house.  Mrs. Young called to find out visiting hours and if Joseph Stanton was indeed a patient.  When she hung up the phone she turned to me and said, “So lets go see him.”  We hopped right in her car, prayed a rosary, and ten minutes later we were filling out the visitor form at the Nexus center preparing to go see Joseph. (aren’t the Youngs amazing!!)

I did not realize I was preparing for my heart to be changed forever. We rode the elevator up to the second floor and found his room.  The minute we walked in his mother, Terri, greeted us with a warm hug and big smiles.  Joseph is never left at the hospital alone.  Mrs. Stanton started telling us Joseph’s story and all the miracles that have occurred.  No doctor wanted to operate on him but finally a Dr. Shepherd operated on him and then the doctors that took care of his recovery were Moses and Emmanuel.  REALLY?!  The stories and miracles continue even to this day.  He woke up about half way through our visit.  Terri showed us how you can tell if he is upset or content by watching his heart rate. Joseph is unable to talk or have his eyes follow an object but you can tell he is very present. His heart rate got up pretty high so she asked if we wanted to pray.  OF COURSE!! I grabbed Joseph’s hand without even thinking and held it so tight.  Slowly his fingers wrapped around mine.  As we prayed I couldn’t help but watch as Terri caressed her sons head and held his face as I imagined Mary did at the foot of the cross.  Joseph reminded me so much of Jesus with his body so limp, broken, tired, seeming almost unresponsive but with such a strong beating heart.  I could not look at him without seeing Christ.  My heart was so moved and never wanted to let go of Joseph’s hand, of Christ’s hand.  I can’t even tell you the words we prayed.  Over an hour later, we left and headed back to the Young’s house.  I was so joyful and promised to never let another prayer request go by without fervent prayer.  Prayer changes lives!  Not only Joseph’s but the millions of people who have prayed for him including myself.  I still pray for Joseph every day and keep up with him on Terri’s blog:

www.caringbridge.org/visit/thomasjosephstanton/journal

Check out the website and pray for him!  I know our Christian family is HUGE in The Woodlands so if you are near there go visit him!  He is amazing. His heart and his families hearts will change your life. And remember to never let a prayer request pass you by!

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