Broken, yet made whole

While I posted the video clip from Easter, I also wanted to share in writing about the life changing situation our family has gone through over the past couple months.

On February 21st I was involved in a car accident with my Haitian brother Anderson, in Petit Goave, Haiti. As a result, I ended up being evacuated to West Palm Beach, FL, where I underwent 4 surgeries.

First, the trauma team had to clean an infection from a large laceration under my chin. Then, two surgeries helped rebuild my eye sockets, nose, and jaw, as I had completely broken my face. Next, a 4th surgery was done to repair my left forearm. Additional, “self-healing” injuries included 4 fractures in my spinal column, a broken bone in my left ear, a punctured right ear drum, and a probable torn rotator cuff.

Despite everything, God has been so, so good to our whole family, and especially in moving my healing along quickly. I am much further along than any doctor, nurse, or therapist has expected. A couple weeks ago., they finally opened my mouth which had been wired shut for weeks. I still need another surgery to remove the remaining wires from my mouth, but that, along with occupational therapy and most other follow up, has been postponed due to Covid-19.

This picture was taken a few days after my discharge, and a few days before the beaches were shut down due to Covid-19.

Hopefully, tomorrow’s spinal appointment will see me cleared for lifting/working again, then my only remaining issues are the wires in my mouth and some hearing loss. Beyond that, I am in a range where exercise/therapy should see me recover nearly fully.

Looking at my injuries in a list, it is obvious how easily God could have brought me home that day, but He decided to showcase His splendor in a different way.

I think the craziest part of this whole experience is that, in the end, I don’t remember pain, only the ways that God took care of myself and my family. Altogether, this accident has been a testament to the love of the family of God, and how He used His children to pour out that immeasurable love on our family in our time of need. He started immediately after the accident, as I received help from a bystander that I didn’t know. Then, word got to my dear friend, Pastor Lex, as the accident occurred “near” his mission. Honestly, the only thing I remember prior to the hospital is hearing his voice saying “Travis, it’s Pastor Lex, I’ve got you.” And to me, those words were words straight from God to me. I knew in that moment that not only Lex had me, but God saw my situation and would walk through it with me. Everything would be ok. I was overwhelmed with peace in the midst of chaos.

Once we got to the hospital, another dear brother was there. Eric Lotz had heard I was in an accident, but no more details. He simply headed to the best hospital in Port Au Prince, and searched for me until he found me. He and Lex took care of me, paying for treatment for Anderson and I, which in Haiti has to be paid up front or they won’t do anything. Eric didn’t leave my side until I was on the airport tarmac, being lifted onto the air ambulance. His voice is my only other memory of that day. I knew he was there, and, again, I knew that meant HE was taking care of me. 

At the same time, God was using his other children to take care of my family. Chase and Kimmey, our fellow Jacmel missionaries, took in my wife and kids for the night, so they could have functioning internet, and help in coordinating how to reunite our family. Our dear friend, Gala, was also driving Jamie everywhere she needed to go to get ready for whatever would come next.  

By Saturday morning, Jamie and Gala had managed to catch a small charter flight to Port au Prince and almost as soon as they got to the hospital and were brought up to speed on my status, arrangements started to be made to med-evac me to Florida. At one point they were trying to figure out how we would get our children to the U.S since air ambulances generally only allow one passenger to accompany the patient (which would have been Jamie), but when the company we were working with heard about our dilemma, they immediately said that our family should stay together and as long as the kids could make it to Port au Prince in time for the mec vac flight, that they would allow them to travel with us. Once again, God in His grace provided a way. 

Once in the U.S, the ambulance brought me to St. Mary’s Hospital in West Palm Beach, which was only 20 minutes from an apartment that Jamie’s aunt and uncle had available for our use. Another way God perfectly orchestrated the details.

Since then, God has overwhelmed us with support from friends and family, near and far, old and new. Here in Florida, we have been blessed to find a community of believers, including a great church that welcomed us as family. God provided clothes, food, transportation, and even toys for our kids through His family here and through the mail. I can’t count how many of you have reached out to us with prayers, finances, and so many other ways of support. We love you.

Altogether, this accident has proven to me the words of Christ in John 13:34-35
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

God’s family has poured out His love on us in extraordinary ways, from all over the world, Haiti to Malaysia, Uganda to Finland, and all over North America. People I have never met seized this opportunity to reach out in prayer and offer support. He truly connects us all, and it shows a tremendous power and love that we can all lean on in times of need. 

I want to encourage each of you in this time of uncertainty. Just as God walked with me through this incident, He is with each of you now. If you have a need, cry out to Him, and don’t be surprised if He answers in unexpected ways, rallying His children to your aid, even ones you don’t know or haven’t seen in decades.

Continued Prayers

Moving forward, please continue to pray for my family. My body is healing well, but this has taken an emotional toll on us all, and with the virus rolling in during my recovery, I’m not sure it has fully hit any of us yet. We also need to figure out our next steps, as we cannot return to Haiti yet due to Covid-19, even if I was fully recovered.

Please pray for Anderson as well. Thankfully he did not need any surgery and was discharged from the hospital only a few days after I was flown to the U.S, but he still has a ways to go, as he has injuries to his shoulder and foot. He was scheduled for therapy sessions and an appointment with a visiting orthopedic doctor this week, both of which have been cancelled by Corona virus, so please pray for his healing, as it is now in God’s hands since he, like me, falls into the non-emergency category of care now.

And on that note, please pray for the country of Haiti. Our team is scared, as there is insufficient healthcare on a good day in Haiti, combined with worse “fake news” than you can imagine, such as superstitious remedies floating around or rumours that the whole virus is a hoax. Pray that God would move in a mighty way, protecting the people of Haiti from an outbreak, and showing that He is the one in power, not any voodoo spirits they try to call upon. If sickness hits, pray that there would be believers raised up to heal the sick in the Name of Jesus Christ. I have said over the past year that He is their only hope as a nation for political reasons, now He is their only hope for health and safety as well. May He do great things in this time of crisis.

Thanks again, to all of  you. For your support, prayers and encouragement. It has meant more than you know.Please check out the video posted below for the testimony I was blessed to share at Wellspring Church, here in Florida, and be on the lookout for us to post more services from Wellspring, where we have found a “home” here, and you may even catch Jamie and I leading worship sometimes, as we did on April 26th.

With much love, Travis, Jamie, Mara and Aiden. 

Resurrection Sunday with guest speaker Travis Knipple! #sundayiscoming

Posted by Wellspring Church on Sunday, April 12, 2020
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