Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sara’s Story

From the July Edition of Disciples Together Express

By Rev. Sara Galindo, Drake Avenue CC, Centerville

What does it mean to be Disciples Together? Just ask the folks at Drake Avenue CC in Centerville, IA or ask me. We have experienced the power of being surrounded by our church family, a family that extends far beyond the local congregation. As many of you know, on Jan. 28,, 2013 I was on my way to the annual Minister’s Institute at the Newton, IA camp and conference center. The last clear memory I have is leaving Centerville Mercy Hospital after a quick visit with a patient. Apparently there was heavy fog on the road and I missed a turn near Knoxville and suffered critical injuries in the accident. From that point memories and dreams are blended and confused as I spent over 40 days in hospitals, mostly in critical care. My injuries included two fractures to the spine, numerous broken ribs, a collapsed lung, bruised kidney, and large gash in the head that caused traumatic brain injury. I underwent two brain surgeries and a procedure to relieve edema that swelled my body with 80 liters of extra fluid. My next clear thoughts after the accident came on March 14th when I arrived at the MadonnaRehabilitationHospital in Lincoln, Nebraska for the second time. I was weak and still had a gastric tube and a tracheotomy, but I was finally alert and coherent. Two and one half weeks later I was a walking miracle, able to leave Madonna and return to care for myself in my apartment. The first week in June I formally returned to work part time as the pastor of the Drake Avenue Christian Church.

My recovery and the sustained ministry of Drake Ave. CC are a testimony to the power of prayer, and to the love and support that is provided by a church family! I want to thank everyone who prayed, visited, sent cards, letters, emails, and gifts, members of my church and countless members of the community of faith that stretched literally around the globe. Thank you to individuals, groups and churches for the financial support given to the church, to myself and to my family. And I must include a special thank you to my family for their care and support, especially my sister Juanita who was by my side during so much and who had to make decisions no family member ever wants to face. I know there are many more who deserve special thanks, forgive me if for not listing you all here but there is not room or time to name everyone. Please know that you are all loved and appreciated.

The support given on my behalf is a testimony to what it means to be church family, to be Disciples Together. I believe that the prayers and love not only sustained me but that through them our creator enabled the many care providers and myself with the needed materials to weave my broken body back together. I know that my family members could not have made the many trips between Washington state and Iowa that they needed to make in order to care for me without the outpouring of love and support they received. When I finally was fully awake one of the first things I was told was “don’t worry about your job. All your benefits are being paid, your bills are being handled and your job is waiting for you when you are ready to come back.” Wow! Talk about amazing, answered prayer! And our region was an incredible part of that answer. With the support of our Disciples family DACC was able to pay for pulpit supply, carry on the ministries of the church, and continue to keep their injured pastor employed.

Today I am feeling wonderful! There are still doctor visits and therapy as I continue to strengthen and recover. But I am back in the pulpit and beginning to resume my regular duties. It feels great to get back to a routine and to be involved in both the congregation and community once again. We have visited at church about the power of prayer, the meaning of miracles, and the loving grace of God. It would be presumptuous to attempt to explain how or even why my recovery has been so rapid and complete. What I do know, beyond any doubt, is that I was upheld and strengthened by your love, prayers and support. I know that prayer gave me strength to take the first shaky steps in therapy after more than 40 days of hospitalization. The overwhelming number of cards, notes, emails, phone calls, visits and gifts gave me smiles and hope no matter how hard the work was. I know that our family of Disciples gave the Drake Ave. congregation the strength and hope to carry on, believing that our ministry together was not yet complete.

This is why we need the church. Many have claimed that they can know God without it, that they can study scripture and follow the teaching of Jesus without it. It’s true, we can. But none of us is strong enough to face the real tragedies and trials alone, and we don’t have to. That’s what family is for. The church, local and extended, is a family that can lift us up and support us when we are troubled. The church family can celebrate with us and share our joys great and small. That is why we are at our best when we are Disciples Together. It is my honor to number all of you among my church family. I look forward to seeing you around the region in the days and months to come, and I invite you to stop by Centerville and visit. As the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 1.16, “I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.”

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