Church Group Helps Family Triumph After TragedyJulie Smith
A tragic event one summer day changed everything for a mother, her son, and his friend. The mother tells her story like this:
June 6, 2020 is a date my family and I will never forget. I was driving my 14-year-old son and his friend home from a birthday party when a car pulled up next to us at a red light. All of a sudden, shots starting firing into our vehicle from the passenger side. All I could see was gunfire and glass shattering. My son was silent as I yelled out to him and his friend in the backseat. I knew I had to get out of there as quickly as possible.
Scared to death, I slammed on the gas pedal and raced to the hospital at 90+ mph. I tried to talk to the boys as I drove – the hospital was only three minutes away, but it felt like forever. I pulled up to the emergency room honking my horn continuously until security came running out with other staff members to help us. Up until that point, I hadn’t realized I had been shot.
My son’s friend was shot multiple times but was able to recover and walk again over time. Sadly, my son was also shot multiple times, paralyzing him from the chest down. Because of his injuries, he goes to therapy six hours a day, four days a week. He is unable to do things without help, such as bathing and using the restroom. He attended school online during COVID, but now he fears where we live and the thought of resuming school in-person.
Three months prior to the shooting, I had given birth to a premature baby girl who needed to be hospitalized in the NICU. The day after we were shot, my baby girl was discharged from the hospital. The stress of caring for my newborn while my son was hospitalized for gunshot wounds was a lot to handle. I had to quit my job that I loved so much to stay at home and take care of my son. The shooting totaled my car, so family members let me borrow theirs to get my son and newborn baby to appointments and therapies. I have no idea why we were targeted, but I thank God for the family support we had during this extremely challenging time.
A request for a new vehicle for this mom was entered into CarePortal, and Neighbors Who Care (NWC) responded with a desire to help. NWC is a partnership between Pastor Don Lewis and New Life City Church that works to see the blighted urban communities of Kansas City transformed into communities where families will flourish, schools will achieve, people will be safe, churches will honor God and fathers will stand tall as men of integrity.
It took a few months, but eventually a member of the church reached out saying he was getting a new vehicle and wanted to know if there was a need for his old one. The prospect of finally being able to tell this mother that there was a vehicle for her that could alleviate a huge burden off her shoulders was almost within reach.
In God’s perfect providence, a church member joined the NWC team who had extensive knowledge of vehicles and a flexible schedule that allowed him to take care of all needed repairs on the 2013 Ford Focus in around a month’s time for just over $400. He also took care of getting the new title, changing the oil, and filling up the tank before handing it off. Other NWC volunteers generously donated their time to make sure the vehicle was cleaned really well.
When NWC contacted the mother to deliver the good news, she was in tears. It took several tries to get a delivery date on the calendar, but in God’s perfect timing and without even realizing it, the team scheduled to present the vehicle to her on the one-year anniversary of the accident.
Mom was praising Jesus as Pastor Don pulled up in the vehicle. She ran down the front steps and immediately got in, checking out the interior, trunk, and outside. Her son wasn’t home at the time, but mom shared how his friends have stuck by his side. Many are big football players who pick him up out of his wheelchair and move him around wherever needed. At the end of the visit, Pastor Don prayed, and everyone thanked God for this wonderful blessing.
Is your church ready to respond to real-time needs of children and families in your community? Visit CarePortal.org to enroll your church and respond to open requests today!