The Crash that Changed Everything

 burning car

 Monday, May 4th Frydek-Mistak to Kromeriz

After an early morning breakfast, we continued our journey to the city of Kromeriz, fifty-two   kilometers to the southwest.  We spoke about the meetings of the past two days and how exciting this trip has been so far.  It began as a normal day for us, but things changed very quickly.  Fred, Vaclav, and Fritz took the lead position, with Karl and me following in Martin’s car.  As we travelled through the countryside, we saw a small plume of smoke off in the distance.  The road was lined with blossoming apple trees which somewhat obstructed our view from time to time.  Suddenly, as we came up out of a dip in the roadway, we came upon a very chaotic accident scene.  An oncoming small car had gone off the roadside to our left, and smashed into an apple tree.  The vehicle was fully-engulfed in flames, and other drivers were running from car to car, frantically trying to find anyone with a fire extinguisher.

In a matter of seconds, my eyes spotted a young boy about the age and size of our son.  Someone had already removed his burned body from the car and laid him on the grass among the apple trees.  Other witnesses said he was already dead.  There were still four adults in the burning car, two who were the boy’s mom and dad trapped in the back seat.  Vaclav pulled out the couple in the front who were both unconscious.  Karl and I tried to pull out the other couple in the back seat.  They were unconscious as well, probably due to smoke inhalation.  I grabbed the man by his arm, and as I pulled him, burned skin and some flesh pulled off in my hands.  As gruesome as it was, I was able to get him out and dragged him away from the car, laying him beside his son’s body.  Vaclav and Karl tried desperately to pull out the boy’s mom, but she was wedged and trapped between the front and back seats.  The flames and smoke were quickly filling the car’s interior as they tried one more time to free her.  Vaclav’s coat sleeves caught on fire and burned his arms quite badly, before he and Karl had to back away.  There was nothing more any of us could have done to save her.  Everyone, including us, were frantic beyond belief, as we helplessly stood by, knowing she was being consumed in the flames.  As sure as I am writing this account, the Holy Spirit spoke words I will never forget as long as I live.  He said, “Her pain will be but for a moment, but hell is for an eternity”.

Those words cut straight to my heart and caused me to realize as Christians, we have one main purpose on this earth, and that is to share the hope of the gospel with everyone as God gives us opportunity.  Since that time, I do not care if people mock me, laugh at me, or shun me for my faith.  I have stayed in the homes of many in this nation who have suffered the loss of family members, snatched away in the night, tortured, beaten, and forced to work in slave labor camps in the Soviet Union.  I am not ashamed to speak of the goodness of our God and our blessed Savior, Jesus Christ, even if it causes others with me to be embarrassed.

The police came about an hour later and told all of us to clear the area.  I can tell you, it was a very somber ride the rest of the way to Kromeriz.  We had to keep stopping because Fred could not stop vomiting from this experience.  As I write this book of journals nearly twenty years later, Fred still has nightmares about that accident.

Book Excerpt from One Life to Give-Living Water for Thirsty Souls-Chapter Two-1992  www.onelifetogivebook.com

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