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Our Christmas Miracle

It’s a new year and I’m with my son in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit in Santiago, Chile. Not exactly where I thought I’d start off the New Year! But I am here because of a miracle. No, not a miracle. Many, many miracles orchestrated far beforehand by an all-knowing God.

Go back to when Ammon left the USA to serve as a missionary in the southern tip of Chile, to tell the people about his faith in Jesus Christ and to share a pattern of living that would bring happiness. He received a blessing that his health would be protected.

Fast forward almost a year later to this Christmas, summer time in Chile.  Our family gathered at our home in Utah to talk to Ammon on Skype, reminiscing about family memories and laughing at inside jokes.  It was a thrill to “see” our son for the first time in almost a year, even if it was over the computer. He had a sunburned face, while we shivered in 25 degree freezing cold weather. He seemed to be doing well. I had asked about his health, and he had replied, “Don’t worry, Mom. The Lord will provide!”. He had 40 minutes to talk with us, and when the call ended, Ammon’s expression was frozen on our computer screen…

Three days later, in preparation for his workday ahead, Ammon and another missionary went jogging together in the remote island of Chiloe, where Ammon had been assigned just 8 days earlier.  The village is progressing and a hospital was built there just four years ago.  Ammon loves to run and was usually way out ahead but on this run, he began lagging behind, even slowed to a walk. His companion turned around just at the moment that he dramatically, almost in slow motion, collapsed to the ground. He thought Ammon was teasing him. Then he realized the awful truth. This was for real. Ammon’s companion raced back and held him in his arms as he went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing.  A Chilean woman whose daughter was being taught by the missionaries happened to be walking on the other side of the street and saw my son collapse.  She had a cell phone and called the ambulance which arrived only 3 minutes later, a miracle that they are still discussing in a community of people who know the ambulance takes 20 minutes to arrive!

The ambulance crew resuscitated Ammon and headed for the hospital, when his heart arrested again and his breathing stopped. His companions arrived by taxi and rushed in to hear the doctor repeating, “No responde!  No responde!” Distraught, his companions gave him a healing blessing.  Suddenly,  he began to move!  A breathing tube kept him alive during the next few days and eventually through a life flight via “air ambulance” to the modern hospital in Santiago, the second best in South America. We reunited with him on Christmas morning, after 24 hours of harrowing worry,  travel, praying, and no sleep, changing planes in Houston and Panama City.

There were no glittery packages, no carols and no decorated tree, but it was the very best Christmas gift we could ever ask for!  Our son is alive!  God works miracles!  Hallelujah!

It was touch-and-go for days but finally Ammon is recovering, talking and laughing again!  He is still plugged into monitors and the doctors are still puzzling at what caused a young, strong youth of just 20 years to suffer Sudden Death Syndrome.  My husband and I wake up at dawn every morning and race to the hospital in a Chilean taxi (which is a dangerous journey!) and we spend the day helping Ammon to heal.  We return to our borrowed apartment (via a generous American who has a second home in Chile) to prepare our dinner at 11 PM and drop exhausted into bed.  We are so happy! What more could any parent ask than that their child be restored to life?

I believe in miracles!  I do! We have seen more than I can enumerate.  But just a few:

*we got passports renewed just a few months before, which enabled us to travel to Chile.  Without passports, our son would have been without parents during this crisis.

*I had a book tucked into my bag unknowingly entitled Faith Unpuzzled containing scriptures on having faith.  It gave me enormous comfort during that first long week in the hospital.

*God literally held a plane for us, far past its departure time, on our connecting flight to Panama City late on Christmas Eve.  Had we missed that flight, it would have been a long, long time until we would have arrived in Santiago, due to the Christmas rush.  We did everything in our power, and we ran, and we prayed and we exercised our faith as powerfully as we could . . . and God stopped the plane.  I know He did!  We were the very last passengers before the door was shut on a very delayed take-off.

What a wonderful perspective change a crisis brings! Family unity, love, kindness . . . these matter. There are so many things daily that we worry ourselves over that don’t matter much. I am learning so much, and I am so grateful!  The very best gifts don’t come in pretty packages under the tree. If your child is breathing, and his heart is beating, rejoice!  All is right!

“…whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ, it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth…”







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