Friday, January 28, 2005

As we've noted many times before, spending time in Cambodia is an exercise in utilizing 'Plan B.' Still, it's stressful when things don't go according to plan. But God is good, and He's protecting us and our friends here.

About two hours ago, we finished a time of prayer and encouragement at one of the student centers. Dr. John was heading off to visit one of the students who had just had an operation, and I was driving Tim and Carol back to the guest house. Tim and Carol were planning on having dinner together, and John and I had hoped to get away to talk Asia's Hope business over a meal at the Foreign Correspondent's Club.

Due to my unfamiliarity with the neighborhood, Seda, one of our students (and one of my favorite kids in Cambodia) offered to ride ahead of us on her moto until we reached Mao Tse Tong Boulevard, a main thouroghfare familiar to us all. She pulled out a few car lengths ahead of us and made the turn from the student center's dirt road into heavy traffic. She slowed down so that she wouldn't lose her. This annoyed one of the other drivers, who swerved to hit her motorbike. She went down, taking another moto with her.

It all happened so fast -- I didn't even see her fall. I was paying attention to all the cars around our vehicle, and when I looked ahead, I saw her crumpled body on the ground, and saw her bike on top of her. I slammed on the brakes, left the truck in the middle of the road, and jumped out of the car, rushing towards her. Thankfully, Dr. John happened to be in the immediate vicinity with some of the boys from the center.

Within a few seconds, a large crowd of shouting and gesticulating pedestrians had gathered, and swarmed around Seda. John, Tim, Carol and I pushed through the crowd, and the passersby away from her. I shouted, "Doctor! He's a doctor!" and Tim deftly intercepted a police officer who wanted us to move Seda out of the street. With the help of the boys, who translated for us, we made it clear that no one was going to move her until John could assess her.

At first, she didn't move, and appeared to be unconscious. The visor on her helmet was cracked, and her arm was bleeding. John and Carol seemed to have things under control, so I picked her bike up, and rolled it over to one of her friends, a boy named Kim. I decided to move the truck to the side of the road, but as began to walk away, I noticed that a police officer had grabbed Kim by the shirt and was leading him off. Apparently, he thought Kim was trying to steal the bike.

Two of the other boys explained what was happening to the officer, and he released Kim. I gave the keys to Tim, and stayed to guard Seda's bike. Kim returned, and I asked him to take the bike back to the center. We helped Seda into the truck and returned with her to our guest house, where she is sleeping under the supervision of Carol, who happens to be an RN.

Needless to say, our plans for the evening have gone out the window. Seda appears to be fine. She's a little scraped up, and is a bit woozy and forgetful. We're going to keep her overnight for observation and evaluate her condition in the morning. Please pray for her.

Thank God that she was wearing a helmet. Thank God that we were right behind her. Thank God that we had a doctor and nurse with us.

Life is so fragile here in Cambodia, and constant danger surrounds our brothers and sisters. Most Cambodians cannot afford decent medical care and are one small accident away from abject poverty or death. This episode underscores the importance of our medical missions to this country. Please pray that God will use you to provide funds for a small clinic we would like to construct in Phnom Penh.

I hope my post has made some sense -- I'm a little incoherent right now. It's been a stressful day.


erica said...


I have prayed as soon as I read your post and am praying.
Praying, Praying, Praying.


Karen said...

i will be praying for her. i'm glad she seems to be okay. please keep us updated.

Joy Coleman said...

John--I too am praying and began praying as soon as I read this. I pray that Seda remains to recover fully and that through this experience she feels intensely the intimacy of Jesus protecting her so closely. I am thankful that you guys were there as well as a doctor too. I am also thankful that she is safe within the care of the facilities you guys have there....we will be praying for her continued recovery and for the continued and increased blessing over the work you are doing there. God is good.