Strength From Tragedy

Strength From Tragedy

By: Brandy Campbell, with Edwin Mendivelso in Columbia   |   Posted: October 23, 2008

Boy's Terrible Accident Shows a Family God's Provision
After he was hit by a bus, Juan thought he would never enjoy soccer again. But today, even from a wheelchair, he hasn't lost his love of the game.

Angela  was washing dishes when the child arrived at her door, gasping for breath. "It's Juan," the little girl panted. "He got hurt."

Angela felt a cold sweat prickle across her neck. She grabbed the shoulders of the red-faced girl standing before her.

"What happened?" she pleaded. "Where is he?"

"He got hurt when we were playing soccer," the girl explained. "The ambulance came and got him."

As Angela set off down the street, she tried to convince herself that her son Juan had only sprained his ankle, perhaps even broken his arm. But the look on that little girl's panicked face told her more, and terror clutched her heart.

What she couldn't know then was that her son's accident would be a test of faith or that throughout the next four years, God would show His care through Compassion.


At the hospital, Angela discovered that Juan's "soccer" accident actually involved the 7-year-old running into the street after a stray soccer ball, where he was struck by a bus.

As Angela stared down at her bloody and broken little boy, she felt sobs building in her throat.

"Please, let him live," she whispered as she rubbed a small spot on his arm, the only spot not covered in bandages and wires. "Don't take him from me."

For the next 15 days, Juan remained in the intensive care unit.

Angela was overwhelmed and exhausted as the doctors explained Juan's condition. "Paralyzed" and "paraplegic" were words she never thought she'd hear about her active, athletic son.

How could it be possible that he would never walk again?

While Juan was still in the hospital, staff from the Compassion Child Development Center (CO-158) began visiting every day.

Some simply sat at Juan's bedside, holding his hand and praying for his recovery. Others spoke with Angela, helping her make arrangements for when Juan was released from the hospital.


When Juan finally came home from the hospital, he was confined to a wheelchair. When Angela lifted her son, she struggled under his weight.

Juan's arms and legs hung limply as she fed and bathed him. Her husband could not take time off of work, so Angela became Juan's round-the-clock caregiver.

She felt she was drowning. But each week, just when Angela says she was at her breaking point, a visitor from the center would come by to help.

"That's how I knew that God was still watching over us that He hadn't forgotten our family," says Angela.

Thanks to the monthly support of Juan's sponsors, Chris and Barb, he began attending a rehabilitation school where a therapist still works with him twice a week.

In three years, Juan had regained much of his speech, and he had even learned to use his right hand for small tasks like brushing his hair and turning the pages in a book.


Juan is now 11 years old. He still loves soccer; posters and pennants paper his bedroom walls. He has not given up on his goals -- he has just shifted them slightly. One of his dreams is to be on the Special Olympics soccer team. He works hard at his therapy.

Juan visits the Compassion center every week. He can usually be found with a crowd of boys, discussing the latest soccer scores.

When not cheering for his favorite team on the recreation field, Juan can be found leading his peers in devotion time.

He is known for ending his prayers with the verse that he says now defines his life:

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13, NKJV).

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