“Daniel… accident!” were the only two words I understood from the choked-up voice of sister Mirtha when Lyli answered her call on speaker phone early Monday morning.

Oh Lord, I sure hope he’s not gone. I thought, fearing the worst as Lyli stepped out of the house to get better reception.

“Daniel is in custody at the police station in Orange Walk. He hit a cyclist this morning  on his way home to pick up Mirtha and the girls for school.” Lyli informed when she came back inside.

“What! Oh no! Was the cyclist killed? Is brother Daniel in jail? Does Mirtha need us to take the girls? Does she need a ride to the police station?” my questions tumbled out.

“The cyclist is unconscious in the hospital. It doesn’t look good. Mirtha is already at the station, but I told her we would come as soon as possible.”

Soon we were bouncing toward town over the potholes accompanied by clouds of dust. When we parked across the street from the precinct, I spotted brother Daniel’s Suzuki Grand Vitara. The windshield on the driver’s side was mashed into a sunken bowl of broken glass. White fracture lines extended like a spider’s web from the center of impact which was about the size of a human head.

Lord have mercy! The bike must have been knocked out from under the rider and he ended up on the hood. By the looks of it his head hit the windshield, and if he is like 98% of cyclists around here, he wasn’t wearing a helmet! I shuddered as I reconstructed the scene in my imagination.

We found the distraught sister Mirtha waiting outside the station doors with her brother-in-law. We learned that Daniel might be kept in custody up to 48 hours, and that it would depend on the cyclist’s condition as well as the results of their inspection of the vehicle whether he would face prosecution.

“He has in his favor that he stayed at the scene and tried to help the victim” one official told us. “Has anyone from your family gone to see the cyclist yet? I recommend that you do” the official continued.

Daniel’s brother and sister decided to go right away. I offered to drive them. At the hospital we spoke to the cyclist’s son. His father, 70-year-old Rafael, was in the emergency room in a coma. The family needed to transfer him to the hospital in Belize City, but at the moment there was no ambulance driver available. There wasn’t much we could do, but I asked the family if I could pray with them, and they agreed. But what to say? I prayed God would guide my words.

“Lord, I ask that if it can bring glory to Your name that You will raise up Mr. Rafael and that everyone will see that you are real, and that you are the same as the God recorded in the miracles of Your Holy Word. Be with the family, give them comfort and strength and help them to trust in You no matter what.”

After the prayer, Jesús, Daniel’s brother needed to go, so I offered to drive him back to the station where he had left his motorcycle. As we left, his sister called after us:

“Pray for Jesús too. He really needs it.”

Jesús hung his head as we continued to walk toward the truck.

“I’ve been really bad,” he confessed. “Just the other day I was telling my wife I want to change, I don’t want to keep on like this. I should go to jail, not Dan! Dan doesn’t deserve this! He is a good guy, always helping people, always strong in his faith. I saw him before he went into the station, he was so calm.” Jesús was near tears.

“Praise God for the faith your brother has. It is a gift from God, just like your desire to change and leave behind every wicked thing. God is giving you another chance to choose Him today and He wants to give you the same peace and faith your brother has.”

I suddenly remembered the one other conversation I had had with Jesús months ago at a potluck, one of maybe two times he has come to our church over the last two years. He had told me a long bitter story of slights and wrongs he had suffered from pastor’s and church members. I felt impressed to say something else.

“God longs for you to surrender all your pain and bitterness for past wrongs and fill you with the peace of forgiveness. Let’s pray for it right now, will you pray with me?”

“Please.” Jesús nodded. The Spirit of God moved powerfully during that prayer, and I realized that perhaps this would be part of the good that God would bring out of this tragedy. (Later I learned that Jesús had been so discouraged that he was contemplating suicide shortly before his brother’s accident. Please pray that God will save him and his family.)

While I was speaking to Jesús, Daniel was released by the police.

“How did the accident happen?” everyone asked him.

“The bicycle crossed the road right in front of me. There was no way to avoid him. I braked and hit the horn right away, but he was too close.”

As soon as Daniel was released, he wanted to go the hospital. Some of us weren’t so sure it was the best idea, but I could see that brother Dan felt terrible about the accident and felt he had to do this. At the hospital, the family was suspicious at first, but eventually accepted his help, just in time to transfer Mr. Rafael to the hospital in Belize City.

After several days of care, Mr. Rafael remained in a coma.

“There’s nothing more we can do” the doctors admitted.

Meanwhile, the whole church came together in earnest prayer on behalf of Rafael and his family as well as brother Daniel. I prayed specifically that God would send an Adventist brother nearby to visit and pray with Rafael and his family, and that God would raise him up in such a way that it would be clear that it was God’s work, so He would receive all the honor and glory.

On Friday the seventh, brother Daniel sent us the message.

“Brothers, thanks for all of your prayers for Mr. Rafael. God has heard our prayers. Mr. Rafael has come out of his coma and he is recuperating!”

Later I learned that God had even answered my prayer that someone would visit the family at the hospital in Belize City. I had imagined that some brother living in Belize would visit the hospital, but it was our very own members, the Bochub family who were in Belize, and stopped to visit and pray with the family right around the time that Mr. Rafael awoke from his coma. To God be the glory!

P.S. Please pray that the insurance company will respond soon and cover the medical bills for Mr. Rafael. Yesterday Mr. Rafael told Daniel that he knows that God kept him alive for a reason. Pray that he and his family will son discover what that reason is! Daniel plans to visit him again with some of the church brethren and have a worship service to praise God for his goodness and mercy. Pray that this contact will be for the eternal salvation of this precious family.


Attached is a picture of the damaged vehicle.

Kody & Lyli Kostenko

Mission stories: http://www.boliviamission.blogspot.com/ 

“There is no limit to the usefulness of the one who, putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart and lives a life wholly consecrated to God.”  {8T 19.3}