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Grand Rapids, Michigan to New Mexico highway accident. Interstate 40, Santa Rosa, NM  July 9, 1996 Rehoboth Christian School, Classis Red Mesa, Cottonwood Pass family Bible conference, Zuni Christian School, Navajo Christian Reformed Churches
God with us
New Mexico, July 1996
(Page two)
This event web page is in the process of being edited.
There have been other serious accidents near our accident site.  There was a local girl's basketball team that suffered a bus roll this year which resulted in one girl with a broken neck and one fatality.  Following our accident, a Baptist singer and wife in-route to a convention flipped three times.  His wife was trapped inside the car until rescued. When we returned to walk and examine our accident site, we saw a van of 15 kids from Calvary Baptist Church involved in an accident within 1/2 mile.  That accident left all their windows broken and the kids stunned, injured, and headed to the hospital.  The local hospital began to call it a "Bermuda Triangle" for Christians going to conferences. Later we learned that another bus rolled over 4 times on this road between Albuquerque and Flagstaff. 

Where we lost control of the vehicle the pavement  is raised about 6-8"  from the soft, grass/sand right shoulder.  The  shoulder  is  steeply sloped.  LaVerne had just  shifted down going up a long hill.  She moved closer to the shoulder as a semi passed us.  She looked in the side mirror to note another semi catching up to us.  We always travel between 50 and 55 mph though the limit is closer to 75 mph.  LaVerne remembers planning to pull a little closer to the edge of the road to let the semi truck pass.  We were on a slightly downhill stretch of the highway, and she had throttled at 55. Bill had just gone to the  group in the back.  A few kids were up front resting.  Bill had driven the first hour or so and LaVerne had been driving about an hour and a half.  LaVerne had seen a rest-stop sign which she planned to check for a pit stop about five miles down the road.  LaVerne was easing over to the right side of the traffic lane for the next approaching semi-truck. Suddenly she was off the road and trying to find her way back on the pavement.  We felt this big whip, a powerful sideways force,  which must have been the rear bumper, support braces, trailer hitch and frame support structure, and the trailer tearing away. We crossed the west-bound traffic lanes toward the grass and sandy median.  LaVerne tried to direct a path away from the median, but it was too late.  As we entered it, the front left wheel dropped off a 12" ledge of pavement, and down into a soft, sandy slope. The motorhome/bus rolled onto its left side and onto its top.  LaVerne remembers hanging in her seat belt telling God "Wheels, God, we have to land on our wheels, the kids have got to get out!"  After a long moment, we completed the roll ending right side up.LaVerne can't account for why the motorhome/bus got off the road. 
LaVerne feels that God had angels with us  since there were 18 people aboard. (Bill couldn't quite comprehend the statement from a trucker who was following us and witnessed the accident. He described "God being with us! " as he witnessed the accident and then looked at the overturned
MotorHome/bus and trailer) .                                     
We know there are forces of evil at work in this world trying to stop God's work.  We know we are not powerful enough to prevail without God's spiritual help, and we know we will always have questions.  But  we have some answers, too.

We saw the united response which glorified God. We saw the reception of the Navajos to our bruised and battered kids.  We saw the constant miracles of help when we needed so much, and how so many people responded to the message that the kids brought with them . We witnessed the productive work they did at Cottonwood Pass Bible Conference.

The mission at the Bible conference was to organize a Daily Vacation Bible School for the nearly 100 Navajo children and teenagers.  Our teenagers and their 20 year old leader were there to teach.

LaVerne and Bill were to keep them fed and to provide support as needed. The fellowship at Cottonwood Pass Bible Conference was tremendous.

The teaching, preaching, music, and people from the churches at CrownPoint, Four Corners, Shiprock, Tohatchi, Rehoboth, Farmington Maranatha, Church Rock, Red Valley, and TeecNosPos were a continuous blessing.  It is a joy to do God's work and know God is with us!   

 When we  returned we spoke to many people who helped us convert the army troop carrier bus that was wrecked. 
Everyone encouraged us to build again.
     The following winter we purchased a  replacement bus and completed the conversion with help from the same people who helped on the first bus conversion.  We are  working with youth groups as before, cooking, driving, and encouraging. 


For the past 19 years we have  continued to support youth groups ... GOD WITH US. 

In 1997 we registered as a non-profit corporation with the State of Michigan, have a board of directors to give advice and direction, and have been accepted as a 501 C-3, non-profit ,Tax - Exempt entity .