Carl: I was on a mission trip in New Orleans from Door Creek Church with a group of people and there was also a group of people from Minnesota we had met the year before. So on the 18th was the first day we were starting to work on a house down there that would be built for unwed mothers.
The house was damaged by Katrina and all that was left of the house was the framework on the outside walls and the roof. Gary Weaver and I were working on one of the sides of the house and we were putting in some framework and stuff for the floor joists. We had finished up and there was a board I picked up to throw on a pile of old boards and Gary had walked away and then I don't remember a thing.
Gary: I had just stepped away to start cleaning up in one thing or another and I walked around to the back of the building and when the crash and the dust and everything boiled out from the building - the whole building came down - the sides pushed out and the roof fell to the ground. They counted 10-13 layers of shingles on top of this roof, so you can image the weight.
I knew immediately Carl was over there and when we went around to that side of the building, there was about this much of his arm sticking out above the wall. So we knew where he was at, and a couple of guys had grabbed 2x6's and actually was able to scoot under the wall. So that and then guys, everywhere we could get under the wall physically, there was a line of guys there, and we all lifted until somebody could pull him out and free him and get him out of there.
Karen: The reality was, that his injuries were so bad, Carl was not expected to live. He had a badly broken collarbone, five broken ribs, multiple, multiple fractures to the front and back of his pelvis, he had a damaged adrenal gland, both his lungs were punctured and badly damaged, he had damaged his gallbladder, his liver, his spleen, he had a torn urethra, he had a super-pubic cathedar in that they had told him he'd have for the rest of his life, his kidneys stopped working for seven weeks, he had radial nerve damage to his left arm, he was in bad shape.
I did not leave Carl's side. The beauty was, God had provided this perfect little couch that was exactly the right size for me to sleep on. From the very first day, I was just so positive that God's plan was for him to live. I've never felt so close to God as I did during the time when Carl was in the hospital. So I just kept telling the doctors, "God's plan is for Carl to live so you have to pull him through. That's God's plan." Our God is amazing. He is amazing and he is mighty and he is powerful. And my God could and would save my husband. But He might want their help.
During the times when Carl would have treatments or testing done and you would have to go into the waiting rooms or the hallways or things, God provided a mission field for me. It was like He was telling me, "You're here and you can't go anywhere, but I have work for you to do." I did marriage counseling and abortion counseling and I talked to people about salvation.
Carl: I found out one thing, you have to be really patient because God does His will in His own time.
Karen: Carl was in New Orleans for two and a half months and then we brought him back to Madison and he was in Select Specialty Hospital. He was in the hospital for a total of about a little over four months.
Carl: People have called me the "Miracle Man" but I'm not the miracle man - God performed a miracle on me. I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have God in my life! I doubt if I would have made it. Oh, I know I wouldn't have, because I had to rely on Him. I had no one else. I mean, Karen was there, but when you can't do anything, I mean nothing but lay there, you only have one person to look to and that's God.
Karen: I saw miracles over and over and over while I was there, and it was God. God was the miracle. Carl is the result of God's miracles.
This story, and all of our stories, are from people who call Door Creek Church their home. As you contemplate this story, may your faith be encouraged and your hope renewed. If you’d like to learn more about sharing your story, start here.