Summer 2001

Nine Lives

Let me introduce you to my little brother, Derek (he’s the one laughing). The one that, many of you have heard me say over the years, isn¹t afraid of anything. And because of his lack of fear, occasionally trouble finds him. He’s been hit, hacked, bumped, bruised, dragged, fractured, but this time, broken. And broken pretty good. In the first weekend of March, Derek and his friends decided to enjoy a little snow skiing up at Boyne Mountain in Northern Michigan.

They had been doing some helicopters (jumping and spinning) when Derek decided to jump one more time without a spin. He headed for the jump with perhaps just a little too much speed.

Derek hit the jump, accidentally tipped backwards, and got up over twelve feet in the air and flew about forty feet before coming down. When he hit, he bounced on his back, breaking his hip and shattering one of the vertebrae in his neck.

When Derek tried to get up, he could not. Here’s the part our family got excited about. At the hospital, after looking at Derek¹s X-ray, the doctor told us that over ninety nine percent of patients that have his injury are paralyzed for life. Derek has had a ton of healing to do but has shown no signs of paralysis.

But all this isn¹t really what I wanted to write about Derek (though I m grateful for what we¹re calling a miracle). What I think is so amazing about Derek is his fearlessness in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people in his life. I could tell you story after story of Derek sharing his faith with complete strangers that he meets in the process of his day.

Like the time we were in Haiti together. Derek slipped away and I didn’t know where he went. Later he told me he had stopped to buy a Pepsi. When I asked him why it took so long, he told me, “Well…….it took me a while to find an interpreter.”


“Yeah, I felt the Lord was maybe leading me to share the Gospel with a man in the store and I ended up praying with him to receive Christ.” That kind of stuff happens all the time with Derek.

In restaurant parking lots, on the side of the road and even in his hospital room, he allows the love of Christ to flow through him to impact other people’s lives. That is so cool. It is great to see the active gift of evangelism that God has placed in Derek’s life.

What are your gifts? God’s blessed each of us with unique gifts and talents. Jesus said we are going to be held accountable for the gifts we are given in this life and how we use them for His kingdom. And as you know, we don’t have nine lives–only one to put our fears behind us and serve the King.

I love you Derek – keep getting better.

Love, Brett.

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