Thursday, March 15, 2007

"THAT" phone call


What changes one phone call can make. It's that one that all of us parents have heard about, but silently dread getting.

Our 20 yr. old son Dan was in Mexico with a Cedarville University missions trip. They were helping out with a week long camp for missionary kids. On Friday, March 9th, he sustained a neck injury when he attempted to do a back flip. 3 people in Puebla, Mexico saved his life: Elaine, a nurse who immediately administered mouth-to-mouth, John, a missionary who is also a paramedic [who was supposed to be out of town] who knew instantly to get his bag valve mask, and Jeremy the MIS team leader who is an EMT.

added 3/25
This weekend also gave us a visit with Cedarville U MIS team leader and friend Jeremy Hudson who was on the scene just after Dan's accident. We asked him for the whole story of ALL that went on those first critical minutes. There were a few more people involved in savinghis life. [ "THAT" phone call post has been also noted.]

  • Julie H., a mom, [Jeremy's wife], who saw Dan crumple to the ground, yelled for Jeremy to go over to him.
  • Jeremy H. [CU EMT trained] who had to determine that it was a blocked airway and impaired breathing, not a seizure. Helped bag Dan for over 1.5 hours.
  • Elaine S., OCS and camp nurse, who started mouth to mouth, [see her worshiping God comments at the bottom of 2nd Saturday Update post].
  • John S., camp missionary [MBI grad, paramedic too] who had a box of medical items on location including a mask ventilating bag and bite block to open Dan's clenched teeth. Helped bag Dan.
  • Dr. Joel S., [John's brother] who gave support.
  • Erica S., an R.N., [Dr. Joel's wife], helped monitor his vital signs and filled in as needed.
  • Joe B., missionary, who used his USA cell phone to keep us in contact with Jeremy in those first few critical hours.
  • Ed O., missionary, who called 911 and negotiate [pay before you get to go] for the ambulance to take Dan to the hospital.
We are glad that we did not know any of this story until now. We can only lift our hands to heaven in total praise and thanks to our God.

We got the phone call at 5:00 pm on Friday, March 9th, 2007, from Brian, Director of Missions Involvement Services (MIS) at CU who informed us of Dan's accident. He put us in touch with Jeremy via cell phone for constant updates. Brian got Deb and I on the next flight to Mexico City. Missionary Ed picked us up and drove the 1.5 hours to Betania Hospital in Puebla.

Dan arrived at the hospital still unconscious, but was stabilized and put on a ventilator because he was unable to breath on his own. He regained consciousness over night and was able to mouth words and thus communicate via missionary Rick who translated to doctors and nurses around him. Rick NEVER left the hospital, or us, until we were on the flight back to the states. Supported BY missionaries ... "for such a time as this".

We get choked up when thinking of God's gracious protection on Dan's life. An overwhelming blessing this morning was thinking that we still have our Dan. His injuries seem minor compared to not having him. I can not tell you how at peace we are with everything, so keep praying!

We were at Dan's side around 9 am on Saturday, and he was so glad to see us. He seemed in good spirits, and kept mouthing the words "I love you" and smiling with a grin. We just cried.

Various tests and scans performed at Betania hospital revealed that Dan fractured his C1 & C2 vertebrae and bruised his spinal cord. This bruise of the spinal cord is what is causing the inhibition of any sensory and motor function below the ear lobes. Thankfully there was no visible swelling in his brain, his vertebrae were still lined up, and his spinal cord was NOT broken. But when we heard the words " malo" from the ICU doctor and neurosurgeons, our limited Spanish told us this was not good.

On Sunday Rick mentioned various missionaries who are air evacuated to the states for medical reasons, and that started a big wheel rolling. We called Nicole, a doctor friend from our small group, who suggested we get him to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. The rest of the day was a flurry of activity for his safe transportation back to the USA.
  • acceptance from a NMH neurology doctor [received within 30 minutes of the 1st call]
  • approval to travel by the Mexico doctors
  • recommendation for travel by air ambulance doctors
  • securing a flight company, the crew and medics for spinal injury transport.
  • Mexican government and customs clearance
  • three way cell phone calls in, out and around a foreign country
  • could both Deb and I ride back, or one of us have to go back separately
World Wide Assistance, the CU insurance providers did most of the logistics, but there were also language issues that required medical translation from Rick and Jeremy. Everything got finalized about 4 pm on Sunday for all three of us at 8 am Monday. Many tears of joy were expressed by all.


RN Rose and EMT Tony arrived via Medway Air Ambulance at 10 am ["the marines have landed"], secured Dan for flight, and after a few medical delays, got him loaded in the ambulance [another story] for the half hour ride to the airport. We met Steve and Jordy, the pilots, who guaranteed that this jet could fly as fast at the big boys, were cleared by customs, loaded Dan, and off we flew. More tears of joy. Although Chicago has international airports, post 9/11 requires private jets to clear customs at the first point of entry to the USA, so we touched down in New Orleans, LA, refueled the plane, received boxed deli lunches for all, and continued on to Chicago's Midway Airport. So great to look out and see Sears Tower, and then land in front of a waiting string of commercial jets. A waiting ambulance whisked us to NMH, where the neurological team was waiting to assess Dan. He has had 7-8 medical specialists attending to his every need. God is Good.


Aunt Sue said...

Hey, Dan!
I've gotten over a dozen emails back from friends, work associates and cousins who have stopped and prayed for your recovery, from Florida to Canada, all across Southeast to South Dakota.
When we got The Call, we were in the car, coming back from Don's Ranger Graduation. I immediately thought of Moses standing at the edge of the sea, no going back, no way forward, no options. I picture him holding out his stick, having no idea what will happen... the WHOOSH! escape route! And they all get across safely, and I bet that night, around the campfire, his song-leader wrote the words to How Did Moses Cross the Red Sea, which we enjoy to this day! So I asked God to part the waters, and let you walk across. I keep you in my heart and mind, and continue to pray for your body to heal, your mind to be at ease for the duration, and hope in God. You are a terrific kid, with a strong mind and a huge heart and I am your North Carolina cheerleader!
Love always, Aunt Sue

Laura Elliott said...

Dear Dan, Debbie, and Bill,
We were in San Antonio for the weekend when we got the call from Bill. Immediately we began praying and continued to pray all weekend as we were surrounded by so many Mexican cultural reminders to pray for you. On Monday morning as I, Laura, flew back early by myself, I spend much of the flight praying for you as you were also in flight. We continued to pray as a small group that night for you and of course later in the week at a flock leader's meeting. You are being lifted up often during the day. God is faithful and will provide the grace you need for each day. We love you very much.
Laura and Matthew

Anonymous said...

Dan and Family,

We are praying daily for you. We have just been through a lengthy hospitalization with Dr. Wood and know firsthand that God's mercies are new every morning.

Dr. and Mrs. Duane Wood
Cedarville University

Nigel said...

We will all be praying for you Dan down here in Southern California. Remember ... " he is good, his steadfast love endures forever."


Hannah Haynes said...

We're all praying for you and the family! God is good and He is in control. He will get you through this!

Brittany said...

Dan and Family

Praying for you! Dan you are missed in CWI!!

Brittany Donald

Dan said...

Dan and family,

Please know that many here at Cedarville are lifting all of you up in prayer. God is faithful and He is GOOD. 1 Peter 5:7.

Lifting you up to the GREAT PHYSICIAN,

Daniel Clingan
Cedarville University

Anonymous said...

Dear Dan and family,

Thank you for setting up this blog. I'll be bookmarking it and "checking in on Dan".

Praying for you,

Mary Lynn Hartman
CU "faculty spouse"
Member at Grace Baptist, where I'm told Dan served.

Alsi said...


Praying for you down here in Mexico. I wasn't at the camp when you "flipped out" but haven't stopped praying for you since hearing. God is with you every moment and with every breath you take. We sing that but seldom reflect on the truth of it. No doubt many are reflecting on it now as you are unable to take a breath without help from a machine. Ultimately, we know it is our God who provides each breath...and we're grateful for each new one He grants.

Hold on to Jesus brother!

Alan McManus
San Juan del Río, QRO

Jacob Lightsey ( ninth grader from camp) and his family said...

Dan and Family,
We are glad to hear that you are making progress even if it's a tiny bit. God is so good. His amazing way of sustaining us through everything, it's just too good for words. Our prayers are with you all and keep hanging in there!

Anonymous said...

Our son, Samuel, was at camp the first session and had you on the red team for activities. He remembers you well. We have praying for you ever since we heard about your accident. We also have sent prayer requests on to our home church in Minnesota. We are believing God for complete healing!

In Christ,
Dan and Kelly Farr
Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca Mexico

Mary said...

Hey Dan, Debbie & Bill,
Thanks for the blog! Great way to keep informed and up to date without bugging everyone. We have been in constant prayer for all of you. I can't believe that little boy I taught in Sunday School is even old enough to do back flips! Stay strong!
Jim & Sue Bejrowski

Anonymous said...

Hey Dan and Mike,

I love you guys, and I (along with the rest of the team) am praying for you. I can't begin to relate or imagine what you are going through, but I promise to be faithful in praying you through this. It's the least I can do for couple of guys who have been so good to me.


don & gail and fam said...

Dan, Debbie & Bill,
We have not stopped praying for you as the Lord has brought you to mind and that is many, many times during the day. We will be checking this blog often as we are eager as to how our sovereign Lord is being glorified through this trial. Please, please let us know if we can do anything for you with the house while you are there. Dan, you are a living testimony of what God can do in your life. Check out this guys blog!

is a link to a page on
the World Wide Web.
And click on "watch this video". I hope it uplifs your spirit as it did ours.

Jeremy Smith said...

I am John and Linda's son and Jason's brother. I am deeply appreciative to the Cedarville team that has gone down the last seven years to do this mk camp for us. Each camp has been special to me and a real help in my walk with God. Though i am now studying at Patrick Henry College, Cedarville was my first desire of a college to attend because of the example of the students who came down for these camps.

Since i heard about the accident i have been praying and asking my wing of guys and others to pray. I don't know what God has in store, but i know His faithfulness is great!

In and for Christ,
jeremy smith

Anonymous said...

Dear Knudsen Family,

Just wanted you to know that ever since we got word of the accident, we have been lifting you all up in prayer. We've also got our church down here praying, as well as many other friends. I'm sure you've heard that alot...but I'm also sure it will never grow old.

We look forward to hearing how God chooses to show Himself strong.

In His Amazing Love,
Bob and Addie Lewis and Family
Formerly Addie Vejvoda

Amanda said...

Hey Dan,
I was at work when my dad called me to tell me what happened. I was sitting on the cell phone in the middle of the gym talking to Jen when my dad called and told me he needed to tell me something. I swithed back to Jen and told her I would have to call her back. We hung up and I went back to my dad who was waiting with the news. I have to tell you the truth when he told me I just sat there and then I started to cry. All at once every memory of us bantering and hanging at my house with the four of you and Jen and I came flooding back. I cried and once I had control of myself began to wonder how I would ever break the news to Jen. We had a night of prayer later on at the morzaks and God was honored in every word.
On Sunday morning Joe Stole spoke about when God calls you his friend. I sat their and realized that the same things that allow people to have good friendshps are true with our frinedship with God. I realized that I have not always been the kind of friend to you that I should. I sat there in chruch thinking and crying I had also been neglecting my friendship with the Lord. Dan you have been an amazing friend to me and are constantly challenging me to be a better christian...even when you are so far away.
I have recieved ample opportunities to share about you and about your Love for our God. You are spreading the word of God with out even opening your mouth. Thank you so much for being a friend to me! You are on my mind daily and in my prayers constantly.

Love Your Sister In Christ,

Karen said...


One of our dear church families has shared with our church about your accident. We are in West Virginia and praying for you. I cannot get you off of my mind and will not forget to ask God to show Himself mighty in bringing you to a complete recovery. God never sleeps. He is by your side. My own 21 year old son is on a mission trip out of the country at this very moment. Thank you for going and caring about the children in Mexico. Don't give up!

Anonymous said...

Dan and Extended Family,
Your whole family has been a testimony for the many years we have known you all. We are praying regularly for you and trusting God for His will in this situation.
Dot & Paul Blakemore
Shrewsbury, PA

Anonymous said...

Hey Dan,
We too are praying for you and your folks. We'll be watching the blog for reports of your progress. We love you.
Mike and Dori Palombi

jan said...

Dearest Knudsen family,
We are "praying without ceasing" and are so grateful for how the Lord has already performed such great miracles in bringing you to this point. Know that we love you! Dan and Mike, I have been remembering all those sweet air soft wars at our house!!! Wasn't that fun?! Prov. 3:5-6
Jan Stern

Rhonda Brase said...

Dear Bill, Deb, Dan, Jen and Mike,

Thank you for your great testimony of faith, hope and peace. You said it best, Deb, what a blessing to still have Dan with us and we rejoice with you in your special blessing. Dan, I was encouraged to hear your countenance is up and you are smiling. What a gift from God to have those people in those special places to tend to your needs. How great is our God!!! And taking breaths on your own! Hang in there, be persistent, but don't over do it. May you be strengthened by the prayers of the many lifting you up, including the Brase household during this difficult time.

Thoughtfully, with loving prayers and concern.

Rhonda Brase
Isaiah 40:31

Lori and Mark said...

Hey, Dan...
We are a family from Harvest. Lori and Jenny work at HCA with your mom and Mark's boss has known your family for a long time.
Through these connections we have been blessed to see the body of Christ "at work". (We see 3 different sets of email letters keeping everyone updated so that we can pray more specifically!)
Be encouraged by this too, brother..the body is at work on your behalf. You and your family are greatly loved and we come before the throne often in your behalf.
But all of the love you see displayed by your bothers and sisters in Christ is nothing compared to the love HE has for you. HE will sustain you...HE is your rock..Keep trusting in Him.
Mark and Lori Fisk

maughan said...

HELLO-Dan,Mike,Matt&Emily,Jen,and Bill&Deb-we continue to fervently pray for you...our small group prayed for you last night.We are praying for sleep,peace and healing.Love to you all.The Maughans

Anonymous said...

Dear Dan and family,
We don't know you, but Sara Musgrave, missionary who was at the camp is our cousin. She immediately contacted our extended family to pray. Yes, we are a praying family. I have you on several prayer chains. we will continue to pray--and watch the blog. God is so mighty. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts I have that I think toward you, says the Lord. thougths of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. So hope. And trust.
With you in Christ,
Cheryl and Warren Crouse

Anonymous said...

Dear Dan and Family,

Our daughter is a teacher at PCS in Puebla. She was at camp at the time of Dan's accident. We have spoken with her almost daily to inquire about Dan so we will know how to pray most effectively. The prayers of God people are powerful! Thank you for this blog so we and our friends can keep updated, join you in prayer and praise God for the amazing things he is doing!

Tim and Vickie Johnson
Jamestown, Ohio

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan,

You don't know me, I am Adam Merry's grandmother and friends of you parents. I am praying to our Lord that you be better soon. You stay strong and positive. God is faithful and he is good.

In Christ, Marie Pullano

Anonymous said...

Dear Dan, Debbie and Bill
We have been continually in prayer for you all. It is such an encouragement to see all the answered prayers God has given to you. The reflection of God's love for you shine through your words. Thank you for the blog so we can know what is going on so we know how we can keep praying for all of you.

Jason,Jeannine and family,

Anonymous said...

I know I don't know you, but I'm praying for you! You should watch the movie murderball, it might give you some encouragement for your future. Otherwise, keep going strong! God is amazing and He will pull you through this according to His will :)

Anonymous said...

Dan prayin for you man hope you get well!!!

Dylan Hamm

Anonymous said...

Dear Knudsen Family,

We are so thankful to find this site to be able to keep up to date. God has truly been amazing in this! The 3rd and 4th graders at FVBC are praying for all of you, as is our family. Blessings, Ian and Laurie Smith

Anonymous said...

hey dan and knudsens.
i miss you guys.
i've been trying to stay updated on everything going on even tho i'm 9 hours away. just wanted you to know, dan, i am praying, and all my friends here at school are praying for you.

i cried for a long time when i heard what happened. but i know God's got you in his hands.
i'm going to try my best to come see you when i'm in town for easter break.
hopefully i can find wherever you are. i'll be home in 2 weeks.
we're all praying for you.

-hannah vej'voda-

Jill Vande Lune said...

Hey Dan,
I just want you to know that our hearts go out to you and we are praying for you out here in California! Remember, God is so so so BIG.

Joan and John Crouse said...

Hi Dan,
Sara Musgraves is my niece. We first heard about your accident (are there any accidents in God's mind?) from Sara last Thursday. We prayed for you that night at our home Bible study. There was a couple there (Jim and Judy Austin) who have a niece going to Cedarville. She had planned on going on the trip with you, but at the last minute, found out she had no valid passport, so she didn't get to go. We are praying for you here at home and we prayed for you at Topeka Bible Church in Topeka, KS during our Adriel SS class time on Sunday March 18. We also put you on the TBC prayer card where the staff prays for each request on Tuesday morning. Our oldest son, Paul Crouse was diagnosed with Stage IIIB lung cancer two years ago. He had never smoked and most including the doctors and me thought he would be dead in a few months. He is now working full time after a rough year in 2005 with chemo and radiation. What a blessing this is. This experience has shown the real depth of our son's belief in God and really deepened our own faith. We will continue to pray for you. May God continue to bless you, encourage you and heal you and make you a blessing to others.
Love in Christ, John and Joan Crouse

Anonymous said...

Dan and the Knudsen family,

Thank you for your faithfulness through the years! Your entire family has been an inspiration to many. Hang on to Jesus through this trial! Know that you all will be lifted up often to our Creator.

Doug Krage

Anonymous said...

Pamela Brown-Bailey
To the Knudsen
My heart and prayers go out to your whole family. The Lord is the Greatest Healer of all. By His stripes we are healed.
I lived across the street from the Knudsen when I was growing up and went to school with Linda.
I live in Colorado Springs,Colorado now. I send my Love and Prayers to you all.

Anonymous said...

Pamela Brown-Bailey
To the Knudsen
My heart and prayers go out to your whole family. The Lord is the Greatest Healer of all. By His stripes we are healed.
I lived across the street from the Knudsen when I was growing up and went to school with Linda.
I live in Colorado Springs,Colorado now. I send my Love and Prayers to you all.

Jeff Hendrychs said...

Dan, Bill & Debbie,

We have been praying for you since we first heard about the accident. You are on our church's prayer chain and you can count on our people to be praying for you. Keep up the good fight, my young brother. God is glorified in our weakness, because when we're weak, He's STRONG! Be encouraged! God has big plans for you, son. Keep your eyes focused on Him. Our love and prayers are with all of you.

By the way, I'm the "young, out of shape guy" who went on the Bama' trip with your dad. He kicked my butt! I love ya "Googleman".

Your Brother,
Jeff Hendrychs
Williams Bay, WI