I was twenty-one years old, working for the Forest Service in Salmon, Idaho. August 1966. I'd had a pleasant surprise after work--my Aunt Wilma and Uncle Bill were in town and said they would take my two-year-old daughter Renae and I out for dinner. A huge treat for us--I earned enough to feed and house us with very little extra.
I gave Aunt Wilma directions to my house and told them I'd be there as soon as I could pick up Renae from the babysitter, Lana. I drove down Main Street but had difficulty turning left across traffic to get onto the side street where she lived. Traffic coming toward me had slowed to a crawl. Drivers had reduced their speed to watch a curiosity--a propane tanker truck spewing gas from a broken line.
Finally--a break in the traffic! I pulled across the street and into a parking place beside her mobile home. Renae ran out to greet me, as usual, and I picked her up. I shouted, "Come on, Lana, let's get out of here."
Lana turned to look back toward her house. Renae dropped her face to my shoulder. My back was to the V-1 Oil Station where the truck parked. Very propitious--because at that moment, the propane fumes blew up.
I think the blast knocked both Lana and I to the ground. I know I fell twice, but can't remember details. Steele Memorial Hospital was one block away and on the other side of Main Street. I ran the whole distance carrying Renae. Lana was unable to go the whole distance, and someone picked her up and carried her the rest of the way.
Our burns were extensive, and the three of us were to spend two weeks in the hospital.
One of the nurses there (at least one) knew the Lord. At that time, I didn't. I knew there was a God and His Son paid my way to heaven, but no one told me I could have a personal, one-on-one relationship with him. The only reason I knew about this nurse is because I met her again, years later, at a church camp. After someone else led me to that personal relationship.
I was so ready, those days in the hospital. I was so incredibly glad Renae, Lana, and I had lived through that blast. I must have made enough religious noises (like "Thank the good Lord we're alive) that the nurse thought I was already there.
Now I wonder how many I failed to tell since then. So now I'm telling you: Hey, people--you CAN have a personal, best friend forever, relationship with Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God. All you have to do is ask. So simple, yet so life changing.