Day 7 didn't quite go as planned. It was supposed to be a total "play in water" day with lots of swimming in beautiful clear waters and playing on white sand beaches.
We started the morning by going to a great snorkeling place. We rented snorkeling masks and some flippers. Tied Gilby up to a coral reef thingee and got wet.
Tiffany and Rebecca took off to go snorkeling, while I gave my students quick lessons on spitting into the mask to clean it and on breathing through your mouth while floating in the water. They tried for awhile, and I went to check on Tiff and Becka.
The water was mostly shallow, but there was this 3-4 meter space that was a little deep--maybe 10 or 12 feet deep, and then it got shallow again. My students got to that part and tried to decide how to best cross. They had told me they were all swimmers but didn't feel confident in their swimming ability--most pools in Taiwan are no more than 4 feet deep, so "swimmers" can stand up at anytime.
I helped one across with her holding onto my ankle, and thought the others were going to go rent some life jackets. I hadn't seen Tiff and Becka in awhile--coral reef rocks blocked my view. So, I went to go check on them while my students went to go get life jackets.
Tiffany and Becka were fine and having fun, so I headed back to where my students would be. I heard one of them scream my name, so I started to swim a little faster. As I rounded the coral rock that blocked my view of where they were, I saw one of my students floating bottom up in the water far away from the other girls.
All I saw where Judy's pink shorts bobbing in the water--an image I will never, ever forget.
Panic flooded my heart. Adrenaline flooded my bloodstream. And, I swam as quickly as I could to get to her.
After I got to her, I pulled her back across the gap until I could stand, flipped her over, and started breathing into her mouth. As I started to breathe for her, I realized all color had left her face except for her purple lips and that her eyes had rolled into the back of her head.
At this point, I thought she was gone, and the first thing I thought was "she is not a Believer yet. Don't let her die!" Then, I screamed "NO!" from the depth of my gut as I silently started to pray, pinched her nose and started to breathe into her again.
All kinds of images and thoughts flooded my head in rapid succession, but I continued to breathe for her as we slowly dragged her up until the water was much more shallow, and we could lay her on the ground. The other students had yelled for help and a nearby snorkeling guide came over to give us instructions. At about the same time, Judy started breathing for herself! Praise the Lord!!
Within about 10 min she threw up, and I felt much more relived. We finally got her sitting up, but her eyes kept rolling back into her head. Every time this happened, my heart fluttered and I told her "Don't go to sleep, Judy. Come back to me. Stay awake." Her eyes would come back, and she would stare at me.
Eventually, we got her to an ambulance and off to the hospital. Two of the other girls went with her. This left me, Tiffany, Rebecca, and two of my students--I pulled us into a circle and started to pray aloud for Judy. For about ten minutes I was shaky and could do nothing--the adrenaline rush was over.
Later that day, when I had taken Tiffany and Becka to go eat lunch, I called to check on Judy. She answered the phone with "thank you for praying for me"--not "thank you for saving me." I smiled. I loved that she knew it was the power of prayer that had saved her. I loved that her friends had told her that I was praying and had missionary friends praying for her too.
After she had been released from the little town hospital, we were all sitting around waiting for the taxi-van back to Kaohsiung. We sat and talked about God's love, God's grace, God's power--His miracle saving power. One of the girls said, "I didn't think I would ever see you again. It really is a miracle that you are sitting here with us this afternoon." Judy, an idol worshiper, told us it was the Christian God who saved her because she had a Christian friend who told her a long time ago that she was praying for her each day.
When we got back to Kaohsiung, I convinced Judy to go to a better hospital to be checked again. She was admitted for two nights to watch for signs of fever and other complications from "near-drowning." However, she was fine. Again, praise the Lord!!
When I think back on that day, I can't but be amazed about how great God is. The timing was perfect. Had I been there earlier when she was fighting to survive--I might not been able to save her. Had I been there any later--she might not have made it. The fact that I had my wits about me and peace in the midst of it all is miraculous. The fact that CPR in the water worked is miraculous. The fact that I could even remember how to do CPR after learning how ten years ago is miraculous.
Yes, day 7 was nothing short of a miracle. Please pray for Judy and her friends. I can just envision this being something that God will use to draw many, many to Himself. And, I can't wait to see how!!