My good friend, Henry Newell, is quite an inspiration. Instead of being embittered against God, he has spent his life telling others of God's love, mercy, grace and miraculous deeds. Here is Henry's story that he typed all by himself: If you have a prayer request, Henry has a great prayer chain going on his Facebook page where there has been many answers to prayer.
SEPTEMBER 16, 1972 is a day that I will relive for the rest of my life. It happened at the Withlacoochee River in Florida, about two miles from my house. It was around 2:30 in the afternoon and I was 14 years old. I had snuck away from the house on my bicycle when I was told I could not to go swimming that day. I met two of my friends on the way to the river as planned, where we had swam many times before. If only I had known what was going to happen that day, I would never have gone! When we got there, there was a man, his wife, and their two daughters swimming. We put our bicycles down, took our shirts and jeans off that we wore over our swimming trunks, and headed down to the river edge and dove in. The water was cool and the current was flowing as usual. We swam back to the river bank and got out of the water. We decided to climb a tree which leaned over the water. We had dove out of that tree many times in the past. I was the first to climb the tree and dive into the water, followed by my friends. We all swam back to the bank and got out. We climbed the tree again but this time we did a canon ball, swam back, got out again. Then one of my friends asked the other if he wanted to dive off his shoulders. He said yes, so he squatted to let him get on his shoulders and then stood up so he could dive into the river. After he dove in he swam back and as he was getting out he slipped back into water because the bank was getting very slippery. I ran and did a cannon ball again off the bank and as I was getting out, I too noticed that it was not so easy. I slipped a few times before I was finally able to climb back up on the bank. The wet clay was sticking to my feet so I rubbed my feet on the ground and remove most of it. My friend asked if I wanted to dive off of his shoulders and I said, “Sure, why not”. So as he squatted down I climbed onto his shoulders and then he stood up so I could dive into the water. Just as I was ready to dive, IT HAPPENED!! My right foot slipped off his shoulder and I fell straight down on top of my head and rolled off into the water. I knew immediately that something was wrong. First of all, there was a tingling sensation all over my body, as though a thousand needles were sticking me! Secondly, I could not move anything. I tried so hard, but nothing would move. I KNEW I WAS IN TROUBLE. My body was not responding no matter what I tried. I was in the fetal position (where your arms and knees are drawn up to your chest), floating face down in the water, drifting with the current. I could not see anything but the black water as the river towed me further and further away! You cannot imagine everything that was running through my mind all at the same time! But the main thing that I was thinking was, “I NEED TO BREATHE!” All of my thoughts changed from what was wrong with me to, “I am going to drown if I do not breathe NOW!!!” I could not hold my breath any longer (your body will take a breath whether you want to or not, IN or out of water). I knew that if took a breath my lungs would fill up with water, but I HAD TO BREATH!! I was so terrified by now because I just knew I was going to DIE!! Just as my body forced me to take a breath, which would have been nothing but water, my friend grabbed me and turned me over. I was finally able to take a breath of air, which felt like I had waited an eternity for! My friend swam back, with me in tow, to where my other friend was waiting to help pull me out of river that had almost taken my life!!! The family that was there swimming took me to the nearest hospital where they said I was now a quadriplegic (you are paralyzed from the neck down and can not feel nothing) and would never walk AGAIN!! That was 37 years ago and I have lived longer than the doctors told me I would. Thank you for taking the time to read this. God Bless. Henry
A Gift for Henry…
Henry awakened with a start, his heart pounding and looked around. For a few seconds all he could do was to stare at the vista which greeted his eyes and then it hit him like a ton a bricks…he was sitting up for the first time by himself since the accident. He opened and shut his eyes slowly several times, the amazing view never changing and then slowly, as if he were afraid he would shatter and break like glass, he bent his neck down and looked at his lower half. Instead of thin, atrophied legs that ignored all of his mind’s commands, there were two tanned and muscular limbs. Holding his breath…he did something he hadn’t been able to do in decades…he wiggled his toes.
A shout of pure joy issued from his mouth, so loud it even scared himself. “YAHOOOOOO!” Then he did something else he hadn’t done in years…he pinched himself… as hard as he could, right above the hips in the “tickle spot” and practically doubled over with mixed joy and disbelief.
If you would like to read the rest of Henry's wish fulfillment story, as well as that of 34 other people, it is in my book, "Make a Wish".