Jeffrey E Dobbins
I was graciously saved at the age of 20 at Oakdale Baptist Church in Townville South Carolina. For years I struggled with assurance of my salvation. I made a profession of salvation when I was a young boy but evidence from my actions during adolescence and teen years dictated otherwise. As I sat under the preaching of Pastor David Blizzard at Oakdale, I realized there were too many unanswered questions and unholy actions for me to have genuinely been saved. On May 18, 1994 I talked with Assistant Pastor David Walters about my uncertainty. He told me a story about a young man, who had the same questions as I, who went out behind is barn, drove a stake in the ground and decided that day to trust Jesus. Every time the devil made him question he went back to that stake as a reminder of his commitment to Christ. That Wednesday night I did the same and Jesus graciously saved me. He gave me a peace and love for souls that night that I had never had before. Praise God for saving a worthless sinner like me!
On September 11, 2004 my wife, Kim, and I were traveling along I85 south bound, coming back from picking up a load of hay. As we started down a steep grade the trailer started to fish tail a little. As I tried to straighten the trailer out it was losing bales of hay and getting lighter and going faster and more out of control. Soon we lost control and the truck hit a guard rail and flipped and the trailer curled around to land on the passenger side just above my wife’s head. Little did I know the cab of the truck was crushed by the trailer forcing my wife’s head down and fusing her C6 and C7 vertebra together. Her spine had not been severed but had to conform to a Z shape and was seriously damaged. She was air lifted to Greenville Hospital Systems in Greenville, South Carolina and I walked away with just a few bruises and a bunch of glass in my hair.
Little did we know this incident would change our life forever. Kim spent 2 weeks in ICU at Greenville, SC before being transferred to the Shepherd Center for 3 months of therapy. Kim had sustained a spinal cord injury that left her paralyzed from her mid chest down.
While in the ICU at Greenville, SC Kim had to wear a “halo” to try and pull her neck back straight. This “halo” was screwed into her skull just above both her ears. It had a cord run through a pulley at the head of her bed with 20 pounds of weights suspended. This was excruciatingly painful. Worse than that one night they tried to add more weight because the “halo” was not working. The screws in her skull couldn’t hold and ripped out from the weight. I remember calling all the people in the waiting room together that night and having a special prayer meeting. How the Holy Spirit fell in the midst of a bunch of hurting people that night! The neurosurgeon decided to operate and during the 8 hour surgery he had to stand on the operating table and pull with all his might to separate the bones in her neck that had fused.
After fighting for her life for two weeks, she stabilized enough to be transported by ambulance to Atlanta. One of the top neurosurgeons in the country, Dr. Murray, did a second surgery on Kim’s neck to put plates in so the bones wouldn’t shift over time. He also sat down with us for a very candid and informative meeting. He informed us that Kim would never walk again nor have use of her hands or any function below mid chest. Within 2 days of this surgery Kim was sitting up in a wheelchair and we were learning how to live again. Kim’s mother helped out tremendously during this time. Because of her help and determination, Kim was never alone while in the hospital and therapy. Through much pain and agony Kim got stronger and stronger and eventually we gained enough understanding of her needs to bring her home. This was just the beginning of a long and painful recovery.
Kim still needs a power wheelchair to get around and has only regained strength and some function in her hands. But thank God I still have my wife by my side and she has her mind. I kid her a lot and say if she wasn’t so hard headed she may have brain damage. Due to Kim’s condition, we have had the opportunity to minister to other hurting families that we were not able to before. God has been so good to us through times of trial. We are beginning to understand Philippians 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of this resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering”.
On March 25, 2014 God called me to preach according to Exodus 3:4. This was confirmed the same day by my Pastor Bill Pickel according to I Thessalonians 5:24. For years, my wife and I have been impressed to help in a youth home. My parents were foster parents for close to 40 years so this type of work has always been close to my heart. On September 9 2014 I began to pray that God would allow me to start a boy’s home near our church. November, of that same year, God “encouraged” us to start this work and go into full time deputation. In November I found out that my job would be discontinued and I would have to learn a new field of work to be able to continue working. After prayer and consultation from my pastor, I decided to step out on faith and start into missions work. “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” I Thess 5:24.