Unthinkable Courageous Stories

Dennis and Barbara Rainey

This feature will ultimately feature over 50 Unimaginable Stories of Courageous Faith that are guaranteed to capture your imagination, stiffen your backbone and strengthen your heart for the battles you face. read less
Religion & SpiritualityReligion & Spirituality

Episodes

Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 1
Nov 5 2019
Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 1
Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 1Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 2Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 3Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 4FamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Out of the Depths Day 1 of 4 Guest:                            Ed Harrell From the Series:         The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis________________________________________________________________ Bob:                Sixty years ago this week on the night of July 30, 1945, just weeks before the end of World War II, a Japanese submarine launched torpedoes that would sink the USS Indianapolis.  Marine Ed Harrell was on board that night. Ed:                  When I actually left the ship, and there I prayed that somehow the Lord would see me through what lie ahead, and yet I had the foggiest idea that I'm going to be out there for four-and-a-half days.  There's times when you pray, and there's times when you pray, and there is a difference. Bob:                This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, August 1st.  Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  Of the nearly 1,200 men who were onboard the Indianapolis on that night only 317 survived.  Ed Harrell was one of the survivors, and we'll hear his story today.                         And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Monday edition.  Dennis? Dennis:          Bob, I want you to imagine with me a pretty dramatic scene.  Just consider yourself being 20 years old, you're a Marine, you're tough, you're physically fit, but you're alone, you're in the ocean, you've just lost your ship, and you and about 80 others are floating in the middle of the night in the ocean in lifejackets.  We're going to hear a story – one of the most compelling stories I think I've ever heard from a gentleman who joins us on FamilyLife Today – one of the survivors of the USS Indianapolis. Bob:                A man who doesn't have to imagine what you just described because he lived through it. Dennis:          That's exactly right.  Ed Harrell joins us on FamilyLife Today.  Welcome to the broadcast, Ed. Ed:                  Thank you so much.  It's a delight to be with you. Dennis:          Ed is not only a survivor, but he was a businessman for 38 years.  He's served as a member of the board of trustees at Moody Bible Institute, a great ministry.  He and his wife Ola, who have been married since 1947 – that's a lot of years, that's a lot of years, live in Paris, Tennessee.  They have two children, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Ed:                  That's right. Dennis:          You've lived quite a life, Ed, but you're one of the few, one of the few survivors of that tragedy.  Take us back, first of all, to when you signed up.  Why in the world did you sign up to be a Marine?  It was 1943, is that right? Ed:                  That's right, 1943.  I don't know that I can even know why I really did at the time, but I knew that the war was getting pretty close to home, it sounded to me.  In fact, when I heard that the Japanese and the American forces were having quite a battle at Midway, I was thinking that Midway was maybe between San Francisco and Hawaii, and so I thought, you know, they're getting pretty close to America, so, actually, I had just finished my junior year in high school, and I volunteered then for the Marine Corps. Bob:                You were 17, 18 years old? Ed:                  I was 18 when I – I actually became a Marine when I was 18. Bob:                You know, Ed, my son is a junior in high school, and the thought of my son saying, "I'm going to sign up to be a Marine in the middle of this kind of conflict, as a parent, I'm not sure I'd endorse that plan.  Were your parents behind it? Ed:                  Yes, I think they pretty much agreed.  Dad pretty much agreed.  They didn't necessarily want to see me leave, but they knew, too, the little Silvertone radio that we had was telling us quite a bit what was happening in the Pacific, and I didn't have much problem convincing them that I wanted to go.  In fact, I have two grandsons in the Marine Corps today. Dennis:          Do you remember that time when you said goodbye to your dad? Ed:                  I do.  My dad was 37 or 39 years old, and I thought he was an old man then, but I told him goodbye at the bus station. Dennis:          Did you hug? Ed:                  Yes, yes, we did. Dennis:          Were there tears? Ed:                  There were some tears, there were some tears. Dennis:          What did he say to you? Ed:                  I don't know that I can remember what he said, but I'm sure that the advice that he gave me, he was a fine Christian man, and I'm sure it was some good, solid advice that he was giving me. Bob:                Why the Marines?  Why did you pick them instead of the Army or the Navy or the Air Force? Ed:                  I wondered sometimes why if I picked the wrong one, but I really don't know.  I even considered, after I got in the Marine Corps, that I would be a paratrooper.  After I got through sea school, then they said – after I got through boot camp, they said, "You're going to sea school," and I didn't know what that meant, either, but I went through sea school, and then they said, "You're going aboard a large combatant ship," and so I waited, then, until the Indianapolis was in port and cau...
Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 2
Nov 5 2019
Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 2
Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 1Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 2Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 3Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 4FamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Out of the Depths Day 2 of 4 Guest:                           Ed Harrell From the Series:         Mercy at Sea________________________________________________________________ Bob:                Sixty years ago this week, Ed Harrell was afloat in the Pacific.  His ship, the cruiser USS Indianapolis, had been sunk by Japanese torpedoes.  Many of the crew members had not escaped. Those who had, found themselves battling for their lives on the open seas with no help in sight.  What was in sight were sharks. Ed:                  You can't imagine, and I can't explain, you know, the feeling that you have.  You know that at any moment that the shark could get you, and you wonder, you know, am I going to be next?  You know, you pray and you pray more, and you pour your heart out to the Lord, and just hope and pray that somehow, some way, that He will be faithful to the promise that you feel that He's made to you and that you'll be able to endure. Bob:                This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, August 2nd.  Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  We'll hear a powerful story today of courage and faith as we speak with one of the survivors of the USS Indianapolis.                         And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us.  I somehow missed this in my study of U.S. history.  I don't know that I ever was aware that on the night of July 30, 1945, just weeks before the end of World War II, a Japanese submarine, I-58, launched a spread of torpedoes at the USS Indianapolis in the Pacific Theater. Two of those torpedoes found their mark and, in less than 15 minutes, this cruiser sank in the Marianas, and there were almost 1,200 men on board the ship.  More than 800 of those men did not survive the attack or the days that followed that attack.  And I don't know, Dennis, that I'd ever heard about that battle or about the sinking of the ship, but it's truly a compelling story, especially when you consider that some 300 men were rescued days later. Dennis:          Yes, and we have one of those men who was rescued back with us.  Ed Harrell joins us again on FamilyLife Today.  Ed, welcome back. Ed:                  Thank you. Dennis:          I want to express my appreciation for you, as a veteran, just for serving our nation and also for coming here on our broadcast and telling the story, a dramatic story, of what has to be one of the most phenomenal survival stories, really, Bob, in all of the World War II and maybe in the history of the United States.  I mean, what you had to endure and go through.  But we'll get to that in just a moment.                          Ed is a businessman, was on the board of trustees of Moody Bible for a number of years.  He and his wife Ola [ph] have a couple of children and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and he is a survivor of the USS Indianapolis.  Ed, I want you to take our listeners back, because you shared earlier the story of standing on the deck of this boat – this great, massive boat, over 600 feet long, at midnight as it's sinking in less than 15 minutes.  What were you hearing at that moment?  It's pitch black, there's a little bit of light from the fires that are burning midship, but what was the sound like?  Was it of screams of people?  Were there explosions? Ed:                  There were still explosions going on for a good while.  In fact, when the ship actually went under there were still explosions that were taking place below deck.  I don't know that I'm waiting to listen to see what might be taking place.  I am eager to get off, and I make my way, then, to the port side and hung onto that rail and said my prayer before I entered into the water, and I knew, beyond any shadow of doubt, that the Lord had, through the Spirit, was bearing witness with my spirit that He was with me and that I would make it, somehow, some way.                           I know, later on, when I was interviewed, they asked me, "What were you thinking out there?  Did you think that you were going to make it?"  And I said, "I thought of the 30-day leave that I would get for being a survivor and be able to go home," because I hadn't been home for a good while, and I was thinking about going home, frankly. Bob:                You had one what you've described as a kapok jacket, a life preserver, is that what that was? Ed:                  That's right. Bob:                And I guess I'm wondering – were there lifeboats on board the ship?  Were there inflatable rafts?  Was it "man the lifeboats?" Ed:                  No word of that kind was given.  In fact, you didn't have time, they didn't have time.  I could look up and see life rafts hanging, and those kapok jackets hanging, but no word was given to cut those loose, and I never saw a life raft.  There were floater nets, likewise, that later floated up, and they spread them out, and boys could somewhat stand in those – not completely, but at least it would keep the sharks from coming up through after them.  And then the life rafts, then, some of those floated loose, but I never saw a raft, I never saw one in the water the whole time. Dennis:          That first moment you hit the water, you burst through the surface, you got clear of the oil so you could breathe.  Did you begin swimming away from the sinking ship at that point?  I mean, again, to those of us who are laymen, a ship going down is supposed to create some kind of vacuum or – and suck survivors back down after it.  Did that occur? Ed:                  That was my thinking, and I was I a rush – not necessarily a good swimmer, but I was in a rush to get away from the ship, and I got away from it maybe 50 yards, then, to turn, then, to...
Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 3
Nov 5 2019
Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 3
Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 1Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 2Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 3Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 4FamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Out of the Depths Day 3 of 4 Guest:                        Ed Harrell From the Series:       Survival in the South Pacific ________________________________________________________________  Bob:                Sixty years ago this week, Ed Harrell was one of a few hundred men floating in the Pacific following the sinking of the USS Indianapolis.  In the four days that he was afloat, Ed saw some of his fellow sailors drift away from the group to be eaten by sharks.  Some who tried to swim toward an imaginary shore who never came back.  For Ed, the memories are vivid. Ed:                  I can see it today, and I think maybe I'd like to look at it and say that the Lord reminds me, even today, of those incidents, and as He reminds me of those, then they help to strengthen my faith and my resolve to live a life for Him today. Bob:                This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, August 3rd.  Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  Where did Ed Harrell's hope come from when it appeared all reason for hope was gone?  Stay with us.                         And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us.  You know, we've heard a story this week, Dennis, about a ship under attack.  And then we've heard about the ongoing horror and terror of living in the middle of the ocean, bundled up with your buddies, hooked with your lifejackets to one another as the sharks encircle you in the waters and wondering, "Does anyone even know we're out here or will we die at sea?"  No food, no fresh water except for a thundercloud that comes by and gives you a little bit of a rain shower.  You hear a story like this, and you wonder where does the will to survive in the midst of that come from?  I think of myself and think, "When would I just lay my head back and say, "Okay, I'm ready to die.  I'd rather do that than keep living like this." Dennis:          Yes, in fact, there's a story that Ed Harrell, who joins us again on FamilyLife Today.  Ed, welcome back to the broadcast. Ed:                  Thank you. Dennis:          There's a story you tell, Ed, of a Marine buddy who was ready to do the very thing Bob was talking about.  He was ready to quit, and you kind of – the picture I had from reading your book was you kind of grabbed him by the life jacket and looked him in the eyes, and you gave him a reason to believe. Ed:                  I pretty much gave him an ultimatum, really, in that he had tried to convince me that he was going to commit suicide.  He'd gone into the water head first and all of that oil in his eyes and then, you know, you can imagine – you take your hand, and you try to rub that oil out, but the more you rub your eye, you're rubbing salt in, and you're kind of taking that salt that's in the water, you're grinding your eyeballs with that.  And then the sun then, you know, beaming off of that water, then through the daytime.  By the second day, Spooner was determined that he was going to commit suicide, and he mentioned that two or three times.                         Anyway, I recall that I just got ahold of Spooner, and I turned him to me, and I kind of looked him squarely in the eye, and I said, "Spooner, there's only two of we Marines out here, and whenever a sailor is gone, there's still going to be two Marines, and you're going to be one of them with me," and I kind of turned him to me, and I fashioned – hooked his lifejacket then onto mine, and I swam with him then through that night, and then – it was sometime then the third morning that he wanted me to release him, and he made a vow to me that he would fight for life as long as there was breath in him because of him being able to survive as long as he had through that night, and I released him, then, the next day. Bob:                You and some 300 of your shipmates survived in the waters in the Pacific from the time that your boat was attacked just after midnight on the 30th of July in 1945 when the Indianapolis went under in about 15 minutes.  You survived for a period of, what was it, four days, five days? Ed:                  It was four-and-a-half days, yes. Bob:                And you survived that, as you've already shared with us this week, there was – was it just a single rain shower that passed over that gave you a little bit of water? Ed:                  Right, that's all the rain that we had the whole time I was out there, that's right. Bob:                So you're in salt water, you had a few tablespoons of fresh water in a four-and-a-half day period – any food? Ed:                  Well, let's come to the next day.  The third day, when there were 17 of us, and we had literally had a prayer meeting.  I mean, nearly everybody prayed. Bob:                You'd started with 80, and now you're down to 17. Ed:                  Right.   Dennis:          The sharks had picked off that many? Ed:                  That's right – well, sharks and – you mentioned somebody giving up – you know, I saw any number of boys that maybe at one minute you'd think, "Well, they're still alive," and just a little bit later you'd see that they just all of a sudden – seemingly, they just allowed their head to drop into the water, and they didn't have the energy to raise up, and they didn't care.  I recall that third day that we had had a prayer meeting, and everyone nearly was praying, and some would ask that you would pray for them, you know, they had – some had some children back home that they had never seen, and so on, and they were desperate to make it.  And, you know, "If you make it, and I don't make it, will...
Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 4
Nov 5 2019
Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 4
Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 1Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 2Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 3Stranded in Shark Infested Waters - Part 4FamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Out of the Depths Day 4 of 4 Guest:                            Ed Harrell From the Series:         Ducks on the Pond: Rescued at Last________________________________________________________________ Bob:                Sixty years ago this week, Ed Harrell and a number of other sailors were pulled from the Pacific.  They had survived four-and-a-half days afloat after the sinking of the USS Indianapolis.  It's four days that, as you might imagine, Ed Harrell has never been able to forget. Ed:                  I have not had nightmares.  I've had many times that I've awakened and have a vivid scene of the happenings, and yet I think my counteraction to that is "Thank you, Lord, for sparing my life and for bringing me through all of this." Bob:                This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, August 4th.  Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  We'll hear how God spared Ed Harrell's life today, and we'll hear a remarkable story about a rescue in the middle of the Pacific.                         And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us.  You know, Hollywood has told some tales of castaways left on a desert island, folks surviving in the middle of nowhere, and I've seen some of those movies, and you watch them, and they're interesting.  They have never come close to telling the story that we've heard this week. Dennis:          No, I agree, Bob.  Ed Harrell has been with us all this week and has told a story, a compelling story of how God enabled him to survive an ordeal at sea after being a crew member on the USS Indianapolis, which was sunk on the night of July 30, 1945, by a Japanese submarine, and, Ed, I want to thank you again for your service as a veteran, but also for writing this book and for taking us there and giving us a greater appreciation not just for veterans and what they've done to protect our freedom as Americans but also for taking us there and showing us what tough-minded faith in Almighty God looks like.  Because time and time again you've taken us to vivid scenes where you've been at a fork in the road where you've had to trust God, and you'd been at sea for four days in a life jacket.  You'd only had a few tablespoons of water.  You had some rotten potatoes that had come after you'd prayed for some food; been separated from your buddies, and on the fourth day you are virtually alone. Ed:                  No question.  Even with my buddy at the time and, in fact, there were three of us at the tail end there that fourth day and the one then dropped his head in the water, and he's gone, and then it's just McKissock and myself.  And my mind, by now, is beginning to fail me somewhat in that – McKissock, I know, would say to me, "Hey, Marine, you ever been to the Philippines?"  And, "No, I've never been there."  Well, he had, and he promised to kind of take me under his wing when we got there.                          And yet I knew him.  I knew who he was.  I'd served under him, and he was a peach of a guy, and yet, to me, he was Uncle Edwin, and I called him Uncle Edwin.  I had an uncle two years older than me.  I guess I was thinking of the good times in my mind with someone back home, and yet McKissock was Uncle Edwin to me.                                                And then it was sometime then that afternoon, you know, we had seen the planes, heard them at 30,000 feet, and I say to McKissock, "I hear a plane."  And he said, "I hear one, too," and if you can imagine somewhat that you hear a plane, and you know that it's somewhere coming closer, and yet you don't know which direction it is.  And we began to look all around and, finally, we could detect that it's coming from that direction. Dennis:          Was it coming toward you? Ed:                  It was coming toward us, and it was flying about 8,000 feet and, well, what do you do?  I tell you what you do.  You scream, you splash water, you make all kinds of contortions there in the water, hoping and praying that he can see you.  But here he is flying over us, and had he come any further, he would have gone over us, but when he got, like a quarter of a mile or so out here, flying at 8,000 feet, he headed it straight down toward us as if he knew we were there.  But he didn't know we were there – impossible for him to see us.  If we'd had on deer-hunter orange, and he knew we were there, he could not have seen us.                         In fact, the pilot that later picked us up, he said the possibility of him seeing you would be the equivalent of taking the cross-section of a human hair and looking at the end of that human hair at 20 feet.  He said impossible for him to see us. Dennis:          So why did he go into the dive? Ed:                  Why did he go into the dive – that's the miracle of the angel coming for us, and that is the end of the fourth day.  Well, I've talked to Lieutenant Guinn [ph] at different times, and … Bob:                He was the pilot? Ed:                  He was the pilot, and he was flying out of Pulau, and he was flying a land-based plane, something like a B-20, a twin-engine plane, and as he was flying, he had left out that morning, and he had a problem with his antenna that kind of trails at the back of that aircraft.  And the stabilizer on that antenna had come off, and they had put something on, and he went out and tried it, and it didn't work.  They came back in, and then they put something on, and here they go again.                         So as he is flying over us, and here, as I mentioned, here he's coming just at a point that he could nearly dive right down to us, at that point he had gone back to the bomb bay door, a...
I Survived My Suicide - Part 1
Nov 5 2019
I Survived My Suicide - Part 1
I Survived My Suicide - Part 1I Survived My Suicide - Part 2I Survived My Suicide - Part 3FamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Life in Spite of MeDay 1 of 3 Guest:                           Kristen Jane Anderson From the Series:         On the Edge of Hopelessness________________________________________________________________­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Bob:  Kristen Jane Anderson was 17 years old and was ready for life…to be over.  When she heard a ‘Freight Train’ approaching at the park where she was sitting; she decided to lay her body across the tracks. Kristen:  When the train stopped I wasn’t sure if I was alive or dead.  I remember just opening my eyes and unclenching my fists and starting to look around because I didn’t know what to think.  I didn’t know what it was like to die!  Obviously I just had no idea what to think.   When I was looking around, I looked behind me; to my right…and I saw my legs about 10 feet behind me on my right.    Bob:  This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, September 8th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife and I am Bob Lepine.   Kristen Jane Anderson joins with us today to share a remarkable story of survival and of faith. And welcome to FamilyLife Today!  Thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. We are going to hear a remarkable story today.  A story of where there is hope!   Actually to start things off, I want to read a Bible verse.  This is one of my favorite Bible verses. Dennis:  I would feel better if you had a real Bible opened; I mean, instead of reading it off your iPhone. Bob:  I love carrying this around. Dennis:  You do!  You really do!  You get a grin on your face when you scroll down to the passage Bob: It is a little awkward when I am up front in my church reading from my iphone, but it is…. Dennis:  You do it there too?  Bob:  Yeah!  This is the way I read my Bible now.  And I love it!   Dennis:  Okay!  Bob:  1 Peter 2:9 says, “You are a chosen race a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession …. ‘(And this is the part that I love)’ …….that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” I think the story we are going to hear about this week is one of those out of darkness into marvelous light stories. Dennis:  I think you are right, Bob, and I think that our listeners; regardless if they are dealing with something troubling or challenging in their lives right now or rather if things are going well, they need to hear this story.  It is the story of a young lady who joins us on FamilyLife Today, Kristen Jane Anderson, joins us today on FamilyLife Today.  Kristen, welcome to the broadcast! Kristen:  Thank you for having me on. Dennis:  Kristen is a graduate of Moody, almost; right?   Kristen:  Right!  Dennis:  Almost a graduate of Moody Bible Institute!  She is a popular speaker to college students and women’s events all around the country.  She has been featured on Oprah, which we had some fun talking about before we came on the air here. Bob:  She was comparing you and Oprah …wasn’t she? Dennis:  She was!  She was! She was…. And you actually asked her, “which was a bigger treat, to be on our broadcast …… or her (Oprah) TV program? Bob:  And let’s move on shall we? Dennis:  She has written a book called, Life In Spite of Me.  I am just going to cut right to the chase here.   Kristen, I am going to ask you to take us to January 2.  You were in a park and it was dark and it was icy cold there and it was the most dramatic day of your life. Kristen:  Yes!  I was at the park and I was there because I didn’t feel like I could go home.  I didn’t want to go home.  I didn’t want to get in trouble and I thought I was going to disappoint my parents again.  I was at the park just kind of trying to waste time and to figure out what I was going to do next and I was swinging on the swings and as I was there I started to think about why I was there.   Why did I feel like I couldn’t go home?  Why did I feel the way that I did inside?  I was struggling and then I remembered that in the park that I was in that you were supposed to be out of the park after the sun goes down.  I knew that the police come and patrol the park and if you’re in the park after dark they make you leave.   The reason I was there is that I didn’t want to go home, so I looked around to see where else I could go and I saw that there had been a set of train cars parked on the edge of the park.  I knew that they had been there for about 3 weeks.  I walked over to the train cars and I sat on one of them.  Then I started to think about a thought process that I had had about 3 months beforehand.  It was after one of my friends had taken his life.  He had taken his life by hanging himself in the cemetery. Dennis:  You were 17 years of age? Kristen:  Right!  I had no idea how to handle it and I didn’t understand it.  I remember thinking, “I don’t know how he could ever do that.  How could he ever take his life?”  And then I thought, “I don’t know how he could do it the way that he did it, especially that way.”   But then my thought process changed and I started to think, “Well if I was ever going to do it, how would I do it?”  I went through a lot of different things in my mind that I had heard about in school or on TV; different ways people try to end their lives and none of them seemed like they would...
I Survived My Suicide - Part 2
Nov 5 2019
I Survived My Suicide - Part 2
I Survived My Suicide - Part 1I Survived My Suicide - Part 2I Survived My Suicide - Part 3FamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Life in Spite of MeDay 2 of 3 Guest:                             Kristen Jane Anderson From the Series:         A Flicker of Hope________________________________________________________________­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Bob:   When she was 17 years old, Kristen Jane Anderson sought to end her life by lying across a railroad track as the train was approaching.  Miraculously, she survived; although her legs were severed.  She was soon to realize that God had a purpose for her life.   Kristen:  Three months after I lost my legs, I was out of the hospital.  We went back to church that Sunday.  A woman came up to me who had heard about what happened to me.  She told me that I would have gone to hell if I died.  It was very difficult at the time, but I am very grateful that she was that bold at the time because it helped me see my need for Him.  It helped me think about where I would have gone eternally.  “If I had died, where would I go?”  I had never thought about it more than at that time in my life. Bob:  This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, September 9th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine.  Kristen Jane Anderson joins us today to share a story of beauty from ashes and redemption from tragedy.   Welcome to FamilyLife Today; thanks for joining us.  I have read the statistics about teenage suicide, about teens who overdose on a handful of pills from the medicine cabinet or who do violence to themselves in some way to take their own lives. Dennis:  Right. Bob:  I don’t know that I have ever heard a story like the one we are hearing this week. Dennis:  Yes.  We have a guest with us this week who is willing to tell a profound story, quite a drama.  Kristen Jane Anderson joins us on FamilyLife Today.  Welcome back. Kristen:  Thank you. Dennis:  Kristen, you have written a book called Life, In Spite of Me.  As our listeners heard earlier, that really is an understatement.  A lot of things had taken place in your life that had left you hopeless, right? Kristen:  Yes.  A lot of things happened.   Dennis:  Yes.  Your father was struggling from depression as you grew up as a little girl and as a teenager.  You had three friends, as a teenager, who lost their lives—one to suicide.  You had a couple of guys stalking you—one who raped you.  You were hopeless and no one knew it.   Kristen:  No.  My family especially knew something was wrong with me because it wasn’t in my character to not come home when I was supposed to.  I had started drinking and smoking and things like that.  That wasn’t anything I had done before.  I also stopped playing soccer.  That was something that I loved to do, and so they knew something was wrong with me.  They just didn’t know how much was wrong inside and how I was feeling. Bob:  You say they knew something was wrong.  If you were to look back and say, “There had been something going back in my heart and soul for a month...three months...six months.”  What? Kristen:  I think that it was a lot going on that whole period of time, but I think the last six months before my attempt were the worst.  I think I just kind of died inside.  I didn’t care about my life or anything anymore.  I drove around hoping somebody would hit me.  I wanted my life to end.  I didn’t want to take it, though.   People would ask me how I was doing.  I would say, “I’m here.’  Kind of like, “Isn’t that good enough?”  I had just a much more negative and a little bit of a bitter attitude.  That wasn’t my normal demeanor, but at the same time I still had a smile on my face.  So people really were confused. Bob:  Here it is the second day of the New Millennium, January 2, 2000.  It is a cold day.  You left the house, sitting in a park, just thinking about life.  The impulse—really—it was an impulse hits you.  Dennis:  Yes.  I want to make a comment about that because I have read this before that a number of suicides that occur among young people are done, not in a sense of really thinking it through, but just deciding at the spur of the moment. Kristen:  Right.  For me, it was.  I could never have made that as a rational decision.  If I was going to do it, it would have had to be impulsive.  I think that most people would think that way.  I think most kids, especially.  They know that suicide is wrong.  They can never rationalize it enough to think it is okay or it is right. Bob:  You didn’t think about writing a note saying, “It’s all over.”  You didn’t have time. Kristen:  No.  I didn’t have time and I wasn’t worried about other people.  I was in a very selfish place. Bob:  So you went and laid across the railroad tracks with a train coming.  Did the conductor see you dive across the tracks? Kristen:  Yes.  The police report says that the conductor said to the engineer, “Did you see that yellow flash?”  The engineer said to the conductor, “Yes. I think we just hit someone.”  The yellow flash that they saw was this yellow jacket that I had on—my winter coat. Dennis:  It was a new coat that you had just gotten for Christmas was it, or was that the jeans you had gotten? Kristen:  Right.  The coat was new; the shoes were new.  All of it was new actually.   Bob:  So you dove across the tracks.  The conductor, the engineer said, “I think we just hit somebody.”  They put on the brakes, brought the train to a stop? Kristen:  Yes.  Then they called 911. Bob:  And came back finding you lying on the tracks, legs severed—one below the knee and the other... Kristen:  They didn’t come to find me, but the parame...
I Survived My Suicide - Part 3
Nov 4 2019
I Survived My Suicide - Part 3
I Survived My Suicide - Part 1I Survived My Suicide - Part 2I Survived My Suicide - Part 3FamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Life in Spite of MeDay 3 of 3 Guest:                          Kristen Jane Anderson From the Series:         And Then God...________________________________________________________________­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Bob:  At age 17, Kristen Jane Anderson survived a suicide attempt.  Today, more than ten years later, she has a powerful message for those who find themselves in despair. Kristen:  If you’re struggling with pain in your life or with suicidal thoughts or with depression, I want you to know that there’s a reason you are here, that God created you for a purpose.  No matter what you’re going through, it’s temporary.  You’re not alone.   He has tremendous plans for us, every single one of us.  Nobody is an accident including you.  There is a reason you’re here.  So, I just want to encourage you to hold on, to seek God with all of your heart, and I know that you will find Him.  He will bring you out of the depths of despair like he has me. Bob:  This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, September 10th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey and I'm Bob Lepine.  Kristen Anderson joins us today to give a reason for the hope that is within her.  And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us.  We’ve been hearing a remarkable story of God’s redeeming work in the heart and the life of a young woman this week.  A young woman who attempted suicide by laying across railroad tracks, and miraculously, God spared her life.   But, I’m just thinking, here we are at a point in the unfolding of this story where all of a sudden, life has meaning and purpose, joy and hope.  There’s just this one bummer, and that is, “I don’t have legs anymore.”  I don’t mean to sound crass or trivial about it but… Dennis:  It’s the result of what took place. Bob:  Here is hope re-dawning but, I’m in a wheelchair with no legs.  Life is going to be very different from here on out because of a decision I made—an impulsive decision—trying to end my own life. Dennis:  Well, that young lady joins us again on FamilyLife Today; she’s the author of the book, Life in Spite Of Me.  Kristen Jane Anderson joins us again on FamilyLife Today, Kristen welcome back.  I just have to tell you, I really appreciate your willingness to go back and revisit some very painful moments both emotionally and physically as you shared about that attempt at suicide. Kristen:  Thank you; I really appreciate you having me on. Dennis:  I wanted to ask you, just as you have processed the loss of your legs like Bob is talking about here, people who lose a limb experience what’s called “phantom pain”?  Kristen:  Yes. Dennis:  Or they have the feeling, the phantom is as though their legs are still there? Kristen:  Right. Dennis:  Do you experience that? Kristen:  Yes. I always feel like my legs are still there.  It’s really interesting.  It’s not like they feel normal or anything.  But it feels like they’re still there.  It’s very interesting. Bob:  Are there times you’ll wake up in the middle of the night and without stopping to think about it, think “I’ll just swing my legs out and get up out of bed”? Kristen:  Not as often as I used to.  In the beginning I used to always be really surprised by my wheelchair next to my bed.  But now I’m pretty used to it.  Every once in a while I’ll think, “I want to go for a run.”  Or something like that, that I can’t do any more. Bob:  The thing that I keep thinking about here is, at a point when your life experienced a radical transformation, you trusted Christ, you began to understand what it means to follow Him and to give your life to Him, and you’re a new creation in Christ.  The thing is, the old you had legs, the new you doesn’t.   Kristen:  Right. Bob:  How do you process that? Kristen:  The thing that helped me the most was learning that I was whole in Christ, whether or not I had legs isn’t what made me whole.  He was more than enough for all of me, I didn’t need anything more.  The more that I trusted Him, and I put my faith in Him, the more I just felt whole.  I realized I was going to fine without my legs.  I was going to be fine as long as I had Him.  I didn’t need them as much as I needed Him. Dennis:  You said before we came into the studio, that you’ve been working with—is it a physician who creates prosthetics? Kristen:  Yes, he’s called a prosthetist. Dennis:  You’ve been working with him for four years? Kristen:  Longer actually.Dennis:  Actually longer than that?  Yet, it’s interesting to see your demeanor.  You have some opinions about why they have not been able to fit you with legs at this point. Kristen:  Yes.  I’m a difficult case to fit.  But I think that everything happens for a reason, and I think there’s a reason I’m not walking now.  As I’ve tried to think through that, pray through that and see what the reasons might be, I feel like, it’s just not God’s time yet.  I think that He has used my story and me in a way that he had planned to use it with me in my wheelchair.   It has also taught me a tremendous amount of patience, and it has made me a lot more humble for me to be in my wheelchair. Dennis:  I’m listening to you say that, and I’m flashing back to the story of January 2nd, 2000, when you were draped across the railroad tracks and described something supernaturally, almost pushing you down as the train ran over you.  Even though your legs were severed, you lost them.  The condition of the young lady who had laid down on that track was without hope. Kristen:  Right. Dennis:  … had no purpos...
Captured For Ransom in the Philippines - Part 1
Nov 4 2019
Captured For Ransom in the Philippines - Part 1
Captured For Ransom in the Philippines - Part 1Captured For Ransom in the Philippines - Part 2Captured For Ransom in the Philippines - Part 3FamilyLife Today® Radio Transcript  References to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Love Finds a Way to the Philippines Guest:                         Gracia BurnhamFrom the series:       In the Presence of My Enemies (Day 1 of 3)  Bob: Martin and Gracia Burnham had served for years as missionaries in the Philippines. Back in 2002, they got away for a few days of rest and recuperation when, one morning, the door of the cabin where they were staying was kicked in. Gracia: We knew that we were in big trouble, and we knew that we were being kidnapped; but we didn't know by whom. And then, when we realized it was the Abu Sayyaf, we knew what was going to happen because everyone follows all those hostage situations. It's like one starts, and then it ends. Everybody breathes easy for a bit. Then another one starts, and another one ends; and here it was us in the middle of this. Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, July 1st. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We'll hear from Gracia Burnham today about the events that led up to the kidnapping and the 12-month hostage ordeal that she and her husband went through. Stay with us. 1:00 And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. It was back more than a decade ago that we had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Gracia Burnham. Together, with her husband, Martin, Gracia had been held captive for more than a year by Islamic terrorists in the Philippines. Her story had been followed by the American media. It was a powerful, compelling story and a story of God’s grace and His very real presence in the midst of suffering. We thought it would be good to revisit that story and listen back to what stands out for us as one of the most compelling programs we’ve featured on FamilyLife Today in our 20-plus years of ministry.  2:00Here is Part One of our interview with Gracia Burnham, originally recorded in 2003. [Previously Recorded Interview] Dennis: We are going to feature a story over the next couple of days, Bob, that, personally, I've been looking forward to hearing the rest of the story. I don't know that I've ever heard of a couple getting away for a romantic weekend that was interrupted in such a dramatic way. I mean, picture yourself in full-time ministry overseas and needing a break. Now, that occurs in missionary staff, and they need to get a break. So this couple decided that they would find a cool spot. They found a cool spot and were sleeping when there was a [knocking sound] at the door. 3:00 And the rest of the story is—man! It's a story of faith, of courage, of suffering that—well, I was riveted by the book, In the Presence of My Enemies, written by Gracia Burnham. And Gracia joins us on FamilyLife Today. Gracia: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here. Dennis: Gracia, I really have been looking forward to meeting you. Barbara watched me read your book; and she said, "That must really be good!" Bob: A page-turner? Dennis: It is. Gracia and her husband Martin served with New Tribes Missions for more than 17 years.  Gracia: Yes. Dennis: They have three children. I want you to tell us about that romantic getaway. You really needed it; didn't you? Gracia: Well, yes. New Tribes Mission Aviation—Martin was a jungle pilot—had been after Martin to become their new chief pilot from the Philippines. He'd just been in the States two weeks.  4:00 The Palawan pilot’s dad died. That pilot had to go home to the States for a funeral, which meant that there were Bible translators that needed to get from one village to another; and there were kids that needed to get home from Faith Academy—there was a busy flight schedule on Palawan. Martin called me from the States and said: "I'm not going to be able to come home. I'm going to have to go to Palawan and fly."   So, I cleared up my schedule and went to meet him in Palawan. I got someone to take care of the kids where we live, but I knew that he would have jet lag and would need some time to rest. Bob: Right. Gracia: So I called our co-workers on Palawan and said, "Where is a good place where we can go for, you know, just even 24 hours, so Martin can rest, and sleep, and get ready for a heavy flight schedule?" They told me about Dos Palmas, a resort that was an island all of its own, off the coast of Palawan.  5:00 To get there, you had to take kind of a fishing vessel. I told my friends to book us in, and then they told me the price. It was right on the tip of my tongue to say, "Oh, could you just find us a place in town?" And I didn't say it because our anniversary was coming up; and I justified the cost by saying, “This will be our anniversary treat.”  And we did. We went to Dos Palmas and had a wonderful time—a beautiful meal / it was really, really nice—and went to bed that night. Then, even before dawn the next morning, that knock on the door—the pounding on the door—woke us up. Three men with M-16s ran into the room and took Martin immediately out. Then a guy came over to me, and pointed his weapon at me, and said in English, "Go, go, go!"   6:00 I said: “No, no, no! I don’t have clothes on.” I was just trying to grab something right there by the bed. I grabbed what I’d had on at the beach the night before—just shorts and a t-shirt. They took me right out the door. They emptied all the little cottages that we were staying in that were on stilts over the water. When they emptied all those out, there were 20 of us hostages—3 Americans and the rest were Filipinos. As we pulled away from the dock, they raised their weapons in the air. I guess there were about 15 of these guys. We knew, right away, it was the Abu Sayyaf. They're a Muslim terrorist organization which funds itself by kidnapping and ransom. Dennis: Yes. Gracia: But they’d never been known to be on Palawan.  7:00...
Captured For Ransom in the Philippines - Part 2
Nov 4 2019
Captured For Ransom in the Philippines - Part 2
Captured For Ransom in the Philippines - Part 1Captured For Ransom in the Philippines - Part 2Captured For Ransom in the Philippines - Part 3FamilyLife Today® Radio Transcript  References to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Getaway Takes a Wrong Turn Guest:                         Gracia BurnhamFrom the series:       In the Presence of My Enemies (Day 2 of 3)  Bob: Back in 2002, for more than 12 months, missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham were held hostage, having been kidnapped by an Islamic terrorist group.  Gracia: For the first few weeks, we were both chained together to a tree. Then they saw that I wasn't going to go anywhere without Martin, and they quit chaining me. Bob: The Burnhams lived for months in the remote jungles of the Philippines, always under the watchful eye of their captors and always on the run. Gracia: We never knew when the guns were going to start blaring—you know, they had found us again; and we would start running. Many times, we would lose everything in one of those gun battles because we weren't prepared every moment. When there are bullets whizzing over your heads, you don't think, "Oh, I have to get my brush, and I need to get my clothes that are drying on the bushes." 1:00 Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, July 2nd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We’ll talk today with Gracia Burnham and hear a dramatic, compelling story of her life in captivity. Stay with us. And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. We’re spending some time this week revisiting a program that was originally recorded and first aired in 2003, as we had the opportunity to sit down with Gracia Burnham. She and her husband Martin had been in the news that year because they had both been kidnapped and held by Islamic terrorists in the Philippines for more than a year. That capture had ended with a rescue attempt. Gracia’s husband, Martin, was actually killed in that rescue attempt. 2:00 Gracia shared her story in a book she had written called In the Presence of My Enemies. Honestly, the story she shared was so powerful, it’s one of those programs that listeners have talked about for years since it was aired. We wanted you to hear the story again. So here is Part Two of our conversation from 2003 with Gracia Burnham. [Previously Recorded Interview] Dennis: Gracia Burnham has joined us here for a second day. She is the author of In the Presence of My Enemies. She and Martin served in the New Tribes Mission Ministry in the Philippines for more than 17 years. Gracia—welcome back to FamilyLife Today. Gracia: Thank you very much. 3:00 Dennis: When we left off on the story yesterday, you had decided to greet Martin to help him get over his jet lag at a nice, romantic island; but in the middle of the night, you were awakened by a terrorist group who kidnapped you and threw you on a boat, along with 20 others? Gracia: Yes, there were 17 others—there were 20 of us. Dennis: In a boat that was not that large. Gracia: Yes, it was totally overloaded, which is typical for the Philippines, though. They overload everything.  Dennis: The boat ride lasted how long? Gracia: All day long—sun-up to sundown. And then, they transferred us onto a fishing vessel that they had commandeered—which was bigger—but by the time you got 20 hostages—and I think there were about 20 Abu Sayyaf and 10 or 20 fishermen—that vessel was overloaded too. For the next three days, we were out across the ocean on that fishing vessel. Bob: What did you and Martin talk about as you were on the boat? I mean, you had to be kind of trying to figure out: “What’s going to happen? How long is this going to go? How do we get out of this?” 4:00 Gracia: You know, we weren’t doing a whole lot of talking because we were trying to figure things out. We were trying to listen more than talk. Dennis: You said that, on that boat, the hardest thing, however, were your three children— Gracia: Yes, yes. Dennis: —and the memory of what was being taken away from you, at that point. Gracia: Yes. Right away, the words I'd spoken to my kids: "We'll be gone for one week," came back to me. I knew we weren't going to be gone for just one week. I knew it was—this was going to take a while. I felt so bad for them, and I started praying for them. Bob: And did you think that the ordeal would end—did it typically end with a ransom being paid?  Is that what had happened with the Europeans? Gracia: Yes. It always ended with a ransom being paid. 5:00 Bob: And so, did you think, “That's what will happen—somebody will come up with the ransom”? Gracia: Well, when they were going around the hostages—talking to each one, asking them, you know: “How much can your family pay for you?”—they got to Martin and me. They said: "We will treat you differently. We will ask for political concessions for you, and we will deal with you last." I kind of wish now that we had just said, "Well, you give us the phone; and we'll try to get a ransom together."  Bob: Yes. Gracia: We knew that New Tribes Mission would not pay a ransom. We never expected that because that would put all the missionaries in danger. Bob: Yes, I want to ask you about that because, after you got back, there was an article that appeared in Christianity Today—. Gracia: Oh, yes. Bob: —just because some folks may have read that. Gracia: Yes. Bob: There was some concern that maybe your heart was that New Tribes should have paid a ransom. Gracia: Yes, I don’t know how that happened. &n...
Captured For Ransom in the Philippines - Part 3
Nov 4 2019
Captured For Ransom in the Philippines - Part 3
Captured For Ransom in the Philippines - Part 1Captured For Ransom in the Philippines - Part 2Captured For Ransom in the Philippines - Part 3FamilyLife Today® Radio Transcript  References to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Rescued! Guest:                    Gracia Burnham           From the series:   In the Presence of My Enemies (Day 3 of 3)  Bob: Back in 2002, there was a story that made international news—the story of missionaries, Martin and Gracia Burnham, who had been taken hostage by Islamic terrorists in the Philippines. They were being held primarily for money—the terrorists wanted a ransom. Others, who had been taken captive with them, had ultimately been freed because that ransom had been paid. Here is Gracia Burnham. Gracia: My family arranged a ransom. Some of the money came into camp, and there was so much excitement. The leaders of the group called us over, and Martin and I sat down beside them. They said, "There’s a ransom been paid for you, but we've decided that it's not enough."  They said, "We're going to ask for more." I begged them not to do that—I told them: "This is not going to end well. Please don't do this." 1:00 Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, July 3rd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Gracia Burnham had no idea how prophetic her words to her captors were. We'll hear today about the concluding days of her captivity. Stay tuned. And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. Back in 2002/2003, many of us were praying for a husband and wife who had been captured by Islamic militants. They were being held for ransom somewhere in the Philippines. We had heard about this capture—we were praying for Martin and Gracia Burnham.  And then the news came that there had been a rescue attempt.   2:00 I remember it was in USA Today—it made national news—as U.S. forces, together with Philippine forces, attempted to rescue the hostages being held by these Islamic militants. It was not long after that rescue attempt that we had the opportunity to sit down with Gracia Burnham, who had shared the story of her captivity and the rescue in the book she’d written called In the Presence of My Enemies. That conversation is just as compelling, today, as it was back when it just happened, more than a decade ago. This week, we have been listening back to our interview as Gracia Burnham shared her story of the capture and the rescue attempt that happened back in 2003. [Previously Recorded Interview] Dennis: Gracia, welcome back to FamilyLife Today. Gracia: Thank you very much.  Dennis: She has written a book called In the Presence of My Enemies. Gracia, I remember that news report Bob’s talking about.  3:00 In fact, I can still remember where I was standing in my kitchen, looking at you on TV, hearing you plead for someone to pay the ransom for you to get out. I remember weeping with you—I thought, "Here is a sister in Christ, and a brother." You know, we had no idea the conditions you were living under, obviously. Bob: You had been taken captive by a terrorist group in the Philippines—a group with ties to al-Qaeda. They had captured you, along with 17 other people for the purpose of funding their operation. This is kind of their annual fundraising drive—is to take hostages and get the payoff. In your case, there wasn't going to be a payoff. Tell us about the videotape that Dennis saw. What were the conditions that led to that being shown on television? 4:00 Gracia: Oh my. Well, one morning, out of the clear blue, we were in a camp. It must not have been too far from civilization because there had been people come in and out of camp—just civilians—bringing notes and stuff like that. They came to us one morning and said: "There is a television reporter here to interview you. This is your chance to make a plea.” Then Abu Sabaya—one of the head guys—turned to me and said, "Gracia, if you could cry or something—that would help."  I looked at him and I said, "Sabaya, how many days of this captivity have you not seen me crying?"  [Laughter] And he said, "Oh, yes, that's going to be no problem for you." Bob: You'd been captive now for six, seven, eight months? Gracia: Yes, seven months, I think. Bob: All the other hostages, with the exception of one other woman— Gracia: —they were gone. 5:00 Bob:   So it was you, and Martin, and this other woman. The funding sources had dried up. This reporter was there to try to help them finish up their fund drive, basically. Gracia: Yes, and we were out of money. A lot of the other leaders had gotten tired of the whole thing and gone home—and taken the money with them—so, we were on our own. We were depending on supporters of the Abu Sayyaf in different villages to feed us. We were going from farm to farm, eating unripe fruit—just whatever we could find.  Bob:   It’s hard to imagine a scenario where a television reporter can come in and videotape something; and yet the Filipino government, which had been trying to affect a rescue, couldn’t come in and rescue you guys.  Gracia: That is hard to understand, except when you’ve been in the jungle. You can be several hundred feet from something and not see it for the foliage and everything. I remember—one day, we could hear the military over on the next ridge; but there was no way they could see us or we could see them.  6:00 It’s just dense jungle—so it’s not that difficult—maybe if their intelligence had been a bit better, they could have found us—but just by sight, trying to find us the way they were finding us, it was going to be a chance thing. Dennis: You mentioned earlier that in order to feed the number of captives, along with your captors, it took a lot of food. They actually killed civilians to be able to provide food for you. Gracia: Yes. There was one day they had us rest in this—kind of a logging area. A group of guys went off. As the day wore on and we sat there, I started to wonder. Then I heard gunfire not very far away. This group came back, and all of them w...