Today Michael drove me to the Orthopedic Institute in Columbus at Grant Hospital to evaluate my shoulder. We had a really good doctor who listened to all we said. I have had a lot of back and side pain. Many were concerned that I had broke my back. Praise the Lord that is not the case. My fractured ribs can account for the side pain. When I was thrown in the van, I had a very large bruise on my spine. My doctor believes the bleeding from the bruise is causing my back to hurt. Hopefully, it will feel better soon. Autumn’s hand is healing a little every day. The picture of her hand from the page Eternity” is not a before and after picture. It is a top and inside picture. The Lord was so good to preserve the top of her hand with minimal scaring. The inside (palm) and thumb is where all the scaring and stitches are. As you can see, it was messed up pretty badly. The surgeon was able to stretch her skin to keep her from having to have a skin graft. As the thumb is healing, some of it is still numb. She starts physical therapy in the two weeks.
My husband is the pastor of a small church. Joshua, Autumn, and Sarah (one of the girls in our church) are part of the orchestra. Wednesday evening, the 29th, Autumn picked up her bow and played in the church orchestra. Her bandages are still on and her fingers are very weak. Her bow hand was not what a teacher would have liked… but she played. To accomplish picking up a bow and being able to play even if it was not totally correct encouraged her to continue on.
Autumn’s nightmares are not any better. She was in the passenger side front seat. Of all of us in the van, she is the only one that saw everything. She saw the pole coming at us powerless to do anything about it. She was also trapped in the van for a least 20 min or more. The trauma of all this is hard for an adult to deal with let alone a young girl on the verge of womanhood. Her spirit is good during the day; her mind wakes up at night. Pray for us as we deal biblically with her fears. Pray for her that she will come to a deeper relationship with her Saviour as never before.
Sunday Joshua, Autumn, Melody, and Carissa will be singing the following song on Sunday morning. As they were practicing, the words to the song took on a stronger meaning. I pulled Autumn aside and quietly put my arm around her telling her that to sing these words would mean that she would have to really believe this was true. A small smile, as well as a light of understanding, came over her face.
A fear of the unknown is the fear many of us face if we were honest. Thank you for your prayers for us as we continue forward together serving our Saviour.
"How Can I Fear?"
By Ron Hamilton.
When shadows fall and the night covers all
There are things that my eyes cannot see.
I never fear, for the Saviour is near.
My LORD abides with me!
When I'm alone and I face the unknown
And I fear what the future may be,
I can depend on the strength of my Friend!
He walks along with me.
Jesus is King! He controls everything!
He is with me each night and each day.
I trust my soul to the Saviour's control;
He drives all fear away!
How can I fear? Jesus is near!
He ever watches over me!
Worries all cease; He gives me peace.
How can I fear with Jesus?
Isaiah 41:13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
What can grip ones heart, increase ones pulse, and keep one lying awake at night? What can take possession of a soul unlike anything else? What can get ones mind totally off of reality and onto the “what ifs”? What can allow a good day in the sunlight, but when darkness falls—the unwanted visitor grips the heart?
This word has been the subject of our home. This word has penetrated many of my children’s hearts these last couple of weeks. I myself have personally experienced this emotion that can overwhelm the natural mind and make one dwell on experiences that have or have not occurred.
Each of my children has different fears, all stemming from the traumatic event they experienced. Fear of crashing again, losing their parents, sleeping, fire, wind, burglars, the unknown, remembering, the dark.... All of these fears come at night when our thoughts are our very own. In the stillness of the dark, fear comes lurking.
Turning to the Word, the only truth that can help the soul, is the true remedy of fear. Resting in Christ is not just what you believe in your mind. One cannot just say I believe God, but it is what one is really trusting, resting in—a life that is acted out in obedience to His Word.
Memorizing God’s word, speaking of who He is, repeating over and over that God allows things in our lives for our good, repeating his promises, and listening to good music are all truths we dwell on.
Is God good? Yes! Can we trust Him? Yes! Resting in His Almighty arms is the solution of my soul. We will trust Him moment by moment.
Palms 23: 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalms 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Psams46: 2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Ps 188:6 The LORD [is] on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?
Proverbs 1:33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
Proverbs 3:25 Be not afraid of sudden fear…
Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness
Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
II Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Psalms 139:10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
Ps 57:1 Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until [these] calamities be overpast.
Ps 63:7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord Psalms 127:3a
I am grateful for all of the reminders that each of our children is still with us.
We have had a couple of sick kids the last several days. I can’t wait to get one night of full sleep. What is that like? I can’t seem to remember! Autumn got up because her hand was hurting. Serenity wet her bed and coughed the rest of the night. Mercy was up two times because of a fever and a stuffy nose. Poor Stephen could not find his stuffed pooh bear he sleeps with every night. He must have lost it in his sleep.
How good God is to give us children to raise and care for His glory.
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:14
One moment of time, one second of inattention, one glance in the opposite direction, can change a person's life here on earth forever. I didn’t know that when we left the house at 3:00 p.m., October 10, 2008, in a matter of one hour, our lives would be different. My little girl’s hand would have a new form, I would have a new perspective on life, and God’s glory would shine through a dark cloud in our life.
Eternity. A word I have contemplated these last two weeks. A word that stretches ones mind; contemplating a concept that our earthly minds can barely grasp. Was I ready? Were my children ready? Had I done all for Christ?
Spiritually, I knew that if I had not awakened on this earth, I would have opened my eyes in heaven. In the spring of 1995, I recognized my sinfulness before a holy, just God. I came to realize that all of my good behavior, my church attendance, my religious upbringing, my baptism, my Sunday school teaching, my Godly parents, my knowledge of Christ's burial, death and, resurrection were not the confidence I needed to meet a Holy God.
With the knowledge that Christ paid for my sin debt--the sins that were already sending me away from God to a place called Hell--I bowed my head humbly and acknowledged my need of Christ to save me from my sin and accepted His free gift of Salvation. He had paid the debt that I could not pay here on this earth. He had taken my sins on Himself when He died on that cross. At that moment, my life was no longer my own; I now belonged to my dear Savior.
But, had I done all I could for Christ? Could I honestly stand before God and say that I had finished my course? One of the first things Autumn said to me when I walked into her hospital room at midnight, October 10, was, “Mommy, God has something special for me.” She was echoing the wisdom her Papa had shared with her sometime before her surgery. Yes, God does have something special for her. He has something special for me, my other children, and for you as well. What a wonderful God we serve!
Someday, when Autumn goes to meet Jesus, she will have new body. Her hands will be whole and her colon will be intact. With outstretched hands she will praise the Savior for His loving kindness to us here on this earth.
The song writer says:
I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
Who died upon the cruel tree?
To think of His great sacrifice at Calv'ry!
I know my Lord expects the best from me.
The hours that I have wasted are so many,
The hours I've spent for Christ so few;
Because of all my lack of love for Jesus,
I wonder if His heart is breaking too.
I wonder, have I cared enough for others,
Or have I let them die alone?
I might have helped a wand'rer to the Savior,
The seed of precious Life I might have sown.
No longer will I stay within the valley,
I'll climb to mountain heights above;
The world is dying now for want of someone,
To tell them of the Savior's matchless love.
How many are the lost that I have lifted?
How many are the chained I've helped to free?
I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
When He has done so much for me?
Psalms 29:2 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
Words do not express how much I love my Savior. Some people have expressed what great faith we have. This is really not the case. I know my Savior loves us and my children far more than I can comprehend. When trials enter my life, I can either buck my head against the brick wall of the trial or I can stop and get on my knees asking the Lord for his strength and power to see me through. The latter just makes more sense to me. I need the Lord so much for my daily walk, I can not imagine life without a loving Savior who can comfort and heal.
We are slowing getting back into our new normal schedule. The children are doing well. We talk about the accident together as it comes up here and there. Serenity (3) and Stephen (5) speak about it a lot in normal conversation.
Last night, I heard a little whimpering around 3:00am, I followed the sound to Serenity’s room. I knelt by her bed and asked her what was wrong
“I dreamed we were upside down in the car.” She said.
After praying together, I climbed back into bed, again reminded how much all of us need to heal emotionally.
Melody and Carissa are doing well. Sometimes at night, I will come down and talk with them before they go to sleep. One evening, a couple of nights ago, I asked them if they were afraid to sleep. They were both very quiet, and then Carissa very quietly said,
‘”When I am afraid, I say Psalms 91, the verses that we learned.”
Then they quietly started quoting them together. As a mother, it is a comfort to know that my children have the Lord to hold on to. I did not know how the Lord was going to use these verses in my children’s life when we memorized them as a family a year a go.
Autumn hand is healing very nicely. It still has many open areas that will close eventually. There does not seem to be any infection. We go to the Orthopedic Institute in Columbus again on Thursday to evaluate how she is doing. She is having phantom pain in the fingers that she lost. This can be very frustrating and hard to deal with. She tells me that the fingers feel as if they are still there and sometimes they hurt.
I did break a couple ribs, which nothing can be done. They just need to heal. I go see the Orthopedic for my shoulder a week from Thursday to evaluate what needs to be done in the future.
Thank you for your prayers,
We were on the road one minute, and flipped the next. When the van came to a stop I, Autumn, couldn’t believe it had happened. You know when you see or hear about an accident you don’t really think about it happening to you. I think it’s about the scariest thing that has ever happened to me! I guess you have heard about me losing two of my fingers. It doesn’t really look that bad! After the accident I kept thinking about all that had happened. A couple of years before that mommy had our family memorize Ps 91:1-5. It has been a big help. God has given me the strength to be happy about it.
When I was 5 I knew that I was a sinner but Jesus had died for my sins, and was buried, and rose again. I asked Jesus to take away my sins. That’s how I know, if I wouldn’t have made it, I would have gone to heaven! Thank you for all your prayers.
Autumn Kay De Leon
Autumn wanted to write in her own words about the accident. She typed this with her left hand using one finger. :) Nothing was changed except some mispelled words. I hope this blessed your heart as it did ours.
Ps 59:16, 17 But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble. Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defense, and the God of my mercy.
Psalm 59:9, 10 Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defense. The God of my mercy shall prevent me: God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies.
A friend of mine sent me these verses that ministered to my soul. Thank you. So many people have been so kind: cards, e-mails, phone calls, meals, kind words, prayers and so much love.
Thanks to the community for rescuing all of us at the accident site, and loving my children when I was not around. The fire chief of New Concord, Brent Gates, and all his crew are heroes in our eyes. He took care of each of them as if they were his own. The three teens who were the first at the scene gathered my children around them until help arrived. Tom, who held Autumn’s hand until Daddy arrived, and all the other people who assisted… thank you.
Thursday we went to the orthopedic institute to have the surgeon unwrap the bandages around her hand to look how the surgery took. Many feelings were coursing through my heart as they worked to remove the bandages. My husband was very quiet. Autumn was her normal chatty self. Looking at her hand, as they unwrapped it for the first time, I saw the reality of the accident. Honestly, my heart was broken because my one moment of distraction caused her life to be changed forever. On the other hand, the Lord’s providence worked hand in hand with man’s actions. The Lord has now given her a different hand to be used for His will.
As my eyes swelled with tears for her, she reached over and patted me on the back, comforting me. I should be comforting her, but she said, “Mom, it’s okay. I can move it and I still have my thumb and I still have my life!”
The surgery looked like it took well. There are still some open wounds that need to heal. My job is to soak it every evening in Peroxide and water and rewrap it. Please pray for complete healing and no infection.
I was having pain in my side that steadily increased. By the time we left Columbus, I was in a lot of pain: moving, talking, and laughing. On the way home, I was able to get in to see my Doctor in Zanesville. Now, I can add another “owy” to my aches and pain. When I tumbled in the van, I broke some ribs. Very painful!!
My brothers: Ben and Dayna and their two children and Paul and Jill and their three children came in last night to give us a helping hand. My house is now clean and organized, even down to my kitchen drawers.
After all the children were in bed, what a blessing to talk of the things of the Lord and pray together. Our comfort truly is in our Wonderful Savior who wants so much more for us than were could ever plan for ourselves.
Please pray for Zoe, my little niece who is fighting for her life right now in surgery. www.treasureinafield.com. What an amazing God we serve!
Can 19 people live in one small house and use one bathroom? Yes, very entertaining!
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. 5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. 11For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. 13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. 14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. 15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
Last night, I meditated on these precious verses. The comfort of the Almighty’s protection is overwhelming. God is good to allow all of my children to live through that horrible accident. As I got to meditating on how good God is, I thought, no, God would have still been good if he had called one of us home to Him. I do not say these words lightly. Even now, the sounds of the screams of my children echo in my ears. Autumn’s cry for help, that I could not heed, still races through my mind. I am reminded that God is good, but a better way to say it is, His mercy was manifested by allowing me to have my children a little longer.
We are going on with normal life, although, now it is a new normal. My sister-in law from South Carolina is here to help with my children. She has done an amazing job taking over the meals, school, and, cleaning. Joshua has continued to be a blessing helping wherever needed. The other children have continued homeschooling half days.
We are keeping Autumn comfortable with pain medicine. Because of this, she is her cheerful self. Walking around, talking, and talking.  Anyone that knows Autumn, knows she can. She is sleeping well. We put her on the living room couch so we can give her medicine to her better throughout the night. We see the Surgeon on Thursday morning in Columbus. They will unwrap her hand and evaluate how well the surgery took.
I am very tired. The accident threw me behind the passenger side seat. I had my seatbelt on but, it must not have worked. From looking at the car, blood is on the seatbelt and the steering wheel. Because of being thrown, I have many aches and pains. I look like I was is a fight and lost.  I see the orthopedic doctor on the 24th to evaluate the shoulder I separated.
Thank you for all the prayer, kind word, calls, and email. Each one is very precious to us. Already we have seen God using this tragedy for good in our community. Brent, the Fire Chief of New Concord, had tears in his eyes as he told us how much he was impacted by our children’s attitudes during and after the accident.
On the funny side, Autumn kept saying, “yes sir and no sir” to the firemen and medical personel that helped her. They told her, “Honey you don’t have to call us that” her response was, “Yes sir”. Habits are hard to break.
Please continue to pray for our community, our testimony, and for many to come to a saving knowledge of Christ.
Cassandra De Leon
The Lord is Good. His mercy's are everlasting and His truth endureth for all generations.
Many people have asked what happened. On October 10, I (Cassandra) left the house at 3:00 on Friday afternoon (Oct. 10) to drop off three of my children at Stacie's house (a friend at church). The car was packed with suitcases, pillows and all 8 of our children. Joshua, 13, was sitting in the front passenger side. I asked him to trade places with Autumn because I wanted to talk to her on the way. I remember he willingly gave up his seat with a sweet spirit. Autumn, 12, was now sitting in the passenger side and Joshua was behind her. Next to him was Mercy Anna, our 13 month old, in a 5 point harness. In the second bench seat was Melody, 10, Carissa, 9, and Serenity, 3. Serenity was in a booster seat. In the third bench was Timothy, 6, in a booster seat, and Stephen, 5, in a booster seat. We were heading south on 83. After thinking it over, I remember looking in the left side view mirror and when I looked up, I saw us going off the road. But I was too late, the embankment was steep and I saw a pole coming at us. I tried to swerve, all the children were screaming; I knew we were going to hit the telephone pole. I turned the wheel and we hit and somehow we rolled. The van was upside down, I had blood all in my face and eyes. All I kept thinking was, "I need to turn the engine off." I asked the Lord for strength and He allowed me to find the ignition. I knew if it was kept on we might blow. Next I unhooked Autumn's seat belt. Joshua was getting Mercy out. He succeeded in getting all the children out with the help off some teenagers. I knew I had to get out but I didn't want to leave Autumn. She was screaming.
With the help of some men, I was able to scoot out on my back. I left my foot in the wreck so Autumn could see some of me. Autumn's hand was caught under the car. When the car rolled, the car landed on her hand, pinning it to the ground. We sang, "The Lord is my shepherd" together until Daddy arrived. Tom, a man from our local middle school, held her hand. The Lord brought him as an angel of mercy to stay with Autumn until Daddy got there.
I was taken to Good Samaritan hospital and transferred to Grant in Columbus. Michael asked Joshua to go with Autumn, so he went with her in the ambulance to Good Samaritan. She was later life-flighted to Nationwide Children's hospital in Columbus. Before she left, I was able to say goodbye to her because they put us in the same trauma room together before they transported us to different places. I told her I could not come with her and Daddy could not come (he was with the other children). That was the hardest thing I had to say to her. I told her that Jesus was with her. Then I remembered that my Dad was already on his way to see us heading east on 70. So I promised her Papa would be there at Children's when she got there and she calmed down some.
Miraculously, my Dad (Papa) arrived at Children's 5 minutes before the helicopter did. (Michael had called him and asked him to go right to Children's when he heard Autumn was headed there). She had immediate surgery on her hand. She had an excellent surgeon who specializes in hand and finger surgeries. She lost her right pinky and ring finger, but kept her life. Her thumb was able to be saved.
I separated my shoulder, lacerated and fractured my nose and have many bruises. My face is pretty banged up; I have two black eyes. I was discharged from Grant at midnight. Pastor Bob Shaw and his wife Karen came to be with me, as well as Don and Kristy. What a comfort to have that human touch. My clothes were ruined in the wreck and I had nothing to wear. The Shaw's graciously went out and purchased everything I needed.
Melody was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital. Joshua was already there with Autumn so when she flew out, Joshua was able to comfort her until Ron Hinebaugh (from our church) and Perry Griffin (a visiting missionary) arrived. The other children were taken to Bethesda hospital to be checked out. My husband was with them with several other folks from church. Serenity was being checked out in the ER, she said, "Have you ever been in a crash and gone upside down?" Everyone had bruises but were miraculously not seriously injured. After several of them had CAT scans and were watched for a few hours, they were released.
We are so thankful for our dear church folks who helped us and did what needed to be done—especially staying with the younger children so Michael could get to Children's hospital to be with Autumn.
I still can not believe all the miracles that took place. God allowed the accident, but comforted us all along the way. My mind kept going over and over the verses in Isaiah 41:10 and Psalm 131.
We are praising the Lord for life and protection and for every little miracle. Here are a few of the more significant ones for which we give our Savior Jesus Christ all praise:
1. No one was killed. We still have all of our precious children with us.
>2. Joshua couldn't have fit in the tiny space Autumn had fallen in during the accident. It was providential that he was in the second seat and not in the front where Autumn was.
3. Autumn's head landed on her pillow. She does not have any bruises or head wounds because of this.
4. All the children's bucked secured them. I'm told the children received their injuries when they unbuckled themselves and fell out off their seats after the accident.
5. Joshua was the rock that kept all my children together and accounted for. The Lord gave him unusual strength to do what needed to be done.
6. My Dad was with Autumn the entire time at children's until Daddy (Michael) could come.
7. Autumn had a Christian nurse who cried with us and got on her knees beside the bed and prayed with all of us. We already knew her from the many previous times Autumn had been on this floor.
8. She had the best surgeon around.
9. We have the most wonderful Lord to comfort us.
The first thing Autumn told me when I saw her was, God has something special for me! Her Papa told her that! Amen!
Many of my children our suffering more emotionally know. Even I have to pray and sing and quote scripture to keep my mind off the accident. Pray especially for Joshua, Autumn and I, as well as the rest of the older children as we struggle with reliving the events. Please pray for physical and well as emotion healing. We know the Lord is the Great Physician of the mind and soul. We can trust Him.
My nephew has a quote, "God is good all the time, all the time God is Good". Amen!
Thank you all for praying for us. Your love and care is a great testimony to the grace of our Savior. May He be glorified in it all!
Cassandra De Leon
Our wrecked 15-passenger van
God reached down in love and rescued Cassandra from her sin at the age of 21: changing her life, purpose, and focus forever.