When Donna Schmidt, a Salem-area public school teacher, sought the reason why two of her students were absent, she discovered that their older brother, Colian Mariscal, 19, had been seriously injured at work. Only minutes into Colian’s morning shift at a Turner, Oregon, sawmill, an enormous chainsaw caught his arm and wrenched it from his body.
Colian was airlifted to Oregon Health Sciences University Hospital in Portland, where doctors reattached his arm. “Lord,” Colian’s father, Gabriel, prayed. “I only ask you that you save my son’s life. It does not matter if he loses his arm.”
Though this family didn’t speak English, Donna was determined to speak with them about the hope we have through Jesus. She immediately called Ramon Canals, then the Oregon Conference Spanish coordinator, and asked his advice. “This is a family that is going through a terrible tragedy, and we need to help them,” Donna explained.
“Donna, don’t worry,” Ramon replied. “Somebody will visit that family and comfort them spiritually.” Ramon contacted Evelio Miranda, the Salem Hispanic Church pastor, who visited Colian’s family and prayed for them.
Meanwhile, Colian’s doctors doubted if he would survive. His entire family was crying inconsolably when Evelio Miranda arrived at the hospital. He spoke about Christ’s healing power and prayed for them and Colian.
“My husband and I have promised God that if he saves our son from death, we will go together to the church on our knees,” confessed Colian’s mother, a Catholic. Colian’s father also promised he would visit the church closest to their home—by providence, the Salem Spanish Adventist Church.
Donna continued visiting the family at the hospital, even bringing food right to the waiting room. Though communication was difficult, she never lost the chance to share through love—the language of heaven.
The following two months dragged for the Mariscals while Colian’s life remained in jeopardy. But in the end, the Lord granted a miracle, and Colian came home.
After returning home, the Mariscals began attending the Adventist church each Sabbath, and Rosalio Gaona, church missionary director, studied the Bible with them in their home.
God's ways are mysterious. Who can comprehend them? A public school teacher. A pastor. A member. A loving church. All these God used to bring people to Him in response to a tragedy.
The Lord granted Colian’s miracle, and the Mariscal family did as promised—not with their knees, but with surrendered hearts.