JBQ Sponsor Miraculously Survives Church Bus Rollover
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Grant, lead pastor of First Assembly since 2011, but on staff since 2000, says that Saturday afternoon he received a call notifying him that the church bus, returning from a Junior Bible Quiz (JBQ) meet in Gallatin — about 30 miles northeast of Nashville — was involved in a serious rollover accident. Although no one was killed, a JBQ sponsor was seriously injured, but she also has a miraculous story.
According to Grant, a large pick-up truck pulling a trailer had been pulled off on the shoulder of the eight-lane highway near Cool Springs, about 15 miles south of Nashville. When the pick-up attempted to pull back onto the highway, evidently it failed to see another vehicle in the first lane. That vehicle struck the trailer then ricocheted into the passenger rear of the church bus, causing the driver to lose control. The bus, rocking violently, flipped onto its side and slid onto the shoulder and into the ditch.
There were four adults and only two children on the bus at the time of the accident as most of the children, although they took the church bus to the JBQ meet, decided to go home with their parents who drove up later in the day. All but one sponsor were mostly dealing with cuts, bruises, and sore muscles from the accident — but the sponsor’s story is nothing short of a miracle.
For privacy purposes, Grant didn’t share the name of the woman sponsor, but he has visited her at the Vanderbilt University Hospital where she shared the account with him. Remarkably, she had a vivid recollection of the entire sequence.
“She was by a window of our 15-passenger bus (not a van),” Grant recounts. “The bus has big, large windows. As the bus was spiraling then rocking back and forth, she was thrown through the glass. She told me she remembers seeing the truck start pulling onto the road and seeing the other car coming and thinking, ‘Oh no, this isn’t going to be good!’”
The sponsor, Grant says, “remembers being outside of the bus and then it rolled over onto its side and on top of her, dragging her and pinning her underneath it onto the shoulder and into the ditch.”
In order to rescue her, emergency workers had to cut some of the metal of the bus and then insert an air bag to lift the bus off of her, where she was then taken by ambulance to the Vanderbilt hospital.
The sponsor’s injuries, however, were significant. Grant says that her pelvis was broken in three places, she has some broken ribs, a broken clavicle, knee and shoulder damage, lacerations, and quite a bit of road rash from being dragged under bus.
“She’s in remarkably good spirits,” Grant says. “Doctors believe she is going to make a full recovery . . . she is one tough lady!”
Grant says he’s so thankful that God miraculously spared the sponsor’s life and no one else was seriously hurt. He’s also thankful that so many of the children had decided to go home with their parents.
“I’m so proud of our JBQ leaders who were on the bus,” Grant says. “They’re such wonderful people. One of them was an EMT for many years, and they remained calm throughout the ordeal . . . the Lord was with them every step of the way.”
Grant also expressed his deep gratitude for district leaders who came in person to visit the sponsor in the hospital and pray for her. He is also thankful for the many other pastors in the district and in the community who called and expressed their concern and kept the church and the sponsor in specific prayer on Sunday.
“I even got a call from Martha Tennison,” Grant says. “Sister Tennison, whose church (First AG in Radcliff, Kentucky) experienced that terrible church bus and drunk driver accident where so many died. She told me that she was praying for me, and I really needed that. Then she said, ‘Thank God, no one died.’ I just can’t imagine how she and Brother Don (her husband, now deceased) made it through that.”
Grant says that the state police have already cleared the church bus driver of any fault.
And through it all, Grant says, the prayers and support of so many have made a difference.
“This could have ended in such a tragedy, and I’m so thankful to God that instead of planning funerals, we’re planning a homecoming,” Grant says. “It’s been such a blessing to literally feel the prayers. And I’m so proud of the Tennessee district, and the district leadership has been amazing . . . I’m just so thankful. I am proud to be a part of the Assemblies of God. It has just been a blessing!”