Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
By John’s Brothers
By John’s Brothers
When John first told me he had put together a book about his car wreck a flood of memories came back to me though it happened over forty years ago.
I remember people taking time out of their busy schedule to help me get from my college town (one hour away) to the hospital. I remember how bad my youngest brother looked in that hospital bed, yet how alert his mind was to the people around him, though his eyes were swollen shut from the car wreck. I remember how it was certainly a defining life or death time in his life that moved the whole family.
I am pleased that John has now told his story of the events that occurred related to this accident, so that many may also be ‘encouraged by the light’.
Joe Edwards, Jr.
Ft. Smith, Arkansas
I parked the car in the hospital parking lot and noticed a couple, friends of my parents, talking near their car. As I approached them it was obvious they had been crying. I was afraid John’s condition had worsened or even that we had lost him.
“No”, they explained. “It is your parents, how they are so strong in the middle of such a tragedy. Where do they get such strength and faith? We asked them and they said, ‘It is all God’s grace. If we are strong, it is His strength that is making us look strong. He is supplying everything we need right now’.”
“It is all God’s grace”. That’s so true of everything about John’s story. We have a God Who is so eager to make sure we experience His love. He doesn’t want us to live in hopelessness and despair but to find our purpose in Him. This amazing story about our amazing God and His revelation to my younger brother, John Edwards, is all about God’s grace and the revelation of His love in some very unusual ways.
I pray that as you read this true account you will be inspired by God’s creative revelation and that you, too, will be “encouraged by the Light”.
Thomas G. Edwards
Ft. Thornton, Colorado
August 6, 2009
The problem with releasing this book is that in doing so I am telling my story without the opportunity of receiving something interesting back from you about your faith journey. That makes me sad. But along came an idea of how a dialog can take place. I set up a web site. It is a blog. There is one blog entry for each item in the Table of Contents that contains story content. So, when you finish Chapter Two, “Prayer” you can select that topic from the blog archive list, make a comment and make the comment available in the way you desire, public or private.
You may do so by making yourself a logon at the book’s website mentioned below and on the last page of every one of the books parts. Perhaps in doing so an accumulation of information will help researchers to learn how to better research unusual, faith experiences.
After hearing my story my Uncle Louis told me about something special to his heart, how an angel came, lit up the room from his glow while there, and gave him reassurance. It happened during his turn while the family was watching and caring for his dying sister.
That is the whole reason why this book has an accompanying web site, so you can share your own stories from your faith journey. There is also a video on the page named “Take a Trip With Me to the City of Light” that allows you to take a virtual (pretend) animated trip to the City of Light. Use it to get more of a visual experience than the book ever could provide:
This book was originally only for those called by God to help us during our missionary ministry in Wycliffe Bible Translators. Those who provided us with prayer and financial support for 20 years—indeed a sacrifice worthy of a special ‘Thank You’. The plan was to send each in that faithful group a copy at the time of our retirement from missions. However, the need for an early, medical retirement changed everything.
Then a friend reminded me, “It takes no more additional work to make it available to my family, other friends, and the general public. Being given such a complete experience, you have responsibilities to those people as well.” In that way he, too, could get a copy. I decided, “If that is how he feels, maybe the book is of general interest.”
So, there is a new plan for Encouraged By the Light. It is to be available to the public through my book distributor www.amazon.com and also from the book’s web site www.encouragedbythelight.com. I will send our faithful prayer and financial partners an even more unique item, a Bible in an indigenous, minority language.
It is probably only right that my unique experience be available beyond the limited audience of that incredible collection of people. It is my story, given by God to Sharon, my wife, and I for those times when reflection and encouragement are needed, i.e. for when we are like the missionaries to whom this book is dedicated, “…in the trenches. Who is feeling forgotten, worn out, and discouraged.”—in need of a refreshing, second spiritual wind only God can provide.
It worked for us. It worked for ‘him’. I hope it encourages you, too!
There’s Confidence in Numbers
It took some six years to work out the confusion. If I had not kept everything to myself, we could have worked it out sooner. But what do you do when you are experiencing something completely new, that doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of life, at least the way we have known it.
“Soon we should be at the cabin.” “How is Tom going to work out that trip to Moffett, Oklahoma?” “I hope the sky clears, so we can see the stars tonight—sleepin’ under the stars is so fine.”
“Yes, we are supposed to be away from home. But we are not supposed to be in this place! Where is this place?”
“I need to raise my hand and ask Mrs. Wilson how coffee cracks your stomach.”
“People yelling… sirens blasting… What is going on? Why am I so dirty? I hope my new army grubs are okay.” “Who are these people?”
“Oh, no, this is Twerp Week! The dance is tonight. I better tell Dixie what is happening. Maybe I won’t be able to go.” “How do I find out what is happening?”
“My mind phases in. My mind phases out. All my brain’s marbles get tossed about!”
“I wish these people would leave my face alone. It stings when they do that.” “I wonder if they are trying to hurt me? I bet they are! I better fight like the Dickens.” “Hey, that’s not fair. I gotta use that hand to fight. Hey! You! I need my hands free to fight this fight.”
“Where are my glasses? I need to be able to see what I’m fighting.”
“Stop doing that to my face!”
“It is completely dark here, wheresoever here is.”
“I wonder what they mean when they say they want to know what is out there beyond the Universe?”
“Let’s see what was that formula for centrifugal force? What size tires are these?”
There is no telling how long I thought about any one thing. Nor how often the subjects in my mind shuffled about. I would change from being unconscious, to sleeping, to delirium, to John, and then to my favorite place, the farm in Sallisaw. (I attribute that There’s Confidence in Numbers)[...continued...]
Curfew in Fort Smith, Arkansas, on a Saturday night is 12:30 a.m.—at least it was on March 5, 1966. My buddy, Tom, dropped me off at home about 12:20. This gave him just enough time to get home before curfew.
I was seventeen years old and had lived in the area for eight years. Having grown up in the area, I was well into everything: an Eagle Scout, a member of the Methodist church, a member of the German Club, Hi–Y, Key Club, and Student Council. I was so busy organizing my time that junior year, I had started carrying a shirt pocket date book in my back pocket.
Up, Up, and Away
Mom had returned home from Grandmother’s house. Charlie’s parents were finally able to contact her. She came to me immediately. They ushered her into the emergency area and my room.
Mom contacted Richard’s parents to see if there was a telephone at Dixon’s Cabin where Dad was camping with the troop. Since there wasn’t, Richard’s dad decided to go to Dixon’s cabin, the location of the campout, and notify Dad. After that he would continue to drive to the University of Arkansas to retrieve my brother Joe. Richard’s dad also arranged for one of his employees to retrieve my middle brother Tom from John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.
That’s when new and different kinds of things started to happen. I started rising up out of my body. I was not far up, not even a foot above myself, still facing the ceiling and moving slowly when I did the impossible. With my eyes swollen shut I watched a nurse open the door but not enter the room. Instead she leaned over with her head in the room and then looked toward Mother. I listened and watched her tell Mom, “The doctor will see you now.”
I watched Mom rise from the chair and leave the room. By the time she was out and around the door, she was face to face with the doctor. At this time, I was ceiling high and hovering as if suspended from a tether. I was horizontal, floating, and facing down. I saw my body in the hospital bed as I was watching my Mother and Dr. Jim talk. I was watching them through a wall.
Right after hearing the initial parts of the conversation the doctor had with Mom, just outside my emergency room door, something even more amazing occurred. I went on an all expense paid, round–trip to another world.
After the gradual lifting out of my body, came a quick transition from being ceiling high to being surrounded completely in blackness—darkness blacker than I have ever experienced. Then far off in the distance, a white speck of light appeared. I do not know for sure if the speck appeared because I changed orientation or because I came closer to it. Both of the above could have occurred, a rotation similar to a space capsules getting into position using it’s retro rockets, while it is still traveling toward its objective. Once we were facing each other, the speck got larger as it got closer. It was my impression that the speck was stationary and I was moving toward it.
To Whom Shall We Listen?
It seems everyone has an opinion as to how NDEs come about. It also seems those opinions do not include the possibility that, “They are what they are.”
It only seems fair that we honestly examine all the opinions we can, and evaluate their contribution, if any, toward explaining the NDE phenomenon. We won’t prove anything by doing so, but I think we can eliminate a lot of opinions. It is amazing what can happen when an ‘opinion’ is held up next to ‘reason’.
One source of information is the original source, the many people who have had an NDE. That source has been evaluated through surveys of the representative populations in the NDE community really well. This has been done through Moody’s work, and now many other researchers, too. And to them I say, “Thank you.”[...continued...]
Being infatuated with the massive ‘knowledge engine’, if I may call it that, discovered moments earlier, I was eager to experiment and learn. I had already learned of the interconnectedness of everything. Uncle Cleve, noting my infatuation, made it known that one could move ‘right into’ this essence of knowledge. The desire to do so would cause it to happen. The essence of knowledge was a totally different “visual” environment. (Please see the illustration: “The ‘Knowledge Engine’ ”.) [The Illustration goes here or as close to here as is possible.]
The new environment was a kind of black and white world of interconnected lines with linkages on the end—large linkages. So large one could travel along the lines and climb the linkages. The links connected to form a junction larger than the combined thickness of the lines. A good example of the structure would be a Tinker Toy set, except in a Tinker Toy set the junctions are disproportionately large.
Agreement Between Scripture
and the Near-Death Experience
and the Near-Death Experience
I have no option but to accept my NDE as reality. I have no reason to dismiss it either. You, too, have no reason to dismiss it. But since it isn’t your own experience, you have no obligation to accept it.
As the author, if I persuade you, I wish to do so by reason not by any kind of pressure. And I want you to know, I understand if you don’t feel that you can accept my experience as real.*
What else could I do with my experience? I must assimilate my NDE into my philosophy of life and religion because it is a part of my life experience that can not be ignored, like so many other things that bring about who I am. Experiences that have the right attributes become a part of who I am, those that do not, don’t become a part of my life experience.
Unfortunately within my life experience is the trauma of being near many people who have died. Likewise, those incidents have all the attributes of reality. I have no reason to dismiss them, and no choice but to assimilate them. As a matter of fact if I didn’t deal with them as reality, I might find myself being checked out to see if I am normal.
The point being that things that happen to me, that are a part of reality, have to be dealt with by fitting them into my philosophy of life and religion. So, in order for an experience to become a part of me, it comes down to, “What kind of attributes accompany the experience? Are they the attributes we use to determine if the experience is real?”[...continued...]
Why Keep Him Hidden?
When a person nearly dies, there is no change. When a person dies, everything changes.
Dr. House, FOX Network
Dr. House, FOX Network
On December 27 I was about to call my middle brother, Tom, to wish him a happy birthday, when the phone rang scaring me, because I was so close to it. After I stopped shaking, I quickly answered it. My oldest brother, Joe, was on the line with the sad news that our Grandmother had just passed away at age 109.
So much can happen in an instance of time. On the news they may even use just one word to summarize some people’s lifetime, e.g. “He was Nixon’s Ambassador to Denmark.”
Where should our souls be anchored in order to make it safely through the diversities provided to us by life? I hope by the time we complete this book the answer will be obvious, the reason will be logical, and doing so will be as simple as it is intended to be.
The above news about grandmother caused many changes in our planned activities for the next two weeks. The mayhem that accompanies travel probably is the reason I did not encounter this news clip:
“Australia’s richest man, Kerry Packer, dies”
“By Michael Perry”
“Dec 27, 2005, 12:13”
“SYDNEY (Reuters) – …In 1990 Packer suffered a heart attack while playing polo in Sydney and was clinically dead for eight minutes until emergency medical officers revived him by electric shock treatment.
“ ‘The good news is there’s no devil. The bad news is there’s no heaven. There’s nothing,’ Packer said after the incident.…
“Packer, who controlled PBL, one of the country’s major media groups, died in his sleep overnight, local media reported on December 27, 2005. Packer was 68.”
We all read about it in the newspaper, heard about it on the radio, or the television, that is everyone else but me.
While most people are indeed changed radically toward a positive, more responsible world view from the NDE they had, Packer was not. From his conclusion of “There’s nothing [nobody but himself out there –jce.]” was how he derived that he was not obliged to be accountable to God or anyone else for the way he treated people. His NDE, through his interpretation, gave him permission to treat people as he wanted. His interpretation was, that there was no God to report to at the end of life, so he would do as he wants.[...continued...]