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Man Shares His Experience with the Power of Prayer

Thomas should have died. After a dirt bike accident nearly killed him, Thomas shares his story of the power of prayer. Read Transcript

- We just started hittin' the trail

and I was givin' her my all,tryin' to keep up with him.

- [Narrator] 19-year-olds TylerRosema and Thomas Schoonbeck

had ridden this trail many times.

Today, Tyler had fallenbehind as Thomas disappeared

around a bend.

- He was settin' a mean pace, man.

I couldn't keep up with him at all.

- [Narrator] When Tyler turned the corner,

he found Thomas rolling onthe ground gasping for breath.

He never saw the cable thathad been stretched across

the trail at neck high.

- When he rolled on his back,I heard the gurgling blood,

that's when he was sayin',"Oh, I can't breathe,

"oh, I can't breathe."

so I knew it was a diresituation at that point.

- [Narrator] With Thomas hanging on,

Tyler got the two of them back to his car

and headed for the hospital.

- He's rockin' back andforth, (gasping sounds)

can't breathe, can't breathe.

I said, hang in there,man, we're almost there.

We're gonna get you to thehospital, it's gonna be alright.

- [Narrator] On the way,he called Thomas' parents,

Dave and Tonya Schoonbeck.

He met them in the hospital lobby.

- Knowing Tyler the wayI do, when he walked up

and I saw his face, Iknew that it wasn't good.

So I go back there and there's my son.

All I can see is a lacerationfrom here, you know,

it's like a big scrape across his neck.

I just looked at the doctor and I said,

so what are we gonna do?

And he said, "This is life threatening."

And I said, well what do youmean this is life threatening?

He said, "This is life threatening."

- [Narrator] A CT scanrevealed that the cable

had severed Thomas' windpipe.

- I said, Lord, if you'regonna take him home,

you need to tell me now.

And the Lord said, "Youdon't go by what you see,

"you don't go by whatyou hear, you fight."

- [Narrators] Doctors inserteda trach and put Thomas

in a medically-induced comaso he could be airlifted

to the University of Michigan Hospital

for emergency surgery.

The family had a few minuteswith him before they left.

- I just bent over and prayed with him,

and told him again, youremember what the Lord said,

you fight, you're gonna live.

You don't go by what yousee, or go by what you hear,

you're gonna live.

And again, I know that I knowthat the Lord at that time

was just keeping me.

- [Narrator] By thetime the chopper landed,

it was clear Thomas would live,

but he was still in critical condition.

- He was clearly very sick,and had been very sick

from the injury.

- [Narrator] Dr. RishindraRedddy was Thomas' surgeon.

- The fact that he was ableto survive for that first

however long, half an hour,an hour, it was for him

to get from the site ofinjury to the emergency room,

still very surprised by that.

- [Narrator] Dr. Reddy toldthe Schoonbecks there was

no guarantee their son wouldbe able to talk or even eat

and breathe on his own.

- Going into the operation,

I wasn't 100% sure what we would find.

It's not so much doing the repair

and hooking things back together,it's doing the dissection,

making sure we don't injureother vital structures.

- They were worried aboutscarring and what that would

cost him in long term.

They really, at this point,still don't know if he's

ever going to be able tobe off the feeding tube.

- [Narrator] Tonya andDave asked their friends

and family to pray.

- Oh my goodness, yeah, mywhole church was praying.

I mean, there was prayer chainsgoing on all over the place.

- [Narrator] Even thoughone of Thomas' vocal cords

was left paralyzed, Dr. Reddydeemed that the three-hour

surgery a success.

- And I was even happierwhen we realized at least one

of his vocal cords was stillin tact, and that meant

that ultimately he would be able to talk,

and be able to breathe normally,and hopefully eat normally,

and things like that.

- The first time I sawhim, I just remember,

I was huggin' him and lovin'him and just praying with him.

- [Narrator] Prayer continuedfor Thomas as each day

brought small improvements.

He started speaking with a whisper,

and after several weeks,was able to go home.

Then after three months ofrehab, they took out the trach

and the feeding tube, andThomas was ready for a snack.

- And so, yeah, I went andgot a Dr. Pepper and like

a Snickers or something, and it was great.

Yeah, it was like a glorious moment.

- [Narrator] Today, Thomas isa student at Regent University

with plans to work in youthministry and share his story

about the power of prayer.

- When Christians are obedientto the discipline of prayer,

and they act in faith,God responds to that.

Things happen, you know, Idefinitely gave him the glory

and just the thanksgiving for being alive.

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