Yesterday I introduced you to our Academic Advisors. They are caring women who not only advise and counsel the students, but instruct them as well. They help them with finances, education planning, relationship issues, vocational training, behavioral counseling and an untold number of other things.
Erin Luchterhand, an Academic Advisor and Instructor for the Math & Money Skills and Personal Finance classes, does something special with her advising group. I asked her to tell you about it:
“Every Thursday when school is in session, I meet with my advising students in the small conference room of the Wood Center. We discuss upcoming events, CAM money and other important issues, and the rest of the time I read a book called ‘Miracle for Jen’ to my students. It’s the story about Jennifer Barrick, a girl I met in college.
In the fall of my sophomore year at Liberty University, the Barrick family - Andy, Linda and their children Jen and Josh - were headed home after a concert at Thomas Road Baptist Church. Less than a mile from their house, they were hit head-on by a drunk driver going 80 miles an hour with his headlights off.
The entire family suffered injuries and, once medical personnel arrived, were flown to four different hospitals. Josh, age 11, had the least amount of injuries. Andy and Linda endured bone, muscular and nerve damage, but Jen, only a sophomore in high school, suffered from a traumatic brain injury. At the scene of the accident, Jen’s response was that of a dead person. When she was brought to the hospital in Lynchburg, the surgeon immediately drilled a hole in her head and put in a bolt to relieve the pressure on her brain.
Jen stayed in a coma for five weeks. As she was slowly coming out of her coma, Jen would wake up praying. She could not remember that 2+2=4, or that she had a brother, but she could remember praise songs and Scripture. Jen continued to progress and go through physical therapy.
I met Jen about three years after her accident when my college roommate was working with her in school. My roommate would hang out with Jen and then we would all go to dinner, to the mall or to a movie together. At the time, Jen struggled with managing money and she continues to struggle with emotions, sensory issues, stomach problems and headaches. Jen went from being an enthusiastic high school girl who was praying for boldness in sharing her faith, to someone with no filters who constantly shares her faith with everyone.
Jen and her mom Linda have been travelling to speaking events to share their story. They’ve also started a ministry, Hope Out Loud.
I had known Linda was writing a book even before I moved here from Virginia. ‘Miracle for Jen’ was released earlier this year. The story describes the accident, the recovery, the prayers, the desperation for God, and how God was and is working through the pain, the brain injury and the ministry the Barrick’s now have.
The book is incredible and I’m in the process of reading it to my advising students in order to instill in them that God created them and wants to use them because of their disability, not in spite of their disability. Cody, one of my students, said to me, ‘You mean that God wants us to view our disabilities as blessings and not burdens?’
I let my friend Stephanie know that I was reading the book to my students and why, and she told Linda and Jen. Linda asked me to email her what we had been doing so that she could send the story to the publisher. I told Linda that the book was impacting our students in a way that allowed them to see that God wants us for who we are, not in spite of anything.
Slowly, but surely, I trust that this truth will sink in for each student."
|Mrs. Luchterhand's Advising Students|
"May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at www.shepherdscollege.edu.