By Stan Friedman
SAN DIEGO, CA (February 7, 2013) – Midwinter Conference organizers were amazed and grateful to God when they learned two ministers were unhurt when the truck of supplies and equipment they were driving from Chicago to the San Diego conference was involved in an accident outside Elk City, Oklahoma, and flipped on its side.
Drivers Lisa Holmlund and Sarah Nelson say they sensed the protection of God even as the truck tipped on its side. Holmlund likened it to being in the center of a large cotton ball.
The accident occurred around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 31. Even as organizers celebrated that the two individuals were safe, they also had to figure out how to get the supplies to the conference in San Diego on Saturday. The conference started on Monday.
They also wondered how damaged the equipment might be. The trailer had been ripped open. Then there were the questions. How would they get another truck to the site? Who would transfer the equipment? Would they be able to get the equipment here in time? Click here to see additional photos.
Gerald Hall, a contractor and member of Westmoore Community Covenant Church in Oklahoma City, was working in the church building, where he was volunteering his labor as part of a major renovation project. He overheard the pastors talking about the wreck.
Hall says he immediately knew that he was supposed to drive the second truck to San Diego. Hall went home and told his wife. “She didn’t believe me. We’re always joking around.”
She shouldn’t have been too surprised. Hall coordinated a number of mission projects for the church, including several to La Villa Covenant Church, in La Villa, Texas, which had been nearly destroyed by a hurricane that also shredded area homes.
“He’s an amazing man,” says Pastor Allan Serrano.
“It doesn’t take that much to do anything – you just go do it,” says Hall, a thick-necked, barrel chested Okie with a thick accent.
Events Manager Luke Palmerlee arranged for a new rental truck. On Friday morning, Hall and Dave Lewis, who is in charge of Westmoore’s maintenance, picked up the vehicle and drove to Elk City about 120 miles away on Interstate 40. With them were two of Hall’s employees, who he paid for their time.
The team met Holmlund and Nelson, who had spent the night at a hotel in Elk City. “They were great. They just kept teasing us and making us laugh,” says Holmlund.
The crew transferred the equipment, and then Hall and Lewis drove to San Diego, arriving Saturday night. No one yet knew the extent of damage to the truck’s contents.
There was remarkably little damage, as it turned out. Most of the items remained intact. One of the items that was damaged, however, was the cello that Vicki Twigg was supposed to play Wednesday night. She was able to connect with one of the San Diego Symphony cellists who loaned her the musician’s valuable instrument and even brought it to the Town and Country Resort, where the event is being held.
As for Nelson and Holmlund – they’ve been working at the conference.