Jamie Field

Our family went to church for a while, but when the kids decided we didn’t want to go, our parents didn’t make us. My parents divorced when I was age three, and by age 5, I only went to church on Christmas and Easter. I was a stubborn kid who didn’t like being pushed. Although my dad and stepmom planted a seed about faith, it wasn’t my time to find God.
I was worried about other things, like being bullied, because I was the only white kid in my city neighborhood. I got into fights every year in school, and I fought back. I was just trying to fit in even though I looked different from everyone else. In 7th grade I was walking to the corner store and heard a gunshot. I moved toward the sound and saw a man who had just shot himself in the head. A year later, a guy I would see every day was killed in a nearby park. Both the dead man and the killer and used to hang out around my house. Death felt so close. It felt like it could happen to anyone, even to me.

In 1997, when I was a sophomore in high school, my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Many nights I cried myself to sleep. I didn’t want to be in high school. I didn’t want to be anywhere.

Students continued to pick fights with me. In my senior year, under the threat of expulsion, I finally walked away from a fight. It felt good.
My dad tried to talk to me about Jesus throughout his lengthy cancer treatments. Because I didn’t see it, or feel it, I didn’t believe it. Toward the end of my dad’s life, the pain medications affected his mind. He thought he saw the Devil. Because of the way I was living, I wondered, “Is it me?” When my dad died in March of 2001, the little faith I had was destroyed. I didn’t care if I lived or died.
On December 29, 2001, my life changed forever. I had been drinking with some friends in a local bar and left around 1:00 a.m. to walk my friend’s sister home. Then, I tried to find a nearby party. I was standing at my school bus stop when I saw six guys further up the street. One of them called out, asking whether I wanted to buy some weed. I replied “No,” but the kid came up to me, pulled out his revolver, and stuck it in my chest. He told me to empty my pockets, but I refused. I said that I knew his boys and he knew my boys, and I wasn’t going to give him anything. He put the gun right in my face. I didn’t care if I lived or died.
Then, he shot me once in the chest and ran. I fell forward, hitting my head on the pavement. I couldn’t feel my legs. I pushed myself onto my back and called for help. Just then, one of my friends came around the corner. He started banging on doors asking someone to call an ambulance. Other friends came out of their party and began smacking my face and trying to get me up. By the time the ambulance arrived, I was coughing up blood. The last thing I remember was grabbing the paramedic because I couldn’t breathe.
I spent the first month in the hospital in a medically-induced coma. Ultimately, I was hospitalized for five months, and then spent four more months in a rehabilitation facility in Philadelphia. I had to learn how to breath and how to eat. It took four months before I could close my fingers to grasp a fork. My mom’s home was fitted with an elevator, and I moved into her basement. I even learned to drive a lift-equipped van.

I often thought about my dad. He had been one of the country’s leading experts in handicapped accessibility, writing some of the building codes that were included in the Americans with Disabilities Act. I used to help him measure parking spaces. He made the country better for people with disabilities, and now here I was in a wheelchair.

Eventually, I started going out and began dating. After the breakup of a bad relationship, I wanted to find myself. I felt a calling to go to church and thought that if God really existed, there must be a reason. I didn’t have any foundation in the Bible and wanted to hear the Word. The fact that I was alive was a gift I didn’t want to waste. I wanted to find my purpose. I wanted to change the world, just like my dad had done. Little experiences in life began to build my faith and reassure me that I was on the right path.
I went to church every week for a year before telling anyone. I wanted to learn how to be by myself, to become comfortable being single, without needing someone to validate me. Although I did not meet Angela in church, I had been praying to meet a woman with her qualities. We became friends and enjoyed doing things together. I invited her to church. She hesitated at first, but now we regularly attend small group Bible studies together.
Eventually, I started going out and began dating. After the breakup of a bad relationship, I wanted to find myself. I felt a calling to go to church and thought that if God really existed, there must be a reason. I didn’t have any foundation in the Bible and wanted to hear the Word. The fact that I was alive was a gift I didn’t want to waste. I wanted to find my purpose. I wanted to change the world, just like my dad had done. Little experiences in life began to build my faith and reassure me that I was on the right path.
I went to church every week for a year before telling anyone. I wanted to learn how to be by myself, to become comfortable being single, without needing someone to validate me. Although I did not meet Angela in church, I had been praying to meet a woman with her qualities. We became friends and enjoyed doing things together. I invited her to church. She hesitated at first, but now we regularly attend small group Bible studies together.
In 2019 I decided to make a public profession of faith and was baptized. My church set up a big pool for baptisms, but not for me! I reclined my wheelchair and they poured water over my head. I was very grateful to have my girlfriend and many family members attend. Now, during the pandemic, I watch church services online. I look forward to the church reopening, so that I can serve in church.
I recently experienced a stroke in my eye and a temporary loss of vision. It was a scary time, but my faith got me through it. I prayed to God and thanked him for all he’s done for me. I put my life into his hands. Throughout my life, people have planted the seed that was to become my faith; I just had to water it and watch it grow.
Eventually, I started going out and began dating. After the breakup of a bad relationship, I wanted to find myself. I felt a calling to go to church and thought that if God really existed, there must be a reason. I didn’t have any foundation in the Bible and wanted to hear the Word. The fact that I was alive was a gift I didn’t want to waste. I wanted to find my purpose. I wanted to change the world, just like my dad had done. Little experiences in life began to build my faith and reassure me that I was on the right path.
I went to church every week for a year before telling anyone. I wanted to learn how to be by myself, to become comfortable being single, without needing someone to validate me. Although I did not meet Angela in church, I had been praying to meet a woman with her qualities. We became friends and enjoyed doing things together. I invited her to church. She hesitated at first, but now we regularly attend small group Bible studies together.
In 2019 I decided to make a public profession of faith and was baptized. My church set up a big pool for baptisms, but not for me! I reclined my wheelchair and they poured water over my head. I was very grateful to have my girlfriend and many family members attend. Now, during the pandemic, I watch church services online. I look forward to the church reopening, so that I can serve in church.
I recently experienced a stroke in my eye and a temporary loss of vision. It was a scary time, but my faith got me through it. I prayed to God and thanked him for all he’s done for me. I put my life into his hands. Throughout my life, people have planted the seed that was to become my faith; I just had to water it and watch it grow. In 2019 I decided to make a public profession of faith and was baptized. My church set up a big pool for baptisms, but not for me! I reclined my wheelchair and they poured water over my head. I was very grateful to have my girlfriend and many family members attend. Now, during the pandemic, I watch church services online. I look forward to the church reopening, so that I can serve in church.
I recently experienced a stroke in my eye and a temporary loss of vision. It was a scary time, but my faith got me through it. I prayed to God and thanked him for all he’s done for me. I put my life into his hands. Throughout my life, people have planted the seed that was to become my faith; I just had to water it and watch it grow.

Jamie Baptism

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