Monday, June 29, 2009


Last night, June 28, our world was rocked pretty hard. We met Jacob at the hospital, and through various accounts from him and from people on the scene, we pieced together a still murky picture of what happened. Apparently at Rio Del Mar beach, at the flats, where he was having a bonfire with a group of friends, they heard a crash and ran over to see downed trees and power lines in the trees across the road. While with his group of friends, Jake attempted to put out a small fire on part of a tree, which was when his friends heard something they describe as an explosion and what was like fire coursing down his whole body. He suffered a concussion and severe electrocution, causing burn spots on his head, neck, hands, arms, chest, feet, and backside, all ranging in severity, with mostly 2nd and 3rd degree burns.
He was taken to Dominican, where the doctors made sure we knew that it was a miracle that he was alive, let alone was conscious and could communicate with us. It is remarkable what a blow his body has taken yet how functional he still is. He is, of course, an ornery and difficult patient. He kept wanting to sit up and his bandages kept coming off. He was extremely thirsty, but the doctors didn't want to put anything in his stomach. He therefore began to bribe and try to weasel his way into getting some water, and eventually got some. He was supposed to just rinse his mouth, but my dad watched him sneak a sip.
His sense of humor was still intact (although I'm sure it was a lot of the drugs talking). The humor even went over the nurses heads. He looked down at his chest at one point and said "Where's my nipple? I want a new nipple." (His nipple was a little red and swollen. It's not gone.)
Later he mentioned that he felt like a had a "Barney sitting on his chest." We asked him "What do you mean by Barney?" He replied: "A big purple dinosaur."

At 3 AM this morning he was transferred from Dominican to the burn center at Valley Medical. The assessment at the burn center by the doctors expressed that his state is much worse than initially expected. The visible wounds are only tips of icebergs. Just a few hours ago they performed surgery on his arm to relieve swelling of the muscle; there is a potential of losing his arm. His kidney's are being constantly monitored for possible failure because of all the interior scar tissue that is being filtered by his body. He has a tube going straight to his heart for medication in the event of heart failure/a heart condition. In some areas, it is possible that he has interior burns similar to those exterior. In the doctor's own words: "He will be fighting for his arm, and for his life."
It is going to be a long haul. There is already a team of at least 5 doctors, psychologists, and therapists that will work with not only Jacob but also my parents. I am deathly afraid that this will not be over by the time i need to be back at college. It will be a roller coaster; he will be better one day and worse the next. And yet God sustains.
Emotions are rampant in my family and our close friends. Our entire world now is contained inside of sterilized walls. My heart is for my fallen brother. I want nothing less than to see him confronted with the crazy, foolhardy, savage, desperate love of God.
Here is a snipet from my journal entry the morning before this all happened:

"How crazy and mind-blowing it is when we take the "Love is..." statements in 1 Corinthians 13 and apply those to GOD! Since God is love, 1 Corinthians 13, from God's point of view, thus says: MY LOVE is patient and kind. MY LOVE does not envy or boast. MY LOVE is not arrogant or rude. (This next one blows my mind...) MY LOVE does not insist on its own way. MY LOVE is not irritable or resentful. MY LOVE does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoiced with truth. MY LOVE bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
MY LOVE never ends.
So, God says: "This is who I am. This is what I do for you. My arms are always wide open. Always. I want your love. I fervently, furiously long for it."
How foolish is God's way! how foolish is his love! It does not insist on it's own way! We assume that O, it is God, the Supreme Being, the King of the Universe - what he wants done is done, he has a will and purpose that always happens. Is it? Or, out of love, does he make sacrifices for us? Do we truly understand the crazy, scandalous, earth-shattering idea, that the God of the Universe MAKES SACRIFICES FOR US??!!
I am convinced that it is harder to understand the love of God than the existence of God. It is far more important. Yet somehow it also makes more sense.
Jesus went to the cross. He was anxious about it. He didn't want to do it. He felt, and WAS, forsaken by God. This is the sacrifice that the God if the Universe made for us. He did not insist on his own way, but took the route that we selfishly demanded.
How different is this God of love, than the God who we understand to always orchestrate things, who sits in the clouds and judges, rebukes and punishes us, who demands that we "do things right." O, crazy paradox - it is the opposite! The God if the Universe is humble, makes sacrifices just to be with me.
O, how he loves us so."

For whatever reason, this is my heart for Jake right now. That this love would be made apparent to him. That this brokenness he is experiencing would be the very hour of his visitation.
I can't bear to think about what Jacob's body went through, is going through and will go through. But without brokenness, we will never be consummated in God's love. Unless God breaks our hearts that have fallen in love with the world, we cannot fall in love with him.

Some meaningful quotes during this time:
"How I long to be broken. How I long to be near you. How my heart skips beats when your love accepts me where I am."
"How long till your voice speaks clearly? How long till you arms envelope me? I cry, be my strength when I am weak. O Lord, have mercy on me please."
-The Glorious Unseen
"I know that it is a miracle that he is just alive. But now we need more miracle. Kind of like more cowbell."
-Tom Kirkendall
"I promise I won't be that friend that tells you that this is all because you are a sinner."
-Charlie Broxton to Tom K
"Wait, it's not all about me?"
-Tom K to Charlie B
"When, then, eternal Father, did you create this creature of yours?... You show me that you made us for one reason only: in your light you saw yourself compelled by the fire of your love to give us being in spite of the evil we would commit against you, eternal Father. It was fire, then, that compelled you. Oh, unutterable love, even though you saw all the evils your creatures would commit against your infinite goodness, you acted as if you did not see and set your eye only on the beauty of your creature, with whom you had fallen in love like one drunk and crazy with love... You are the fire, nothing but a fire of love, crazy over what you have made."
-Catherine of Siena

As you pray for my brother Jacob, may you bask in the love of the Father. The Lord bless you and keep you.
-Rob Kirkendall


phred said...

I love you guys! and i will be praying is an understatement.

Nini Lettner said...

We are praying for you Jacob and your whole family. Thank you for posting this and keeping us updated as best as you can. Much prayer for you guys!

Nini Lettner (close friend to the Cecy's/Ollenburgers

The McCahon Family said...


You are such an amazing brother. Your words of love for Jacob are so inspiring. Our family is totally praying for Jacob, and your family. My daughter Kayla graduated with you last year, and my daughter Kelsey goes to Aptos this year and they both know you and and Jacob. Kelsey said Jacob is such an awesome example of a christian at school.

We are praying that you feel the presence of our KING surrounding you. We pray that you feel comfort, knowing that He is holding you in the palm of HIS hand. We are praying for complete and miraculous healing. May God BLESS each of you today in ways you would never imagine. May the Lord bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you!

The McCahon Family

Megs said...

We are praying for your brother and your entire family. May you find strength in the Lord and peace and understanding. We pray that Jacob will be healed not only in the ways that can be physically seen, but also any damage that may have occured that could cause difficulties in the future.

God Bless you,
Megan (aka Streudel) and the Saunders family

Msbutterfliy said...

Dear Heavenly Lord, please lay your hand upon Jacobs body. Heal him for we know his spirit and soul are intact. Please give him and his family strength through this time. We ask for your healing touch be reached. Please bless all those who are in contact with him and guide the doctors to do Your Will. In Your Name I pray.

Your son has a brave heart to want to help somthing out of his control. My family will be praying for Jacob and your family in this time. God is a miracle worker as we all know.

LP said...

I never believed in the healing power of prayer until last year when, facing life threatening illness, I asked friends to pray for me. It worked like a miracle. So I am here fervently praying for Jacob.

Karen said...

We walk by faith and not by sight. Jesus has come to give us abundant life. Even now, the life He gives is at work in Jacob, healing him, preparing him for even greater works. Nothing is too difficult for our God and we are praying for complete healing in Jesus name.

history said...

I am in continual prayer for God's miraculous healing power to touch Jacob and your whole family. I pray that You are all blown away by the Love that the Lord will show you in this situation. I pray peace and comfort for you all.

Josh Engelhardt said...

Hi Rob,

You don't know me (yet!)... My name is Josh Engelhardt; I am the pastor overseeing youth ministry here at The Coastlands. We have been enriched as a group by Jacob's attendance over the past many months. We consider him a part of our family, and we feel the same way about you, your (other) bro, and parents (though we've not met).

I want to thank you for your obviously Spirit-led perspectives and instruction (to all of us!) about Jacob's situation. I agree with you 100%: God is all about working physical-healing-miracles AND attending-to-our-souls-miracles, too.

We have been praying, and will continue to pray, not only for undeniable miraculous physical healing for Jacob's body, but also for a life-changing journey with his Heavenly Father-- that he would be even more convinced of God's nearness to him, concern for him, and unquenchable love for him. (Wow! That was a long sentence =)

I love what you said: This is indeed HIS great love that we are graced with, and because He gives so freely to us, it's OUR love, too. May that love win the day.

Thanks again. We are also praying for your whole family.


Casey Travis said...

you put things so perfectly into perspective. You never knew it was coming, but God was preparing you for these very days. He will take all this understanding of Him and sink it so deep in you that you will never be the same...everything has changed! We love you Robbie!

Casey Travis said...

Sorry to Casey...the last comment was from Jess, but i think Casey would agree with me!

Lorriedawn said...

Hi Jacob,
You dont know me. I was there that night with a bunch of jr high kids. We were having a Bon Fire right beside you and your friends. I saw you run up and yell fire and with no fear run to put the fire out. What a brave young man you were. NO fear for yourself, concerned for others if the fire broke out.

I ran around to climb over the fence and just as you were shocked it threw me off the fence because it was so strong it hit the other side of the road. At this point my students began to pray. Pray for the boy who was across the street.

I called 911 praying you were ok. Our youth pastor had just arrived and He shined his lights on you and began to pray for the boy we now knew as Jacob. We were there at the right moment. God has a powerful plan for you Jacob.

Trying to keep everyone back as we waited for the ambulence we began to call on the name of Jesus, knowing He was with you, as we couldnt reach you because of the power lines. The joy as we heard your voice call out and you began to move is indescribable.

We were going to a different spot that night, our Youth Pastor decided no we needed to be where we were; we now know why. God had an army of students and leaders praying for you across the way and calling out to God for Jacob.

We love and pray for you still.
Know that He is always with you!
Lorriedawn Robinson

tokay21 said...

Hi Jacob and family,

I hope you will recover soon because I know from my kids that you are a very strong kid.

Please fight hard and bring us your smile again!

I have seen the friendship among you and the rest of the kids, Rachel, Viviana, Jose, Clay, and so on... THEY ALL LOVE YOU!

My best wishes for you and your family

Darlene said...

Dear Tom, Debbie, Robbie, Jensen, and most of all JACOB,

Words can't begin to express our thoughts today for all of you but we want you to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers moment by moment. We are so encouraged by your deep faith and trust in the Lord that you have so richly expressed in your postings. What at witness!! We know that the Lord is smiling down upon you and will hear your prayers.

Please know that Scott, Geoff and Doug are all praying for you too.

Hang in there, Jacob, and get well fast!

All our love and prayers,
Great-Uncle Greer and Great-Aunt Darlene