Injured Santa Fe missionaries tell survival story

Published On: Dec 30 2013 10:26:51 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 30 2013 10:50:50 PM CST

Dec. 30, 2013: Against incredible odds, two Santa Fe missionaries critically injured in a fatal car wreck in Africa are spending the holidays back home with their families. Phillip Mena reports.

SANTA FE, Texas -

Against incredible odds, two Santa Fe missionaries critically injured in a fatal car wreck in Africa are spending the holidays back home with their families.

On the fifth day of a 10-day missionary trip, a car carrying Stephanie Clawson and Ruby Sprayberry lost control and skidded off a gravel road about an hour outside the capital of Niger.

"We didn't know at the time but there was a 20-foot drop on each side of the road and the vehicle rolled down the side of the ravine," Clauson said.

The wreck killed fellow missionary Rebekah Taylor, 27, of Victoria.

"She had a wonderful heart for God," Sprayberry said of Taylor. "She loved (God) with all her heart and lived her life to serve him. She made mission work her life. She would go and stay in other countries for months at a time."

Clawson and Sprayberry were critically injured. Sprayberry was told she had 5 broken vertebrae. Clawson also suffered a broken back along with a fractured tailbone and pelvis. She also had severe internal bleeding.

The pair was desperate in need of better medical treatment but the only way home was a $75,000 flight on an air ambulance. Time was running out. The flight needed to be paid and booked within 24 hours.

"And if (we) didn't get it then the deal was going to be off and they weren't gonna be able to come pick us up," Clawson said.

Fellow parishioners back home at the Santa Fe Family Worship Center rushed to get the the word out. Incredibly, hundreds of people from all over the world donated the money by the deadline.

Within days, Clawson and Sprayberry were headed home.

"It was amazing," Clawson said. "We may never know their names or their backgrounds but we want them to know that we are so very thankful. If it wasn't for them, we could've missed out on the opportunity to be home with our families. It was a wonderful holiday."

Both women said they plan to continue their overseas missionary work despite their harrowing experience.

Not only do both ladies say they want to continue doing missionary work overseas, but Stephanie says she and her husband plan to quit their jobs to do missionary work full-time.

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