In 2013 I went through a course called Wilderness Advance First-Aid (WAFA) and CPR as part of Endurance DTS. It was a fascinating course, however, I never expected I would use these skills. Then it happened, as I was going about my day with some friends, these skills were needed and I was called to put them to use.
In 2015, while a student in the School of Biblical Studies (SBS), some friends and I went to Seattle for spring break. On our way to Seattle we stopped at a mall to grab something to eat at a food court. While we were eating, my thoughts were drifting as I recovered from the long drive. Suddenly, one of my friends started shouting at me, “Benji help! He’s going to DIE!” I looked up and saw a man with his children at a nearby table, grabbing his throat, trying to speak but he could not. I quickly realized that this man was choking. Knowing there were mere seconds to respond, I leapt out of my seat and my mind instinctively knew what to do from the EDTS training in First-Aid. I wrapped my arms around the man and started the Heimlich Maneuver. While preforming the Heimlich on him, I thought to myself that this wasn’t going to work and he is going to die right there in front of me. I was about to turn to my friend and say “call 911!” but then the man’s passage cleared and he was able to breath again.
What a relief! The adrenaline left my system as I sat down and felt a great weight drop from my shoulders as I knew the man would be alright. When I sat down my friends looked at me and said “Where did you learn how to do that?” I told them that I took CPR and WAFA a few years back as part of EDTS. Then it hit me as my friends told me that I had just saved a man’s life. Other people started coming up to thank me for saving this man’s life. What really touched me is when the man that was choking came up to me with tears in his eyes and thanked me. Knowing that this man was a father and his kids were present with him during this awful incident, moved me to tears. I was thankful that God could place me at this spot at this time to save this man’s life.
After we left the mall, I was telling my friends that I never expected to really ever use those skills. My friends said that it was a good thing that I did, because if I didn’t, that man would have died and those children would be without a father. I started reflecting on how Christians have skills in life that God has given us to help others to advance the gospel. While I was able to physically save this man at this point in time, I also thought how we are all called to preach the Gospel to the dying, so they might believe on Jesus Christ and be saved for eternity.
It has been over two years since I first started with YWAM. I am currently in the Outdoor Ministry Internship and part of Flathead Valley Search and Rescue. I expect that God has plans for me to use these physical life saving skills again and again. While I am eager to be used in this capacity, I pray that opportunities will arise to communicate the soul saving belief in Christ.