Mike Cope's blog

Sunday, January 16, 2005

I stop only long enough to plead for prayers. My son and some friends were being driven back from Winterfest this afternoon in a Suburban that flipped. Chris has been intubated and is about to be flown to a children's hospital in the metroplex. My little boy was beaten black and blue. They're saying he's stable. CT scans showed no head injuries inside. The boy next to him died. I grieve horribly for the family. But I'm off. Diane is flying with Chris. I only pause because I beg you to pray for my son.


  • Mike,
    I am so sorry. I just read your post and my family stopped and prayed for you, your family, your son, and the family who lost their boy. God's peace on you.

    By Blogger Tod Brown, at 1/16/2005 04:42:00 PM  

  • My family began praying moments ago for Chris and the others whose names we are not sure of. Your church family is joined in prayer with you and Diane and all other families involved.

    By Blogger Brian Hudspeth, at 1/16/2005 04:48:00 PM  

  • Praying, dear brother.

    By Blogger Tim Castle, at 1/16/2005 04:49:00 PM  

  • Psalm 46

    God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

    There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
    The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

    Come and see the works of the LORD,the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,he burns the shields with fire.

    "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,I will be exalted in the earth."

    The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

    May the very living word of God and the present Holy Spirit sustain you yet again.

    By Blogger Tod Brown, at 1/16/2005 04:53:00 PM  

  • Praying for you...praying with you...

    By Blogger James, at 1/16/2005 05:24:00 PM  

  • Praying for you & your family. Got the word to my pastor, Larry Sharp, who called Randy & was told it is not life-threatening. Thank the Lord! There are brothers & sisters is Bloomington-Normal, IL who are praying that it stays that way. May God give you all some peace tonight.

    By Blogger Beaner, at 1/16/2005 05:32:00 PM  

  • Praying for Chris in Jonesboro, AR.

    By Blogger Fajita, at 1/16/2005 06:26:00 PM  

  • Prayers are being lifted up.

    By Blogger EBC, at 1/16/2005 06:27:00 PM  

  • From Little Rock, too.

    By Blogger Keith Brenton, at 1/16/2005 06:29:00 PM  

  • Dear Mike,
    We are praying for you, your family, your church and the youth group. We understand what you are going through. Our church kids were in a wreck last summer. A group of them are praying for all of you now. May you see God move as we did.
    The Spencers
    Memorial Road Church of Christ OK

    By Blogger spencer, at 1/16/2005 06:44:00 PM  

  • I'm praying for you and your family and for all those involved. My home church in McAllen [Harvey Drive] is praying too, and my dad and family are in special prayer for your son.

    Elizabeth Alvarez

    By Blogger Lizz :-), at 1/16/2005 06:55:00 PM  

  • My heart is breaking for you and your family...
    You are in our prayers... our God is a mighty God who can handle this, im just sorry that you and the other families of those involved are enduring this pain... We prayed when we saw the wreck (as we too were on the way back from Winterfest)

    *In all things, we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus...*

    In the Father's Grip,
    Callie Fender
    Midland TX

    By Blogger Callie, at 1/16/2005 07:13:00 PM  

  • Taylors gathered and prayed when we heard the news and continue to pray now.

    By Blogger Greg Taylor, at 1/16/2005 07:15:00 PM  

  • I am so sorry to hear this news--I followed a link from Keith Brenton's blog. I prayed once I saw the post, and will continue to do so.

    By Blogger English Professor, at 1/16/2005 07:25:00 PM  

  • Matt's church community in Houston was in prayer as Matt drove to Hobby to find a flight to Dallas. We continue in prayer for Chris and each child, the families affected and for the entire Highland family. May the strength of the Lord be yours.

    By Blogger BH, at 1/16/2005 07:34:00 PM  

  • praying praying praying praying praying...

    We love you all.

    matt & lela

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 1/16/2005 07:34:00 PM  

  • For the benefit of all of you who are praying: Mike's cousin is an elder at my church; according to Mike's mom there are two other boys and the driver who remain in critical condition; Chris is still stable. I have no names, but please remember them and their families as well.

    By Blogger Keith Brenton, at 1/16/2005 07:35:00 PM  

  • Mike: We are so sorry to hear this news. Our prayers go out to all involved in the tragedy.
    May God's love sustain you and all of the Highland family...
    My wife and I were notified of this by our daughter Deana Nall. She and Chad hold you in highest regard.
    Our prayers continue without ceasing...

    Winston & Mardell Hamby

    By Blogger WinniePhew, at 1/16/2005 07:37:00 PM  

  • We are praying so hard for you and your dear family, and for all the families involved. Our hearts are so heavy. Love you all.

    By Blogger annie, at 1/16/2005 07:38:00 PM  

  • Father,
    We know that you hold life in your hand. We lift these young people up to you father. Sustain them. Lord, you made their bodies and we ask that in your sovereignty you will turn to them and heal them. Send your angels to attend the family who has lost their child. We know that you understand their pain. Please surround them and sustain them now. We beg for your mercy and favor. Please hear the prayers of your servants and answer us.

    By Blogger R Debenport, at 1/16/2005 07:53:00 PM  

  • Praying in Conway, Arkansas.

    By Blogger Dusty, at 1/16/2005 07:56:00 PM  

  • Steve and I are praying for CHristopher and for you and Diane--we will pray sontinually--and send you our love.
    Kathy anbd Steve.

    By Blogger Vkls, at 1/16/2005 08:10:00 PM  

  • All we heard at first was "a van from Highland" and for some reason Chris was the first person to pop into my head. I still remember him as a 3-year-old correcting your pronunciation of "Hunchback of Notre Dame." We're praying for complete healing and peace. We love you and Diane.

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 1/16/2005 08:23:00 PM  

  • We are praying from Searcy!

    By Blogger JDavis, at 1/16/2005 08:24:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger JDavis, at 1/16/2005 08:25:00 PM  

  • Praying at Harding.

    By Blogger Brandon Moore, at 1/16/2005 08:31:00 PM  

  • Praying for Chris and all the others touched by this tragic accident.

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 1/16/2005 08:32:00 PM  

  • We are praying for all those affected by this tragedy.

    David, Phyllis, Matt, Melissa, & Michael

    By Blogger David Michael, at 1/16/2005 08:40:00 PM  

  • Dear Mike and Diane....our hearts and prayers are with you tonight as you make "flight" to be with your son and the other precious children and their families after this horrible accident. We have done that before our son, Mitch, and it is an unexplainable sensation. To know that God's Will will be done and to accept it. We were lucky. I pray that Chris will feel the healing hand of God upon him and his pain will tolerable as will your heartache for all the others. As the aunt of your "chosen one" daughter in law, Jenna Lynn, we have come to love your family so much through your wonderful son, Matt. Plus, you are a wonderful, awesome, Shepherd and "sharer" of God's Word. I know that God will send a peace upon you as you minister to others while your own heart is aching. Our love, Lynn and Gordon Doty

    By Blogger Lynn, at 1/16/2005 09:07:00 PM  

  • Praying in Bakersfield, CA. Had a special time of prayer just for Chris and the others at our service tonight.

    God, strengthen Mike and Diane and all the other parents affected by this tragedy. Give life and healing to all those who were injured. And wrap your arms around the family that lost their son.

    Please, O Lord, have mercy.

    By Blogger Owen B., at 1/16/2005 09:11:00 PM  

  • Dearest Diane and Mike,
    I've been praying for you and Chris, as well as the family that lost their precious little one, and those involved. Prayers are being offered up from all over the country via the prayer chains I pray with online.
    Just know how much we all love you. Please give Diane a special hug from me. She just won't leave my heart and thoughts. I love y'all, dear brother in Him.

    By Blogger Kathy, at 1/16/2005 09:13:00 PM  

  • SInce we heard the news of CHristopher's accident, we have not stopped praying for Christopher and for you and Diane --and will continue to pray and send you our love.
    Steve and Kathy

    By Blogger Vkls, at 1/16/2005 09:15:00 PM  

  • were praying in TN for your family and the other families affected

    By Blogger Kevin, at 1/16/2005 09:53:00 PM  

  • You all are in our prayers. As I type this, Julie is in surgery in Lubbock. I pray for strength for all of the families and for healing as well.


    By Blogger Robyn, at 1/16/2005 10:17:00 PM  

  • Fellow blog brothers and sisters,

    For those who are close to the situation, could you please update us when you have news.

    Dear Father,

    Please heal these broken bodies and broken hearts. Comfort these precious families with your Holy Spirit. Be with Chris. Bring healing to his body, mind, and spirit. Be with Mike, Diane, and Matt and all of their families. Especially be with the family who lost their son. Be with the Highland family and all those who are affected in some way by these tragedy. Loss is so painful. In the name of Jesus, lover of our souls, Amen.

    By Blogger David Michael, at 1/16/2005 10:29:00 PM  

  • We pray for a complete physical recovery for your son and anyone else hurt in the accident, and spiritual strength for you.

    By Blogger EB, at 1/16/2005 10:40:00 PM  

  • I am so sorry to hear about Chris. My prayers go up to God for all of the families involved.

    By Blogger Emily, at 1/16/2005 10:44:00 PM  

  • Mike,

    My thoughts and prayers have been with you and your family since the I first heard of what took place. I cannot imagine, nor will I try to think about what might be going through you and your families minds at this time, as I know that I would fail in doing so. I will continue to pray and you simply need to ask if there is anything else I may do for you or your family.

    In Christ,

    Donald Philip Simpson

    By Blogger Donald Philip Simpson, at 1/16/2005 10:57:00 PM  

  • A reticent reader is praying for y'all in Hitachi, Japan.

    By Blogger ann, at 1/17/2005 12:44:00 AM  

  • Here is the article from the Abilene paper - for those of you wanting an update - it's probably what you have already heard:

    A Suburban carrying a group of Highland Church of Christ youths overturned Sunday afternoon on Interstate 20 east of Baird, killing one child and injuring several others.

    Brody Bourland, 10, of Abilene, was declared dead at the scene, according to the Department of Public Safety in Abilene. The other seven occupants of the vehicle, all from Abilene, were injured and taken to various hospitals.

    The group was returning from a church retreat in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

    According to the DPS, the accident occurred at 2:45 p.m. as the group was heading west on I-20 about 1.5 miles west of Putnam in Callahan County. They were in a 2004 GMC Suburban, driven by Julie Folwell, 49, of Abilene.

    The Suburban apparently drifted into the center median, then overcorrected to the right, causing the vehicle to skid sideways before rolling over onto its top, a DPS spokeswoman said. Each occupant of the vehicle was wearing a seat belt, she said.

    The DPS reported that two of the children were flown by helicopter to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth. They are Jon Westin Bennett and Austin Lemmons, both 11. Bennett was listed in stable condition with two broken legs, and Lemmons was listed in serious condition with internal injuries but said to be doing well.

    The remaining occupants of the vehicle were taken to Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene. They are Chris Cope, 12; Beth Johnston, 14; Amara Childers, 14; Chris Perkins, 12; and Folwell, the DPS reported.

    Chris Cope was later transferred to Cook Children's Medical Center, where he was in stable condition Sunday night, said Stormy Higgins, a church member.

    Folwell had a broken vertebra and was transferred from Hendrick to Covenant Health System in Lubbock, Higgins said. A Hendrick spokeswoman said Folwell was in stable condition Sunday night before being transferred.

    Perkins and Johnston were later released from Hendrick, and Childers underwent surgery for a bone fracture, the hospital spokeswoman said.

    The accident remains under investigation.

    On Sunday evening, the church held a vigil, attended by about 500 people, and provided counseling for affected people, such as church youth traveling in a second Suburban who witnessed the accident, Higgins said.

    Higgins, an Abilene city councilman, described the vigil as ''overwhelmingly emotional,'' adding that ''this is not what (church members) got up this morning expecting.''

    Counseling was provided by Jackie Halstead, a church member who is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She said it was amazing to hear the children of the church pray about it during counseling.

    ''There's a lot of tears, and I'm sure there will be some nightmares,'' she said.

    She and other counselors will hold several more sessions this week to help those affected, she said.

    Brody Bourland was a student at Franklin Middle School. Elliott-Hamil Funeral Home is handling funeral arrangements.

    He is survived by his parents, Brett and Jennifer Bourland, and brothers Taylor Hill, 17, and Brock Bourland, 7.

    Mike & Diane - We are in constant prayers. Maddie is really praying for Chris. Love you!

    By Blogger Nancy, at 1/17/2005 12:48:00 AM  

  • I come a little late to this (plus six hour time zone means I was asleep when you posted), but I wanted to let you know I'm praying, too.

    May the peace of God, which is beyond all understanding, guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.Joyce (in the UK)

    By Blogger reJoyce, at 1/17/2005 01:03:00 AM  

  • Just letting you know that McDonald Dorm is praying for you and all the others. You have been constantly on my mind since I heard. May the Lord shelter you and your family. May He bless all involved with His healing and His peace.

    By Blogger Zach, at 1/17/2005 01:27:00 AM  

  • Praying for you all on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

    By Blogger JD, at 1/17/2005 04:16:00 AM  

  • I'm not by any stretch a family spokesman for anyone involved, but I'll update what I saw early this morning. Some of the info could be outdated by the time you read it. Some of it is as timeless as God Himself.

    I arrived at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth around midnight. (I noted that Highland involvement minister Dickie Porche must've already been there because every entrance to the building, or so it seemed, was locked. Inside Highland joke...if you can get inside.) There were close to 50 people already there in support of the three Highland families with kids who were being treated: Chris Cope, Austin Lemmons, and John Westin Bennett.

    I was somewhat relieved to find guarded optimism that all three boys were going to survive, though all had significant injuries. One of the friends who'd been in to see Chris reported how swollen and "beaten up" his face seemed. He was heavily sedated at the time, but Mike and Diane were able to see him after the accident at the hospital in Abilene, and he was aware that they were there. So he's at least connected with his Mom and Dad, though I'm sure his little head is swimming right now. His older brother, Matt, flew in from Houston and, as I understand it, actually beat everyone - including Chris - to the hospital. Matt's new wife, Jenna, who had been with friends when she got the news, arrived while I was there. I saw Mike and Diane briefly, but they were not especially chatty, as you might guess. They were and remain engulfed with ripples of support, from their very closest friends to those on the ring outside that circle and other rings outside that.

    Austin Lemmons sustained a concussion and other injuries. His father, Thom, said doctors were encouraged that Austin was trying to wake up and pull his tube out, though they actually want him to remain sedated. The presence of Highland member and Abilene ER doc Jim Morrison and Jim's insistence on staying at the hospital all night was tempting Thom to find a hotel room and crash for a few hours. (Those of you who got the Dickie joke earlier won't be surprised to learn he'd already made arrangements for anyone who wanted to stay the night to alight at a nearby hotel.)

    John Westin Bennett was coming out of surgery on a pair of broken legs as I visited with his folks and yet another coterie of supporters. When the doctor emerged from the OR and asked what color cast he might want, his mom, Terri, jokingly suggested pink. His dad, Wes, said they'd conversed with John Westin there in the hospital and that he was remarkably calm and together. Remember, these are 6th grade boys. Both of John Westin's legs are broken, and there is much rehab ahead.

    That probably goes for everyone involved in this tragedy. And that recovery will be likely as much emotional as physical.

    By Blogger Grant, at 1/17/2005 05:15:00 AM  

  • We are praying in Nashville. The Highland family is a precious bunch to Brandon and me. We are grateful for so much optimistic news, but we grieve with you in your loss.

    By Blogger Jana, at 1/17/2005 05:43:00 AM  

  • Mike & Diane,
    Natalie was with Jenna last night when she found out. I have been praying from MI since Natalie called me. May the grace and peace of our Lord be with all of my Highland family now. I wish I could be there with all of you.

    By Blogger Eric, at 1/17/2005 06:20:00 AM  

  • An email went out this morning to all the faculty and staff here at Harding. Prayers are being lifted up from Searcy. We love you deeply!

    David Underwood

    By Blogger David U, at 1/17/2005 06:40:00 AM  

  • We were just pulling into the church parking lot with our 4 7th grade girls in tow when Larry Folwell called us about the accident. It was so horrible. There are no words. Please continue to pray - some of us are still numb. All I seem to be able to do is repeat all their names over and over. Julie had been my roommate for the Winterfest weekend. please pray for her. i've never seen my little boy cry this hard. he spent the night last night with one of the boys who witnessed the accident at the request of his mother. just pray please.

    By Blogger Candy, at 1/17/2005 06:42:00 AM  

  • Mike & Diane,
    We met together as staff and elders last night to lift up all the Highland family in prayer. Eric is already here from Nashville and joined us. On a personal note: Mike, Avery is very upset that he can't get to you, his quote last night was " I just need to hug him and tell him I love him and everything will get better."

    The College Church here in Fresno has already began our prayers and will continue as we are working together to finish the prep work for ZOE this weekend.

    In His love,

    By Blogger Lex, at 1/17/2005 06:42:00 AM  

  • From Memphis, TN, prayers for Chris, your family, and all of the others touched by this accident. . .

    By Blogger Rhonda, at 1/17/2005 06:49:00 AM  

  • To our Highland Family and the Cope Family,
    We got wind of the news in Fort Colins from family in Abilene. We are starting prayer chain this morning. All of those involved will be in our prayers. Hitting our knees in Fort Collins, Co. Meadowlark Church of Christ
    Logan and Katie Brown
    The Lord gives strength to his people: the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11
    Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.
    Psalm 16:1

    By Blogger Logan and Katie Brown, at 1/17/2005 06:49:00 AM  

  • Mike--
    Just checking this morning to see if there is any new news. Thanks to Grant for some updates.

    It was so good to hear your voice last night, Mike. Thank you for calling. All the ZOE singers had been in prayer at our house after hearing and were just sick with worry. Even though I could hear the exhaustion in your voice, it was a welcomed gift.

    We continue to pray from Nashville. Lifting up Chris and your whole family. Diane sounded so tired. We're also praying for all those involved. What a horrible thing to deal with. Peace to you, brother. The family of God is lifting you up around the world.

    Musch love- Brandon Scott Thomas

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 1/17/2005 06:52:00 AM  

  • Elliotts are praying. We love you and are keeping your family and Highland in prayer all day.

    By Blogger Nino, at 1/17/2005 06:56:00 AM  

  • Oh Mike!
    I hold you and your family and the family at Highland in my prayers.

    By Blogger Ann Evankovich, at 1/17/2005 06:56:00 AM  

  • May God's peace be with you, and with Chris as he recuperates, and with the Bourland family, and with Julie Folwell, and all those involved.

    By Blogger don, at 1/17/2005 06:59:00 AM  

  • I realize this is Mike's site and the comments are basically directed to Mike and Diane. To those posting, do not forget about the other children and families. Also, Brody is safe, but Brett and Jennifer have a void today that the rest of us can only imagine. My son is same age as Brett - I know this family - along with Brody's grandfather(David) I coached Brett in Little League.

    By Blogger paul, at 1/17/2005 07:08:00 AM  

  • Praying for you from Tulsa, OK

    Shawn and Arlene

    By Blogger Shawn, at 1/17/2005 07:09:00 AM  

  • More prayers from Midland, Texas.


    By Blogger Joey Tilton, at 1/17/2005 07:10:00 AM  

  • God give peace and rest.

    By Blogger Jamie, at 1/17/2005 07:16:00 AM  

  • Mike & Diane -- prayers are being lifted here in Dallas too. The Preston Road family is praying.

    By Blogger Jenni, at 1/17/2005 07:21:00 AM  

  • Praying for all involved in Cullman, Alabama.

    By Blogger DJG, at 1/17/2005 07:21:00 AM  

  • Is there somewhere to leave condolences and prayers for the Bourland family? If not, perhaps a friend of the family could set up a blog for that purpose?

    By Blogger JD, at 1/17/2005 07:24:00 AM  

  • The Shannon Oaks Church in Sulphur Springs is praying Mike. I love and respect you greatly Mike, and despise that your son and his friends had to suffer like that. We're praying...

    By Blogger Jeff Jenkins, at 1/17/2005 07:32:00 AM  

  • My dear frinds, tears fell here in Antioch for you yesterday afternoon. I can't imagine the emotional roller-coaster you have been on. I wish I were there to hug you and to kiss sweet Chris--although I am sure he would wiggle out of it, even in his condition. I love you and am continuing to pray. Judy Thomas

    By Blogger judy thomas, at 1/17/2005 07:37:00 AM  

  • We are praying for you in Lubbock, TX. May the peace which passes all understanding guard your hearts and minds....

    By Blogger LyndieLou, at 1/17/2005 07:40:00 AM  

  • All I can say here is, "ditto." The rest I've said in my e-mail. God is with all of you right now.

    By Blogger Q, at 1/17/2005 07:45:00 AM  

  • JD - the funeral home is putting up a spot on their website for the Bourland family where we can leave messages, condolences, prayers. We can now leave our messages at:


    click on "service schedule" then on the Guest Book icon to leave messages.

    By Blogger Kathy, at 1/17/2005 07:47:00 AM  

  • Praying in Kansas!

    By Blogger dsc, at 1/17/2005 07:58:00 AM  

  • For all those praying, this from Brenda Chrane in Highland's church office:

    Dear Highland Family,

    This update is coming to you so you will know the condition of  those who were part of the accident yesterday.  Details regarding the accident are in this morning's Abilene Reporter News.

    Our sympathy is extended to Bret & Jennifer Bourland and their family for the tragic loss of  Brody.  No details regarding arrangements are available at this time.

    Three of our youth, Austin Lemmons, John Westin Bennett and Chris Cope are at Cook's Children's Hospital in Fort Worth and are receiving appropriate treatment for their injuries.  Each of these young men are reported to be in stable condition.

    Amara Childers is at Hendrick Hospital.  Her condition is also stable.

    Chris Perkins and Beth Johnston were both treated and released from Hendrick last night. 

    Julie Folwell is in serious condition at Covenant Hospital in Lubbock.

    Keep all these families in your prayers.

    By Blogger Keith Brenton, at 1/17/2005 08:23:00 AM  

  • Praying for you in Mansfield, TX.


    By Blogger donna, at 1/17/2005 08:24:00 AM  

  • Here's a more direct link to the guestbook for the Bourland family:

    Click here.If that link doesn't work, here's the URL:


    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 1/17/2005 08:25:00 AM  

  • Prayers for Chris, Mike, and Diane and all of the families touched by this accident are being offered in the name of Jesus from Atlanta, Georgia.

    By Blogger Beverly Choate Dowdy, at 1/17/2005 08:25:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Johnson Street Church in San Angelo will be in constant prayer for your family and all of those involved in this accident. May the Holy Spirit bring comfort and healing.

    Kevin Huddleston

    By Blogger Kevin, at 1/17/2005 08:31:00 AM  

  • Mike, you don't know me, but I've been reading your blogs for about the past year, since you came down here to Montgomery. My heart breaks for you and your family. Please know my family's prayers are going up for you and all those families involved. May God's comfort, strength and and grace carry you during this time.

    By Blogger Greg, at 1/17/2005 08:35:00 AM  

  • We are praying for y'all and the Highland church. We love you alot.

    By Blogger The Prince of Tennessee, at 1/17/2005 08:40:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    We're so sorry, and we'll be praying.

    Frank Bellizzi & family

    By Blogger Frank Bellizzi, at 1/17/2005 08:48:00 AM  

  • Mike,
    Please know that you and the entire Highland family are in our prayers.
    Ayrea Towell's grandparents,
    Dan & Mary Smith
    Sparks, NV

    By Blogger Dan Smith, at 1/17/2005 08:56:00 AM  

  • Peace of Christ to you.

    By Blogger happytheman, at 1/17/2005 09:00:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Zac Muncy, at 1/17/2005 09:00:00 AM  

  • Grant's update was pretty inclusive, but I just got a call from Dickie asking me to post some comments. This thread is a getting pretty long and some have mentioned it takes a while to download so I'll post Dickie's comments on my site for now.

    By Blogger Val, at 1/17/2005 09:01:00 AM  

  • Mike & Diane – The Westlake Church in Indy is in prayer for your family and the other families involved in this tragedy.

    By Blogger Diana Paige, at 1/17/2005 09:01:00 AM  

  • Mike and Diane,
    Many prayers and tears have been shed in the last twenty hours. Sixth grade boys, not usually known for emotionality, cried harder and longer than ever before due to the loss of a friend and the absence and news of injury of others. Two of those boys are on the road to Cook's at present to let Chris (and the others) know how deeply he is loved and that he is part of a big family. We love you and all of those who have been impacted by this event and will continue to pray that God's presence will be felt and that further healing will take place.

    By Blogger scott, at 1/17/2005 09:09:00 AM  

  • Our prayers are with you and Diane...and for Chris, who will be dealing with so much more than physical pain. My heart breaks for him. I know the loss. God is with you. His strength is perfect.

    By Blogger Anne-Geri', at 1/17/2005 09:11:00 AM  

  • More prayers from Nashville for all involved ...
    With love, Rob and Clarissa Cox

    By Blogger Clarissa, at 1/17/2005 09:45:00 AM  

  • I created my own blog so that I could tell you that hearts are breaking and prayers are lifted in FL.

    By Blogger Lisa McD in FL, at 1/17/2005 09:56:00 AM  

  • Prayers are being lifted up for you and the Highland family from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Our youth group safely arrived here from Winterfest about 9:30 (MST)last evening. We are now spreading the word amoung them and and the Montgomery church family here in the desert of New Mexico to hold you close in our prayers as the days, weeks, months, and years of healing begin.
    The Champions

    By Blogger The Champions, at 1/17/2005 09:58:00 AM  

  • Prayers from Starkville for you and all involved, especially that Grace and Peace will be overflowing. So, Sad and Scary.

    By Blogger TCS, at 1/17/2005 10:04:00 AM  

  • Holy Father,

    We lift up the Cope, Johnson, Childers, Perkins, Bennett, Lemmons, and Folwell families to you. We pray for relief of pain, rapid healing, absence of complications and peace that You are always there for everyone involved in this tragedy.

    We don’t know the Bourland family and really don’t know what to pray for this family we don’t know, but we cry for them today.

    Father, sustain and heal all these brothers and sisters we don’t know but love anyway.


    (a prayer from Dothan, Alabama - God bless you all)

    By Blogger Lee, at 1/17/2005 10:04:00 AM  

  • Mike and Diane ---
    You and your family are being lifted up in prayer now --- we are praying for you, our church family is praying for you. May the peace of God which is beyond our understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

    We love you,
    Kamy and Kevin

    By Blogger kamy, at 1/17/2005 10:08:00 AM  

  • Mike, my prayers are with you and your family and everyone else touched by this tragedy. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." I know His people are around you, comforting you. My dad, Doug, and others in Midland are praying for you too. We love you so much.

    ~Katie Noah

    By Blogger Katie, at 1/17/2005 10:40:00 AM  

  • I learned this news from a friend at Madison C/C (Nashville area) and I want to add my name to the vast list of those praying for your family. I attended Highland while at ACU but even though I've relocated, the Cope family has always been close to my heart. God is with us all, especially in times such as these.

    With love from Oak Ridge, TN,
    Meredith Hunter (Bill's daughter)

    By Blogger Meredith, at 1/17/2005 10:43:00 AM  

  • Mike, Diane, and Matthew, prayers are being lifted up for you in Searcy. Man, this hurts. Many tears have been shed here. Remember in these times that with God, ALL things are possible.

    One of our prayers, in addition to healing for Chris and the others who were injured, is that the God of peace and comfort will be with you and the other families involved, especially the Bourland family.

    We love you guys!

    Zac, Connie, Brad & Blake Muncy, and Eloise Muncy

    By Blogger Zac Muncy, at 1/17/2005 10:47:00 AM  

  • Praying for the Highland family... From the Sunny Hills family in Fullerton, CA.

    By Blogger Ron Barbee, at 1/17/2005 10:54:00 AM  

  • Hey Mike,

    My Mom passed away suddenly this passed Wednesday. I grieve the loss of your son's friend and I am praying for healing for the injured. April and I prayed for you all last night and we are passing this to the Vaughn Park Church in Montgomery, AL.

    By Blogger Ed Harrell, at 1/17/2005 10:56:00 AM  

  • Prayers from Memphis were lifted in the Sycamore View church staff meeting this morning as well.

    By Blogger Q, at 1/17/2005 11:01:00 AM  

  • Your family and all the families involved in this accident are in our prayers. We love you.

    -Sarah Carlson

    By Blogger Sarah, at 1/17/2005 11:39:00 AM  

  • Mike & Diane, Matt & Jenna: I will never teasingly ask Chris if I can kiss an ouch of his again, he's much too stout. I am praying for soothing, healing kisses from God for all of you and especially Chris. Tell Chris to look out when he gets home because I need a kiss. Love you guys.

    By Blogger geoff, at 1/17/2005 11:59:00 AM  

  • So many prayers have been lifted up on behalf of all those involved. May God's hands be felt on each and every person, family member, friend, nurse and doctor. Healing and strength ~ Mae Anne in Lawrenceburg, TN

    By Blogger Mae, at 1/17/2005 12:35:00 PM  

  • Mike and Diane,

    I was one of the students eating at Subway when you guys came in for lunch after church yesterday. Both of you were smiling as you talked and laughed with those around you. Later than night, when I heard from a friend about the accident, I immediately reflected on the ephemeral nature of this life. How in such a short period of time we can go from laughter to sorrow. All of the things that we cherish are sometimes taken away, but some things cannot be taken away. The love and comfort of God will be your shield and your refuge in this time of trouble. May God bless everyone that has been affected by this tragedy.

    By Blogger Justin, at 1/17/2005 12:41:00 PM  

  • Mike,

    I was just noticing yesterday after church how in love I am with this Highland community, especially after all the elders surrounded you and Diane after second service. I have confidence that this community at Highland, especially here in the work office, will provide nothing but support for you and Diane as they did for you yesterday morning and countless times in the past. Love you, thanks for all you have done for me and everyone here at Highland. You are in my prayers

    By Blogger Jeremiah, at 1/17/2005 01:12:00 PM  

  • Dear Mike & Diane --
    Praying for Chris and the other children. Let go on this one. You guys don't have to "be strong" or "stay firm" or anything like that. Fall back into the arms of the One who knows as we cover you with our prayers. Groaning alongside you in Spirit.

    By Blogger Cindy, at 1/17/2005 01:27:00 PM  

  • Dear Mike, Diane, and Chris,
    our prayers have been with you continually. It feels so helpless to be here and have all of you so far away and hurting. You are being immersed in love through this whole horrible ordeal.
    The words to a song keep running through my head...
    God is my refuge and my strength, a present help in time of need. He is my fortress, my deliverer, my Father, my friend indeed.
    Lord, you're my shepherd, I shall not want. You make to lie down in peace. You lead me beside the still waters of life. My soul is restored at your feet.
    God is my refuge and my strength, a present help in time of need. He is my fortress, my deliverer, my Father, my friend indeed.
    Yea, tho I walk through the valley of death, I will not fear any harm. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me, and you will not leave me alone.'
    God is my refuge and my strength, a present help in time of need. He is my fortress, my deliverer, my Father, my friend indeed.

    May you feel that fortress right now.
    love, julie

    By Blogger julie, at 1/17/2005 01:43:00 PM  

  • these things make no sense. i'll be praying.

    By Blogger chrismith, at 1/17/2005 01:56:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Brad, at 1/17/2005 02:00:00 PM  

  • Mike, I can only echo others and say that our hearts are filled with prayers and thoughts for you and your family, as well as the other families waiting and hurting right now, especially the Bourlands.

    God's grace to you all.

    By Blogger Jon, at 1/17/2005 02:20:00 PM  

  • Mike, you and the other families have got our prayers here in Indiana... I can't even begin to imagine what you are going through. God bless.

    Brian Burkett

    By Blogger Brian Burkett, at 1/17/2005 03:01:00 PM  

  • Mike,

    Even though I don't know you personally, I've heard you speak and I've read your blog. My heart goes out to all the Highland family--know that the Landmark family in Montgomery is praying for all of you.

    Yesterday, Buddy Bell gave a great sermon on how we experience Christ through His body, the church. How appropriate that so many of your brothers and sisters are joining in prayer right now to support those grieving. Truly what the body was meant to do.

    God bless you,

    By Blogger Lisa, at 1/17/2005 03:38:00 PM  

  • Mike and Diane,
    My prayers for you:
    "Father God, continue to bless Mike and Diane and their family... bless Chris and the others as they recover. Help them to deal with this tragedy. Surround them in your love. Comfort them. Draw them closer to you. Bless the Bourland family in their loss. Fill their void with your love. Stregthen the Highland family and use them to comfort these families. Through your loving and merciful Son. Amen" Blessings! sd

    By Blogger SkipD, at 1/17/2005 03:39:00 PM  

  • Oh, Mike and Diane...Fred and I just heard about your dear son, and then about the other families who were involved. Words to express what my heart holds escape me, but we are lifting you to the Lord, who is Almighty and merciful...we will pray diligently for you all in the days ahead, and will share this with others so that they may pray. May our Father enwrap you all with peace and fortitude, and may he give courage and strength to those injured.

    By Blogger Becky Strasser, at 1/17/2005 05:02:00 PM  

  • Mike and Diane, Just wanted you to know that Knox City is praying for your family. I've been worried sick about Chris all day. I told my class about the accident and asked them to put Chris and the other kids on their prayer list. Diane, hang in there. I can't imagine what you are going through. I miss you and your words of wisdom.

    By Blogger Kelly Hutchinson, at 1/17/2005 05:25:00 PM  

  • i just heard the news today. prayers are being lifted up in indianapolis.

    By Blogger kentbrantly, at 1/17/2005 06:09:00 PM  

  • From a Georgia reader and sister in Christ, expressing care and asking help in the name of the One Who Comforts:

    The Spirit..."does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans."

    By Blogger lee, at 1/17/2005 06:24:00 PM  

  • Mike,

    I am so sorry to hear about your son and his friends. I am praying for you and Diane and the other families at Highland. As a trauma nurse myself, I know the looks on your faces, the heaviness in your heart, the questions you have and the exhaustion you are probably experiencing. May God continue to surround you with love and peace.

    A former Harding student...
    Julie Huffman Pitcher

    By Blogger jhp, at 1/17/2005 07:07:00 PM  

  • Mike,
    Just wanted you to know that we're praying for you at Monterey in Lubbock, too. Peace and blessings on all of the families involved!

    By Blogger ourgreenroom, at 1/17/2005 07:13:00 PM  

  • Shannon and I are praying for you guys and all of these families. May the peace of God that transcends all understanding bring comfort.

    By Blogger Brad, at 1/17/2005 07:14:00 PM  

  • Mike & Diane,

    I cannot imagine all you have been through in the past 30 hours. I know many prayers have been lifted for you, for Chris, the Bourlands and all the other families. You know we love you guys and you do not walk this path alone. I notified my sister, Freeda, and she and Andrea and those in North Carolina who know them are praying also. My God hold you in His hands and send his Angels to keep watch over you. Patsy

    By Blogger P Watson, at 1/17/2005 07:23:00 PM  

  • Mike, Diane, Matt & Chris,

    I wish I were there to answer the phone for you! :) I have been meaning to write and tell you that by in your Christmas Card, Chris looks just like Matt...or the 12 year old Matt I remember so well! We are praying for all of you knowing that this is terrible for you... but still praying! Much Love!
    Rob & Stephanie

    PS Joel, I'm calling it! This post will by far have the most comments! This is one very well loved family!

    By Blogger SG, at 1/17/2005 07:52:00 PM  

  • i just wanted to let you know that all of us in the Minter Lane youth group and our entire church are praying for your church family and specifically the families of those directly affected. this hits us hard especially because we were only about 20 minutes ahead of them, on our way home from winterfest as well. i'm a friend of julie folwell's daughter, emily, and i'm praying for their family also.

    in christ, katie
    lamentations 3:22-23

    By Blogger Katie, at 1/17/2005 09:14:00 PM  

  • We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We do not know what to do, but we do not give up the hope of living. We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed.

    God please be with these families and let them feel you presence. Pour out your peace in their souls, and comfort them and those that are comforting them.

    Praying in Alabama

    By Blogger Jeremy Houck <>, at 1/17/2005 09:19:00 PM  

  • This news is very hard to take. It is so hard to think about such a young child losing his life. And to think of the whole experience and how hard it must be for such young children to have to endure it. Your family and all the others involved will be in many thoughts and prayers. Let the power of love surround you!

    By Blogger FeedingYourMind, at 1/17/2005 10:07:00 PM  

  • Sorry to hear the news. Prayers are being lifted from Uganda for your family.

    By Blogger Scott Glisson, at 1/18/2005 02:40:00 AM  

  • I anxiously signed in this morning to hear the latest in Chris' condition and the other children, and was so touched by the round the clock prayers. Also, prayers from Uganda, Japan... Of course the love is so evident from Abilene and Nashville and lots of places in the south. Just another entry to let you know you are forefront in our prayers in Colorado, too, especially from the Boulder Valley Church of Christ. We know you are still in rough waters there and our hearts are with you.

    By Blogger Cindy, at 1/18/2005 05:18:00 AM  

  • Mike and Diane,
    We were, as all others have expressed, shocked to hear the news of the accident with Chris and the others from Highland. From that moment, he and the other children have been on our minds and in our prayers. We pray for complete physical and emotional healing for the children and mom who is injured, and we pray for strength, courage and peace for you, Diane and Matt.

    Sending our love from New York,
    Allison and Jason Isbell

    By Blogger J-Wild, at 1/18/2005 05:22:00 AM  

  • Mike - Our flock has been alerted to pray for all the families involved. God be with all of you as you deal with so much right now. --Kevin & Lea Anne

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/18/2005 05:42:00 AM  

  • Praying for you in Sarasota, Florida

    By Blogger EvanRC, at 1/18/2005 05:57:00 AM  

  • Many prayers from Memphis. God bless...

    By Blogger MarkS, at 1/18/2005 06:05:00 AM  

  • I can only imagine and I plead to God.

    By Blogger spot, at 1/18/2005 06:21:00 AM  

  • Prayers are being lifted up from Richmond, IN

    By Blogger Mike Ballard, at 1/18/2005 06:52:00 AM  

  • Mike and Diane~

    Please know that you and the other families involved in this horrible accident are in my prayers and my thoughts in the coming days of recovery. My heart goes out to the family of the boy who died. I write from Indianapolis and in reading through the messages sent so far, I praise God for the family of his that pulls so quickly together from all over the country to comfort each other. God bless you. I pray a quick and complete recovery.

    By Blogger Dana, at 1/18/2005 07:02:00 AM  

  • The first time I heard Fernando Ortega's song, "Give Me Jesus," was when Mike played the music video at Highland last year (I was delivering my son, Matt, to ACU). Complimenting the message from Mike that morning, that simple song was one of the most comforting and inspirational that I had ever heard.

    This morning I played it and prayed for those who are in pain and grieving loss this morning. Pain is such a common denominator. My prayer for those who are suffering, grieving and in pain this morning is: "when I am in pain, when I am in pain, when I am in pain, Give Me Jesus."

    Give Me Jesus
    by Fernando Ortega

    In the morning, when I rise
    In the morning, when I rise
    In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus

    Give me Jesus,
    Give me Jesus,
    You can have all this world,
    But give me Jesus

    When I am alone
    When I am alone
    When I am alone, give me Jesus

    Give me Jesus,
    Give me Jesus,
    You can have all this world,
    But give me Jesus

    When I come to die
    When I come to die
    When I come to die, give me Jesus

    Give me Jesus,
    Give me Jesus,
    You can have all this world,
    You can have all this world,
    You can have all this world,
    But give me Jesus

    By Blogger David Michael, at 1/18/2005 07:14:00 AM  

  • The first time I heard Fernando Ortega's song, "Give Me Jesus," was when Mike played the music video at Highland last year (I was delivering my son, Matt, to ACU). Complimenting the message from Mike that morning, that simple song was one of the most comforting and inspirational that I had ever heard.

    This morning I played it and prayed for those who are in pain and grieving loss this morning. Pain is such a common denominator. My prayer for those who are suffering, grieving and in pain this morning is: "when I am in pain, when I am in pain, when I am in pain, Give Me Jesus."

    Give Me Jesus
    by Fernando Ortega

    In the morning, when I rise
    In the morning, when I rise
    In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus

    Give me Jesus,
    Give me Jesus,
    You can have all this world,
    But give me Jesus

    When I am alone
    When I am alone
    When I am alone, give me Jesus

    Give me Jesus,
    Give me Jesus,
    You can have all this world,
    But give me Jesus

    When I come to die
    When I come to die
    When I come to die, give me Jesus

    Give me Jesus,
    Give me Jesus,
    You can have all this world,
    You can have all this world,
    You can have all this world,
    But give me Jesus

    By Blogger David Michael, at 1/18/2005 07:14:00 AM  

  • Mike,
    You guys are in our thoughts and prayers. God bless you.


    By Blogger Adam, at 1/18/2005 07:20:00 AM  

  • To All Who Are Praying,

    Saw Mike & Family last night. Your prayers are being felt by them and answered by God (was there ever a doubt). The news has been good on Chris, Austin and John Westin. They are so tough.

    God is truly using Dr. Jim Morrison to encourage, inform and comfort all three families. He will say he is doing nothing and I'll grant him that. God, through your prayers is using Jim as his vessel. So while your praying thank God for Dr. Jim.

    The families are able to check the responses here on Mike's blog, so they are aware of the global nature of those praying. Keep it up.


    You've taught us for years about being the "Body of Christ". As you run out of prayers, we the "B-O-C" take over, whatever you need, we are here. Post it if you get a chance.

    Finally, coming out of this, we won't love our kids more, we will love our kids better.

    See, we do listen!

    Love you guys,

    By Blogger Buster, at 1/18/2005 07:37:00 AM  

  • "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

    Love and sincere prayers from Idabel, OK.

    Brad Giddens
    Bypass Church of Christ

    By Blogger Brad, at 1/18/2005 07:41:00 AM  

  • Dear Mike and Diane,

    The moment I heard about the accident, I began praying for Chris and your family. My prayers will continue to include all of the children and their families involved with this tragedy! Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficultl time.

    I have passed the information along to the congregation of Sycamore View Church in Memphis, TN. We will continue to remember all involved as a church in the coming days.

    By Blogger Olivia, at 1/18/2005 07:53:00 AM  

  • Praying from Atlanta.

    Grace and peace to you all.

    By Blogger Jerrad, at 1/18/2005 08:04:00 AM  

  • Mike, our prayers are with you brother.

    Bruce Bates
    Cumberland, RI

    By Blogger Bruce Bates, at 1/18/2005 08:07:00 AM  

  • MIke & Diane -- We were with a group of Searcy / White County teens at a Teen Leadership Conference in Branson when we got the report of the accident. All present stopped and prayed for those effected -- not knowing at the time that your son was one of the ones involved. Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you, and with all at this time. May you confidently know of God's presence with you during this time.

    In His Service,

    Tom & DeeAnn Martin
    Cloverdale - Searcy

    By Blogger Tom, at 1/18/2005 08:12:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Brian, at 1/18/2005 08:12:00 AM  

  • Tons of prayers here from Southern California.

    Be strenthened brother. When I am weak, I AM strong.

    Ps 18:46
    "The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock!
    Exalted be God my Savior!"

    2 Cor 12:10
    "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

    By Blogger Brian, at 1/18/2005 08:13:00 AM  

  • Wanted you to know that as soon as we heard out here in San Diego, we began to pray. We will continue to lift you all up to our Abba.

    By Blogger MLundy, at 1/18/2005 08:18:00 AM  

  • Has there been any news?

    By Blogger Phil, at 1/18/2005 08:41:00 AM  

  • Mike,
    I wept this morning as I prayed for your son and the other young men and women who were injured. Although we have never met, we are united. I just finished a weekend with 300 teens and as a youth minister, this type of situation is one of my greatest fears. However, God is awesome and His compassion shines even brighter in times such as this.
    May God bring healing, both physical and spiritual to you and all who are involved.

    By Blogger jerry, at 1/18/2005 08:43:00 AM  

  • My prayers to all those hurting. Praise God for his wisdom of giving us a church family to minister in times such as these.

    By Blogger Steve Duer, at 1/18/2005 10:29:00 AM  



    By Blogger RPorche, at 1/18/2005 11:06:00 AM  

  • Prayers are being said for your family and all concerned in Conway, Arkansas. I heard about the accident from Stephanie Elliot Grosz. She has mentioned you and your family enough that I feel like I almost know you.
    Susan Jenkins
    Robinson & Center Church of Christ
    Conway, AR

    By Blogger SJ, at 1/18/2005 12:00:00 PM  

  • Mike and Diane, God bless you during this difficult time. I am praying for you and your son Chris and his good friends. From the comments, I see that God is sending down 10,000+ angels working through our christian brotherhood to minister to you and these sweet kids. Love you.

    By Blogger Keith, at 1/18/2005 12:09:00 PM  

  • Our family is praying.

    Sara, John, Nate, Brynn
    Rochester Hills, MI

    By Blogger sara, at 1/18/2005 01:02:00 PM  

  • Mike and Diane,

    We are praying along with many at Skyline church -- for healing, for strength, and for wisdom. May God continue to be glorified in your lives.

    Bob and Lourene Clark

    By Blogger Bob Clark, at 1/18/2005 01:16:00 PM  

  • Mike and family and those of Highland,

    My prayers are with you and yours as you work through this ordeal. I left Winterfest Sunday too, and tears filled my eyes as I read about the accident. I am saddened by what happened, and just know that my family and I will be praying for ya'll.

    By Blogger Jason Retherford, at 1/18/2005 01:38:00 PM  

  • Mike, Diane, Matt and Jenna- This is Nichole Langham, your cousin (Ralphs granddaughter) I am so sorry, I cried uncontrollably when my mom told me. I pray every day forChris and for you all as well. Love to you all!

    By Blogger nichole, at 1/18/2005 02:06:00 PM  

  • Karen and I, as well as our church family at Northern Hills in San Diego, is praying for Chris's full recovery, that of the other kids, and the Bourley's in their grief. Our thoughts and hopes, as well as our prayers are with you and Diane.

    By Blogger Kevin Withem, at 1/18/2005 02:09:00 PM  

  • I was also at Winterfest that weekend, and I don't think that we were more than 30 minutes in front of that group. It was an incredible weekend, and I am glad that I was able to share the weekend with all of those kids, even if I didn't know who they are.

    I have been in constant prayer for the Bourland's, for your family, and for all of the other families who have been involved in this tragedy...including the Highland family and Abilene community. I pray that we would continue to rally around you and all those involved as the healing continues and as each day passes by. It was incredible to be at Brody's funeral and see so many people there in support and grieving together as a community as we honored the life of a wonderful little boy.

    God is in control and may He continue to place His healing hand on your Chris, Austin, Jon, Amara, Chris P, Beth, and Julie as they continue to recover and the Bourland's as their hearts begin to recover.

    IN HIM, Katherine

    By Blogger Katherine, at 1/21/2005 05:44:00 PM  

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