One year ago today Heaven gained an angel in Janecia Chatman after the tragic accident that shook our ministry family to the core and brought us closer together than we thought possible. We spent the day navigating two hospitals, calling mentors, parents and prayer warriors to constantly pray as we awaited surgery results for the Williams twins. Never in Hope For Youth’s history had we experienced a tragedy among our youth of this magnitude. It was the type of day that felt like a bad dream that surely would end when we woke up. For those unfamiliar with the story here’s a recap.
The HFY staff grieved over the idea that something so difficult could happen to our youth and families already in difficult situations and conditions. If this had happened in a different time and place to different people would it be any easier? Likely not. Were we surprised it touched so close to home and that out of the few hundred youth we serve and only 4 on the bus that day we knew 3 out of 4? Yes.
We know God works in mysterious ways and trust his plans are greater than ours. We believe he has ordained the lives of our active students and will use their stories for his great purpose. This belief was astonishingly brought to light on September 15, 2015.
Dozens of people accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior because of Janecia’s story. Janecia, who put her faith in Jesus just two days before this accident ended her life on earth so she could meet her Heavenly Father. We believe Brandon and Lakeisha were saved by the covering of prayer they received that day and in the days following. Doctors called it a miracle for them to be alive and we know their story and building testimony is not over.
A year later Brandon is starting his senior year of high school and we are currently helping Lakeisha enroll in classes at HCC. In all honesty, the year has not been easy for the family but we know God’s timeline for change and opportunity is different than our own.
Thank you for continued prayers over the Williams and Chatman families, The Forge for Families and Star of Hope ministries that are closely connected in this story and for those grieving and remembering the loss of a beloved friend today.
KHOU interviewed the twins in a story looking at the safety of HISD buses since the accident:
One Year Later News Update