Whether you’re at home with your loved ones or across the world engrossed in other cultures, no one can remain untouched by news of friends and family experiencing deep suffering. Our cross-cultural group was saddened and upset by the news about former coach Britten Olinger and the extent of the injury he sustained in the accident. Two of the students in the group had been coached by Britten during his time at EMU. Many others had not personally known him but had known of him and the impact he made on others while he coached at our university.
Concern for Britten and his recovery is falling on ears across the world, and prayers are being lifted up all over. Our group wanted to share both our prayers for Britten’s health battles, as well as a deeply touching experience we were privileged to have in praying for him.
The morning we heard the news, our itinerary had already been planned weeks/months in advance. In the midst of hearing about the incredible suffering of those at home, God granted us the small blessing of being able to pray for Britten in some of the most sacred, meaningful places. The first stop on our itinerary brought us to a location known as “the high place,” which is a place thought to be the location of the last supper, as well as the location of the Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was first delivered to the world. Here we held a time of devotion and prayer for Britten and all the loved ones affected by the accident. We prayed that in the midst of their pain and fear, Britten and his family would feel God’s presence and peace holding them in His arms. We prayed that their loved ones would be blessed to be able to bring them much needed love and comfort. We prayed God would hold Britten in his hands, watching over his life and healing his body.
A scripture had been chosen to be shared during this time, from John 5. This scripture tells the story of Jesus healing a lame man at the pools of Bethesda. For us, this was a testament to the miracles of healing that we know He is capable of, and a prayer for Britten both for a miracle as such, and for patience and strength. The pools of Bethesda and the location of this miracle, unknown to those who chose the scripture, was one of the locations we were to visit that day. Britten and his family were on all of our minds while we stood in a place that had witnessed God’s healing hands.
This family continues to be on our minds and hearts as we travel, eagerly awaiting the news of progress that is beginning to happen. We are continuing to lift up prayers for healing, comfort, and peace for Britton, his friends and family, and his doctors and health specialists.