Chris Frase has posted some information about his membership being annulled, and has sent me this letter detailing the incident that took place in Lobelville TN in 2006. I will remove the posts from the thread benched minister and put them in the comments here so that the whole story is together in one place.
October 18th, 2006 I went berserk holding our preacher at knife point for grievances even he at the time didn’t understand. Later I was diagnosed as severe bipolar, something at the time I had never heard of. I thought, as did members of my church, that I was battling depression and had even been given that diagnosis by our local nurse practitioner and put on Cymbalta two weeks earlier to treat the depression.
In my frenzy at the church the police were called and according to some they thought they were getting me calmed down. That part of the ordeal is a complete blank in my memory. What I remember is knowing I had completely lost it and I needed to leave and get calmed down. It took all my strength to pull the knife down away from the preacher’s chin and turning to walk towards my pickup. Throwing the knife down so hard it threw up sparks from the gravel (later verified by my neighbor who was one of the deputies on the scene that night) and seeing an arm come up in the darkness as they maced me emptying the entire can of mace into my left eye. I remember the pressure running down until it was only a trickle going down my cheek. As I had leaving on my mind, I continued to my truck and got in and started to leave but gassed it as my eyes burned, starting to spin out of control. The pickup spun counter clockwise which, unbeknownst to me, was right towards the deputies. They tried to shoot out the tires thinking I was trying to run over them but hit the rims instead with the bullets ricocheting back at them. As the pickup continued to spin in a circle, it pinned my neighbor in between a van and the front of the truck. He said he looked down and there was just enough room and time to throw himself across the hood of my truck and out of the way. Meanwhile his coworker was left to his own thoughts that I had killed his fellow deputy and was trying to run over him. All natural thinking, considering what he was “seeing” as my pickup spun out of control. He commenced shooting, a total of 16 45 caliber shots fired, 9 of which went into or through me. Six through the abdomen, one through the head, one through the wrist, and one to the buttock.
When the truck came to a stop I came to, as if out of a deep fog,choking on something which pulled out of my mouth. It was a rear molar. I had no idea what had happened, no idea that I had been shot, and relatively little pain. Only a little pain in my abdomen, which I assumed was from hitting the side of the church and hitting the steering wheel. I opened the door, put one foot out and then decided to just lay back in the seat, which I reclined and did. I remember the deputy putting his head in the door and then the ambulance crew loading me in the ambulance and cutting off my clothes, which I thought was strange, but was feeling too foggy-headed to worry about it.
I remember hearing the ambulance crew saying on the radio, “We have a white male, 45 years old, fatally shot!” but it never registered in my mind that that was me. I remember praying on the ride to the medi-vac rendezvous “Lord forgive me.” Not a panicky feeling, just a need to pray for forgiveness and assurance. They loaded me on the helicopter and I passed out as it lifted off.
Later my deputy neighbor told me, “We were not in control that night, God was!” He said, “Under normal circumstances it takes 30 to 45 minutes for the ambulance to arrive, when I radioed for help, ASAP, I stood up and the paramedics were tapping me on the shoulder asking where the victim was.” He said “Normally it takes 20-30 minutes for the helicopter to meet the ambulance, this time there was five minutes between when the ambulance arrived and when the helicopter arrived.” Coincidence? Not hardly!! Prayer chains were started across the country. The doctors told my deputy friends, “He will die, it’s just a matter of time.” I even had a living will that my wife took to the hospital. Looking at my medical records later, I learned that I had approximately 2 1/2 gallons of blood given me during my initial surgery. I had a stomach resection, my gall bladder removed, a hole through my liver, a hole through my diaphragm, a collapsed lung, a hole through my right wrist, breaking both bones, and a hole going from my bottom jaw through the roof of my mouth, and coming out just below my eye and about an inch and a half in front of my right ear knocking out two back molars, what a way to get your wisdom teeth pulled! Plus other injuries and wounds. The surgeon that worked on my head, when I was all healed up, leaned back against the wall on my last checkup and said, “You were a sick man when you came in here, the hole in the roof of your mouth was big enough for me to put my thumb in. We fully expected to have to do reconstructive surgery but you have healed up without it, it’s nothing short of a miracle!” About two weeks before I was released from the hospital, as I sat up on the bed, a nurse took a tweezers and removed a bullet from out of my back, on the center of my spine, within fractions of an inch of paralyzing me from the waist down. I kept that as a souvenir of the miracles. Being a machinist, I measured it and the mushroomed end is 0.501 of an inch in diameter, just a whisker over a half inch, or equivalent to a 50 caliber.
In my dreams, while i the hospital, there was one young man that came to my bedside and asked if he cold pray for me. I accepted. The doctors, in my dreams, went into another room to pray before they operated on me. Some dreams I wonder at, dreams being what they are, especially on narcotics, others I just accept as heaven sent to give me courage. When we are incapacitated and unable to pray for ourselves, the prayers of others fill in for us. When we pray, even for strangers we do not know, God hears and answers prayer. God works miracles even when we are unaware and in a coma.
Many of the nurses, one in particular, from South Africa told me, “God has a purpose for you or you wouldn’t be here!” As I tell my story and the miracles continue, I often get that response. And the miracles did not stop in the hospital. I was released from the hospital to jail with attempted murder and aggravated assault charges. As I discussed the charges with my attorney I told him, “The aggravated assault I remember, however, there is a question of me being in my right mind. The attempted murder never happened although I can understand how it would look n the dark not knowing what was happening.” The attempted murder charges were dropped, the aggravated assault was accepted, because as i told my attorney, whether or not I was in my right mind I know I did that, on looking back I am more convinced that due to the bipolar and wrong medication I was not in my right mind, but three years probaation was not a severe sentence.
On getting home and when I could finally concentrate and read, I started studying bipolar. Once I learned what it is, it was easy to see symptoms in my life from little on up. Today, on depakote and with a correct diagnosis and prescription, I am fairly stable. However, I learned some things. Once when I went to church one of the men asked me how I was feeling and I said, “Great! If I felt any better I couldn’t stand it!” That week I went to the mental health clinic and when they asked how I was doing and my response was the same they said, “Whoa, you’re feeling too good.” I was shocked! “How can I feel too good after all I have been through?” They explained that when I was feeling too good I was unstable. Bells went off in my head. I was diagnosed with depression two wee\eks before I got shot. After one week on Cymbalta at 30 mg the Dr. asked how I felt, I replied, “Great! If I felt any better I coudgn’t stand it.” He said OK we are going to raise your dose to 60 mg which is the therapeutic level. That was on a Wednesday, it takes about a week for it to get into your blood stream and take effect. The following Wednesday I had my manic episode that resulted in me being shot and a congregation being terrified. My mental health doctor tells that while Cymbalta may be a cadillac drug for depression, you do not give it to someone that is bipolar because it sends them into a manic episode, something that incidentally and with good reason is in the fine print of Cymbalta’s directions for use. Mental illnesses are treatable, but get the right diagnosis. Those who are bipolar usually seek treatment for depression, not mania and often are resistant to taking medication. As my doctor told me, “If you feel fine, good, keep taking your medicine, it’s working!”
Finally I got home from the hospital, from jail and started to get my hospital bills: $438,000. I called my dad and said “What does a fellow do? It’s not that I don’t want to pay them, they did an excellent job, but I’m not worth half a million dollars if I sold everything I owned!” My dad reply? “Talk to the hospital, pray to God and don’t worry about it, God has plenty of money. So I did. I asked for assistance, explained my situation, unable to work, want to pay but simply do not have the means. They asked for tax records, bank statements, a notarized statement of how we were paying our bills, etc. It took me three days to collect the required information and send it off to them. Each month I would get a bill, I called the billing department asking what they wanted me to do, each month they told me to wait on their assessment. That went on for about four months. after which I received a short letter simply stating, “We have considered your case, we are able to offer your full assistance, all of your accounts are paid in full.” I broke down and cried. So like what Jesus has done for us on the cross. He considered our case, that we are bankrupt and unable to pay for our sins, He is able to offer us full assistance and gladly pays our account in full if we but come to him and ask. The miracles never cease. God’s promises are true, He sees the sparrow fall and He will take care of you, even when it looks like all is lost, just ask and trust Him. When I first met the Lord as a child, He gave me these verses; Proverbs 3:5-10 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of thine increase. So shall thy barns be filled with plenty and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
God keeps his word. But not always the way we think. Isa. 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. I have found that even in what would appear to be evil happenings, god intends good for us, takes care of us, provides our needs and uses us to encourage othes and help one another. He gave us Job for an example and all the bible to learn from others mistakes as well as their right doings. We live because he lives. And yes, God still works miracles and answers prayers. I am living proof.