Before Turning Off the Life Support . . .

Thornton Wilder in his The Bridge of San Luis Rey wrote: “Some say that to the gods we are like flies idly swatted by boys on a summer day. Others say that not a hair falls from our head without the will of the Heavenly Father.” But for too many the jury is still out—with the margin between life and death growing thinner with each passing day. And therein lies the mission of Hope Trending. But first this story.

Twenty-two year old law graduate Sam Hemming was riding with her boyfriend on the busy M-6 motorway in England a few weeks ago when suddenly his car flipped over, smashing Sam’s head through the windshield, sheering off an ear, breaking her neck, and leaving Sam brain dead with “no hope of recovery.” Airlifted to a hospital, Sam underwent six hours of emergency surgery and was placed in a medically-induced coma.

Nineteen days later doctors indicated Sam was brain dead and counseled the family “to prepare for the worst and to switch off her life-support machine.” The family gathered about Sam’s bed with their tearful farewells. The life support was turned off, when suddenly Carol, Sam’s mother, screamed. Everyone froze. Carol pointed at Sam’s big toe—it was wiggling. The medical team immediately reactivated life support, keeping Sam in an induced coma. Days later Sam was given a tracheotomy, and “when her life-support machine was turned off again, she was able to breathe on her own” (

Remarkably eight weeks later she was declared well enough to return home. And today, despite brain damage, Sam has learned how to walk and talk again. (Click on to the above link for pictures of Sam before and after—all with smiles!)

The moral of Sam’s story—don’t pull the plug too soon. Because “where there is breath, there is hope” (and sometimes hope even when there is no breath at all, as with Sam). Even for a society as utterly confused about God as Thornton Wilder described. Hope. 

And who better, may I humbly ask, to point the nation and world to hope than this faith community with hope embedded in the name we call ourselves, “Adventists”—people who joyfully embrace the hope of Jesus Christ and His soon return?

One week from last evening Hope Trending begins its quest to connect the hopeless as well as hope-seekers with the greatest Hope of all. Here are some bullet points (courtesy Rodlie Ortiz) to lock into our seven-day countdown:

•    New resources are available at for Watch Party hosts (including the custom invite flyer). Click the link that says “Public Flyer (Add an address).” With this resource, a group can click on the white box towards the bottom and customize the address and time of their gathering.

•    You can host a Watch Party in your living room, but don’t forget you can also host an online Watch Party. If you have friends that live outside of your local area, invite them to attend an online Watch Party. Inviting them couldn’t be easier. Go to and click Watch Live. Find a time that is convenient for your friend and then click the invite button. There are experiences across 11 different time zones, so it’s easy to find a convenient time. Additionally, people will be given opportunities to make decisions online, right from the comfort of their computer or mobile device

•    Want to know a way you can reach hundreds of your friends at the same time? In addition to being able to view Hope Trending on the website, you will also be able to view it at the Hope Trending Facebook page. So here’s a two-fold challenge: (1) go to and like the official Facebook page; (2) when the program actually starts, share the video feed from the Hope Trending Facebook page to your own page. By doing that, you’ll instantly be sharing the program with hundreds or even thousands of your friends. There could potentially be tens of thousands of people seeing the program through Facebook.

•    And whatever else you do for the next seven days and the nine days afterwards, please pray for Hope Trending and the people God will lead to this event. We’re all well aware that in the end it won’t be the technology or the panel or the host or the speaker that will make the difference—in the end it will be, “‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD” (Zechariah 4:6). Hope after all has always been His mission.

And on a personal note, thank you for your prayers for me. Paul’s appeal is mine, too: “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador. . . . Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Ephesians 6:19-20).