This is a story about an Amish boy called Little Samuel who from the age of 12 has not had the use of his arms or legs due to a terrible horse and buggy collision. A two-time cancer survivor and brushes with death three times, Samuels story, is one filled with tragedy and hopelessness that turned to hope and victory. It is about living a life considered impossible by most people.
With all the tragedies Little Samuel went through instead of letting the obstacles control his life he learned to overcome what others deemed hopeless. instead of feeling sorry for himself he reached out to help others.
When Samuel was twelve, he was in a terrible wreck that had killed him. A car, speeding at 80 miles per hour, crashed into the Amish horse and buggy Samuel and two of his family members were riding in. The impact demolished and shattered the buggy into small pieces where bystanders couldn’t even tell a horse and buggy had been involved. Samuel was hurt the worst and was considered dead. After repeated attempts to resuscitate him failed, he was pronounced dead and covered with a bed sheet. After the radio aired that he was killed a firefighter on the EMT wanted to give it one more try to bring the Amish youngster back to life.
Later the fire-fighter admitted he had no hopes for any success to bring Samuel back to life since they had already given up on bringing him back. But a voice within him told him to give it one more try. He could not have heeded to that inner voice, but something told him to give it one more try. As he pulled back the sheet and tried to resuscitate him, he had no hopes of success, but beyond all expectations, he got Samuel to breathing again. However, the doctors at the hospital told the family there was no way little Samuel would live. His injuries were too critical. He had received critical head injuries, a broken neck, and other injuries. He was unconscious and was brain dead, according to the Drs.
People had even come for little Samuel’s viewing before finding out he had been brought back to life. Since the radio had reported that he was killed a none Amish neighbor in an Amish community 40 miles away had heard it on the radio and told his Amish neighbors what he heard on the radio. The news spread through the Amish community, and a bunch of the Amish from this community came for little Samuel’s viewing before finding out he had been brought back to life but remained dangling on the edge of death.
According to medical science, there was no way Samuel would come out of it alive. The artificial life support at the hospital was the only sign of life that could be seen in Samuel for days. Samuels family were convinced what the Drs said was true and didn’t expect that Samuel would live.
In the meantime, Samuels 16-year-old sister made a sincere plea to God. She prayed and pleaded with God to let Samuel live. In tears, she begged God to let Samuel live and promised If God would only let Samuel live she would never get married and would always take care of Samuel. Days moved on, and Samuel didn’t pass away. Finally, the doctors assured the family that even if he did live, he would always be brain dead and never know anything or be able to do anything. Little Samuel remained unconscious for nine and a half weeks before gaining full consciousness one day like waking up out of sleep.
But Samuel’s life had changed drastically. He gained consciousness, only to find himself confined to a wheelchair and unable to move from his neck down. The reality was devastating and life draining, with no hope in sight. Put yourself in little Samuel’s shoes. A 12-year-old waking up finding himself unable to move from his neck down. He was able to breathe but not move. To little Samuel, it felt like his entire life had been robbed of him. All hopes and dreams were shattered. There were many days he wished he could just go to sleep and never wake up.
Samuel is also a two-time cancer survivor. He had cancer when he was only 3 and was taken over 2,000 miles from home for treatment for any hope of recovery. Then, when he was 6, his cancer returned, and this time after his first chemo treatment, he got spinal meningitis and was unconscious before they could get him back to the hospital. Doctors weren’t sure they could save him. When the parents came to the hospital, they were told there was possibly nothing to be done for their son. He had gotten spinal meningitis and was already unconscious. But while the Dr talked to them he thought of a new medication and explained it had never been used for anything this critical but that if the dosage was doubled or tripled and Samuel gained consciousness within 24 hours, they could possibly help him. Right on the hour 24 hours later he gained consciousness but the recovery was long and painful. He had fully recovered and wasn’t considered a weakling anymore by the time he was 12. But then the all but fatal horrific crash occurred that changed his life once again; this time it was even worse. Paralyzed from the neck down, he was now in a situation that was about to drain him of the life he still had. Many in the family wondered why him again. It wasn’t fair after all he already been through. But God was molding was molding Little for a purpose nobody else could fill. For almost three years, Little Samuel was depressed and withdrawn with no hope yet deep in thought while crying out to God.
From early in his injury, the bible was the only book Little Samuel had to read. He read the New Testament from cover to cover many times over. Each time he would learn a new inspiration and undying hope that would keep him pressing forward. The things he learned from reading the New Testament became the foundation that helped Samuel endure future battles. With God all things are possible. Even though the Drs or nobody gave him any hope, it was then he remembered the Drs had also said he would always be brain dead. It became real to him the Drs were not God and putting trust in people was a recipe for disaster. Even in hopeless cases, Samuel remembered that with God all things are possible.
It was at this point when things started shifting for Samuel. Despite being in a wheelchair and unable to move, things happened that showed him life was still possible; he just had to go about it differently. After undergoing a world-historic surgery, he was at a Shriners crippled children’s hospital in Lexington Kentucky where a beautiful young nurse named Bridgett fell in love with him. However, because he was Amish and she wasn’t, his parents would never allow such a relationship, but their love only grew deeper. To Bridgette Little, Samuel was truly a hero with everything he been through, and he made her happier than she had ever been. Caring for him gave her a feeling of being needed and a true purpose in life unlike she had ever felt before. She could not keep their love concealed. She showed him she didn’t see him as being in a wheelchair and repeatedly assured him it was his heart that mattered to her not him being in a wheelchair. It was beyond her control he meant more to her than anybody ever had. Her heart and life were truly touched. She had been engaged to be married when Samuel came in her life, but she broke off her engagement and asked Little Samuel to marry her if she waited. He changed her life. She never felt so happy and needed. The day Little Samuel left the hospital Bridgette’s life was torn apart. She couldn’t stop crying. And although she had never been at an Amish home she drove the 80 miles from the big city to the Amish farm to spend time with Samuel. It was becoming obvious to Samuels family she deeply cared for him. Later when Samuel went back to Shriners for a checkup, Bridgette couldn’t contain herself and called Little Samuel “her man” in front of everyone. After this Samuels father no longer let Samuel have contact with her. He was afraid she was tempting Samuel to leave the Amish.
It was during this same time period that Samuel saved a neighbor’s life. Hearing others tell him he done something most people able to walk never done sparked a new realization for little Samuel that God was going to use him for unusual things. At this same time, a friend turned to him for counsel and inspiration to overcome depression and suicidal thoughts after his son had been killed in a wreck. And yet others deeply confided in him. These are a few of the things that showed Samuel he still had great potential in life even if his situation required to go about life differently. He only had to figure out things, and it set him on the path of wanting to know the mysteries of life and what really was the truth about things that really mattered.
After Samuels family moved back to Ohio a next-door neighbor lady named Patricia, a retired child psychologist, was deeply touched after hearing all Samuel had been through. She marveled that he wasn’t angry at the world. His motivation and inspiration made her want to adopt him as her own son and do everything she could for him. Patricia got him a wheelchair he could sit in again. She helped him start his own craft business that grew so quickly that he had to hire others in the community to meet demands. She helped him build his own house. Patricia was helping him be successful and called him her favorite son. Samuels Amish girlfriend, whom he had broken up with over rumors that he wasn’t staying Amish, was back. She had confided in his cousin there wasn’t a day that went by since they had broken up that she didn’t think of him and wished to be with him again. And because of what Patricia helped him start a business Samuel got recognized as someone that created jobs for the community.
When major Church conflicts divided the only church little Samuel knew growing up; little Samuel was set on yet a new course in life that was more difficult than ending up in a wheelchair had been. The situation forced him to seek deep the true meaning of life and what were the things that really matter. He came to the realization despite any hardships, whether or not one was in a wheelchair, he had to choose to fear God more than man regardless if it was family, friends or whoever. He realized the real purpose in life one had to seek to do Gods will look at all costs. To overcome insecurities in life one had to care more what God thinks than what majority of people thought. One had to rely on God and not trust in man. With this realization it was becoming more and more evident, God was molding Little Samuel for a great remaining purpose.
Later Little Samuel had left the Amish. He has given inspirational talks at the same time got his GED and went to college. He taught about the Amish culture at high schools and has worked with college professors on major Amish literature. Learning the illusion of the “system” in 2013, Samuel returned to the modern class Amish and founded the Amish CareTakers (ACTs), a small service organization to help others with special needs achieve their dreams too. He was a core advocate in Sarahs Health Freedom Fund, and the defense, for an Amish girl who fled the U.S. with her parents to prevent forced chemotherapy. His mission continues with current greater projects. People continue to be moved by his story. His story is a reminder that God is real and works through people and a great mission at hand. He is also the founder of “The Amish Homestead Bed and Breakfast” and “Native Earth.”
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Photo by Jim Fisher