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Miracle for Boy Threatened by Death

“We were out for dinner with some friends. And when we came home, he was not feeling well,” Kelly remembers.

The night of July 17, 2010, Jacob and Kelly Bonnema’s ten-year- old son Boone began having severe abdominal pain “At the house, he had trouble standing,” Jacob says. “We were thinking it might be food poisoning, or it might be the flu. It might be something like that. But when he had trouble standing, I thought ‘This might be more severe.’ So I knew at that point that it was time to get him to Children’s Medical. They were willing to call the ambulance to move him down there. We just got in the car since we could get there faster than the ambulance could.”
 Kelly adds, “And then right away, they realized, ‘Let’s take him in right away. He needs to get his appendix out.’”

Boone’s appendix had ruptured and he was rushed to surgery to remove it. All indications were it had gone well. But later, complications arose. “His vital signs were not improving,” says Jacob.  And when they are not improving, you get concerned, which was extremely emotional and it causes you to think, ‘Where are we? What’s going on? This feels more serious than what I thought it was.”

When they realized that infection from the appendix was spreading, doctors performed a second surgery on Boone. Jacob says, “When they went in to vacuum out the infection, it caused some lacerations in different places in his abdomen. And that resulted in clotting up and becoming a hematoma. The hematoma that they were most concerned about was literally the size of a can of Coke. And that was in a position that it obstructed his colon. After a number of days of not seeing him improve, they came and made the recommendation that they go back in and do a blood transfusion because they felt like the infection was not only in cavities all around his abdomen, but also in his blood.”

The blood transfusion was done, but Boone was still not improving.  “You start seeing all these specialists come in to try to figure out cocktails of antibiotics,” Jacob recalls.  

Dr. Boone Powell, the former CEO of Baylor Medical, who was there at the time, adds, “There were three surgical interventions. They just couldn’t quite get ahead of this infection, and it was very aggressive.”

Jacob recalls, “The doctors came out and said, ‘Mr. Bonnema, we cannot go back in again. This is our final opportunity to help Boone. He has to beat it this time. And when a doctor says something like that, it’s what you hear, but it’s also the unsaid. We’re no longer in the land of the normal with a burst appendix. But we’re actually in a situation where we’re watching our son fight for his life, and doctors saying that there is nothing else we can do. And that is a very solemn reality.”

“I think at that point in time, it really hit. I think, at that moment, as a parent, you really had to give it to God,” says Kelly.

The Bonnemas then began asking their friends and community to pray. “I knew, and could feel that people were praying for me all around the country basically,” Kelly says.

Jacob remembers, “At that moment, you just say to God, ‘Is this truly your story that you are writing? Cause I don’t want to lose my son. I love him. And you say, ‘God, I submit. He’s yours; he’s not mine. If it be your will, we want to finish raising him. Please let us have that opportunity. If you take him, we understand. He’s yours.’ That was a real quiet conversation between a father and a heavenly Father.”  

Boone was on morphine for the pain and drifted in and out of consciousness for several days as his parents continued to pray. “The grace of God was definitely heavy,” his mother says. “I think God gives you that strength when you don’t have it in yourself. It’s not a human strength. It’s a strength that only can come from Him.”

“On a daily basis, people were giving us scriptures,” Jacob adds. “Whenever you’re going through something, the scriptures come to life in a new way” a way that you maybe had never read it before.”

Then, five weeks after being in ICU, he began to stabilize.  the doctors cautioned his parents, though, that due to the damage to the colon, Boone would probably never lead a normal life.

“But we were just so grateful that he was going to have a life,” Jacob says. “And we started seeing so much movement in the right direction. He was waking up. He was able to talk to us again. I can’t tell you what it’s like to not be able to speak to your child for days on end. A little bit of food, a little bit of water--he was being fed through a feeding tube. At ten years old, when you lose 40 pounds, you don’t have 40 pounds to lose.”

It took nearly a year but Boone went on to make a full recovery. Eight years later, Boone is a healthy, active young man showing no evidence of the trauma he went through.

“One of my favorite verses is out of Isaiah,” Boone says. “and it’s, “Do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.’ God is with you even though it doesn’t seem like it at the moment. People who don’t believe in God, or things like that, it’s pretty difficult for me to hear because of the amount of things that God has done for me. So many blessings. “

He even started playing football and recently accepted a full ride to play for Western Michigan in the fall of 2019.

“Truly miracles on top of what the doctors had said was going to be his new reality. God wasn’t going to have that for Boone, you know, God was going to do something different with Boone,” his father adds. “He didn’t just get healed a little bit. He got healed completely. He is the most active young man out there on the field.”

“I think going through this whole experience is you really appreciate and you realize that prayer is real,” Kelly stresses. “And it is powerful.”  

Dr. Powell adds, ‘There is a person who is greater physician than all that have M.D. degrees. God is the great physician.”

“God spared me to, I think, help others in the long run, and to share my story like I am right now, to help give hope to other people that might be going through the same hardships,” Boone says.

“He’s fully restored,” Jacob says. “And only the Lord can do that. Only the Lord can do what man can’t.”

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