Living Through Trauma

I want to share this story with you, though it’s hard for me to write about it. I’ve waited over a month to share it because it’s taken me this long to come to grips with everything. It’s been a hard month for our family, but with God’s help and the support of friends around us, we’ve been pulling through.


Monday July 25th was a holiday here in Costa Rica. We had no idea what a life altering day it would turn out to be. I took Kai surfing in the morning because the waves were really small – perfect for him. While we were at the beach we ran into our friends and neighbors the Knapps. Kai stayed with them and I went home.

Leslie needed to study because she was going to be teaching in a YWAM school the next week. So I had Ezzy, Jude and Koa. The boys really wanted to go swimming so I got everyone ready to swim and told Ezzy and Jude they could play on the step until I was ready to go in. Koa is afraid of the pool so I was confident he would stay away until I could go in with him.  I was going to quickly clean up a big mess the kids had made in the grass near the pool.

While cleaning up I realized that I hadn’t heard Koa in awhile so I went to check. I asked the boys where he was and they said they didn’t know. I was just about to walk around the house to see if he walked that way when I noticed a dark shape on the bottom of the deep end of the pool. I dived in and saw that  it was my baby lying face down. I picked him up and swam to the top, I turned him around and looked at his face and my heart just dropped, his eyes were open, fixed and staring, and his lips were blue. All hope left me, my little boy was gone. I climbed out of the pool and screamed “Oh no!!” I didn’t know what to do. Leslie ran out to see what happened and I told her to get help.  We ran through the house to the front yard, Leslie ran down the street screaming for help.

I stood there for a moment at a complete loss. Then I laid Koa down on the grass just inside the front gate. Koa was lying there completely lifeless. No pulse, not breathing, eyes still wide open, lips blue.
Inside I was dying. I knelt down on the grass in front of him and it seemed like this moment went on forever.  Neighbors were starting to come now and they didn’t  really know what to do.

Finally our neighbor Indira showed up with an absolute look of horror on her face. She got right down on her knees and shouted in my face, “Do you know CPR???”  I said “Yes.”  She said “DO IT!!” The ironic thing is that I have taken CPR and been re-certified at least six times but until that moment it had not even occurred to me to try because how can you revive someone who is dead??

Meanwhile I could hear my wife somewhere behind me saying, “Oh my God he’s dead, oh my God he’s dead!!” So I started doing toddler chest compressions and did two breaths in his mouth and Koa groaned. His face was still completely lifeless. His eyes were open with no life in them, but a little groan came out with some bubbles.  I thought this was some kind of reaction to the air that I just put in him so I still had no hope.  I did more chest compression and breathed in him some more and he coughed. I turned him on his side and some water came out.  I breathed in him some more and this happened again. I laid him on his back again and he took a gasping breath. The weird thing is that when he took that breath  his eyes were still completely lifeless, but from that moment on life began to comeback into them again. People were all around me saying keep breathing, keep breathing and I did. Koa started very weakly to cry and it got stronger and stronger.  People started saying he was going to make it and he was going to be alright.

I picked him up and handed him to Leslie. He was crying and then his eyes started rolling back in his head and it was like he was passing out and nothing we did could keep him awake. Leslie screamed, “We have to get him to the clinic!!” An ambulance had been called, but since they weren’t there yet, we jumped in the car and went racing to the clinic. The doctor checked Koa out and said he was fine but he wanted to observe him for a couple of hours. Koa fell asleep with Leslie and slept for the full two hours. When he woke up he laughed, walked, said “Mama” and the other words he knew. He was fine. And all the doctor could say is, “Es un milagro de Dios.” A miracle of God.

We immediately left town to get away as a family. Leslie and I kept having flashbacks of what happened.  We were traumatized and broken.

The next day our friend in San Jose  told us that a group of ladies had been praying for us and one of them saw a vision of Jesus kneeling down and breathing in Koa’s mouth.  Another one said make sure that you tell Scott that this was not done by human hands but by God, and what God does is perfect so he doesn’t have doubts about what happened to Koa.

Here’s the thing, people were saying you saved him, but I never thought I did. I mean what I did in CPR was so minimal it was not enough to bring a person back like that. I talked to a lifeguard down here and told him what happened and he said it’s a miracle. That does not happen. He is the head lifeguard here in Jaco and in his experience when kids drown they die very quickly.  Adults you can bring back but with kids it’s very rare.

So what the lady said about it being God who did this was the only thing that made sense. And it took a huge burden off Leslie and I because although Koa seemed perfect we were critically examining everything he did looking for something out of the ordinary that would show signs of the brain damage that he must surely have. So since God was the one who did it we didn’t have to worry anymore.

That night I received an email from a family friend. He said that he had woken up from a dream at 4:30 am on Monday morning. In the dream he saw a baby on the bottom of a pool. He jumped in and grabbed the baby; he said he felt such love and compassion for the baby but the baby was dead. He laid the baby down on the grass and saw God raise him from the dead then he went back to sleep. At 6:30am he woke up again and God told him to intercede, so he did, though he didn’t know who he was praying for. That same afternoon he received an email from my brother telling everything that happened to Koa and he just started shaking.

I wanted to tell this story all for Gods glory. I think many people think that either God’s not real or if He is He is far off and detached from what is happening to us on this earth. This illustrates how active He is. In this situation Leslie and I did not have faith – we lost hope – but God raised up someone who did have faith and He moved on our behalf. He “…searched for someone to stand in the gap…” (Ezekiel 22:30) and found a man who would pray. God is real, He loves us beyond what we could imagine.


31 Responses to Living Through Trauma

  1. Heather Nunn says:

    Oh wow… tears of joy, Scott. God is so faithful. Hallelujah!

    • Sarah Washam says:

      Amazing is his love! It really shows the power of prayer. So thankful that he is ok. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. You and Scott are true people of the Lord! I am so glad he saved your baby. My heart was breaking reading about my poor Leslie saying her baby was gone!!!! I am so thankful that he is ok!!! You guys of all people I know on this planet desirve his grace and mercy. Thank you Lord! Sometimes I have a hard time trusting, believing, and having faith. That story just restored mine!!!!! I love you guys. Thank you Lord!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Flavia Koopman says:

    Wow guys God is so real… I got chills whiles reading this story. It was good chills tho, made me realize that God is bigger then us.

  3. Sandy says:

    Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever! 1Chronicles16:34

    Thanks LORD!

  4. Amazing story, guys. So glad Koa is ok.

  5. Karyn says:

    There are no words. Praising God for his mercy and Koa’s life!

  6. Praise the Lord, for he is so great and gracious. What a terrifying, traumatizing and devastating event for a family to endure! The after effects of such an occurrence can weigh heavily on a family, your family will continue to be in our prayers. Love and Blessings from the Schaefer Family

  7. Brittany says:


  8. Natasha says:

    Wow. I don’t even have words. Thank God he is okay. Wow.

  9. Patricia says:

    OMG guys!!!!! God is So faithful and awesome and….THANK YOU for sharing this story…Gracias chicos, la fe crece con el oír y esta historia definitivamente hace crecer la fe en nuestro Dios… Todo mi amor para ustedes…SO proud of you guys…always….

  10. mhegs says:

    Love and prayer always for your family Kuya Scott

  11. Annie says:

    Scott, thank you for sharing. I’m so thankful that God stepped in so miraculously, what awesome stories of intercession. And I’m lifting you, Leslie and your family up in prayer, because I can’t even imagine how difficult that was to walk through.

  12. carolyn thomas says:

    The mercies of the Lord are new every morning, Great is His faithfulness!
    God loves you all so much and there is no doubt that He has great and mighty plans for Koa. May God protect your family and heal all those difficult visual images. Jesus was right there with you, as you lifted Koa out of the pool.
    May the blessings of the Lord be on all six members of your family.

  13. Oh, how terrifying and yet how amazing! Praising God for saving your precious little one!

  14. His mercy is new every morning. I am sitting here in tears. Miracle seems to ordinary to say … God stepped into your story and brought him back. It is beyond words amazing.

    Glory, glory, glory to God.

  15. Tanya Mas says:

    Thank you for sharing this story, it touched me in many ways I could never put into words!

  16. Nancy Dilbeck says:

    Our Amazing, Loving, Beautiful God Love you and that is all that matters. Remember that every time the enemy wants to bring you down. You have seen your God raise the dead, with a God like that what can come against you. We continue to lift you up for the wonderful ministry He has given you.
    Love you all, NN

  17. Janna Moats says:

    oh my, so sorry and so amazing! God with us in the everydayness and crisis of life. Having been at your house – I can imagine it – something so simple as the boys just waiting for you – turns into such a critical moment of God’s intervention. Thank you so much for the vulnerability and all of who you are.

  18. otmama says:

    Thank you for sharing this story. Tears are pouring down my face, I can’t imagine how scarey this must have been. Thank God that there were prayers being said, and that God was there in that situation.
    it’s poignant for me, because my 2 year old, our youngest was locked in the car, the day before yesterday, for half an hour when the car locked itself and the keys were beside his car seat. Fortunately a mechanic was able to help, by opening the door wide with metal bars, enough to hook the keys and get them out. Thank God! It’s not on the same scale as your experience but I can sympathise with it being very scarey and feeling so helpless. Thank God that Koa is OK.

  19. Doug Burt says:

    Hey you guys. We are so sorry for the trauma that you have been thru, but so happy for what God has done. We thank God for his mercy and grace. We love you all.

    Doug and Margie

  20. Vanessa Randewijk says:

    Praise the Lord for his intervention and faithfulness. May His arms suround you, carry you, open the way for you and provide finances, confort and healing.
    Blessings to you all

  21. serena says:

    give thanks!
    My mom went into the hospital on July 9th. She had to have surgery for an obstruction in her digestive tract and almost died. Dr.s didn’t think she’d make it , but she did. It was only prayer and the hands of the doctors and nurses that saved her. Mom just got out of rehab 3 days ago.
    Give Thx!!

  22. Aaron Royce says:

    I was so moved by this post. I can’t even imagine your anguish at the time. Now that you are past it, I can rejoice with you in God’s faithfulness and the miracle that your family has experienced.

    Thank you Jesus for sparing Koa’s life! You are so merciful! Continue to bless Scott and Leslie, and protect them from the schemes of the enemy!


  23. Deb says:

    Im balling my eyes out after reading this story. God is so good and so faithful. Praise God for his obedient intercessors. They could have chosen to roll over and go back to sleep but they didnt. Prayer works! Bless you and your family.

  24. eva says:

    I just read this! What a shock to you all! But what a story of triumph and God’s tender care and faithfulness! Wow the angels keep very busy with little boys, and us too I think! Blessings to you all; may you know peace and comfort!

  25. Mary Clarke (Skrebutenas) says:

    I would like your permission to copy and send this God given miracle with some friends.

    How anyone can not believe there is a God, is beyond me – we are indeed fortunate to have Him in our lives

  26. Cheryl says:

    Scott & Leslie it is amazing to see our awesome God at work. Koa has a mission on this earth & this was one of Gods teachable moments in reaching out to those who do not believe. Someone in that group of people who gathered around didn’t believe & God wanted them to see His Love and Awesomeness by raising Koa back in front of their own disbelieving eyes & heart. Our God

    • Cheryl says:

      is an Awesome God & He delivered to the unbelieving with Koa.

      Praying for all of you!

      Many Blessings & Hugs,
      Cheryl 🙂

  27. […] is, until July 25. That’s the day our world got shaken and turned upside down. Everything seemed to shatter to […]

  28. Janene says:

    I love to hear of the miracles of God and how precious of Him to so powerfully confirm how He was present and at work, using you as daddy, to breath life into Koa. It reminds me of Christ laying over the child and reviving him… God knew CPR way before we did! : )

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