Within seconds I was tumbling, skis and poles flung aside. When I came to, I was accelerating helplessly down a one-kilometre face of snow, ice and exposed rocks.
I made desperate attempts to stop my fall but to no avail. My body was weak, my left wrist was broken and I was moving too quickly, at times well off the ground. I expected to go all the way down and die.
However, a ski instructor below me saw my plight. He intercepted me and, with great skill, had me stationary on the second go. Though I lay precariously across his skis because of the steepness of the slope, I was safe. I had fallen some 300 metres--the height of the Sky Tower in Auckland. Miraculously, I live today to testify to God's grace.
At times throughout my ordeal, I prayed God would take me because I didn't want to die a long painful death. But when it was over and I realised I would live, I told God I would work hard at my rehabilitation and dedicate the rest of my life to the advancement of His kingdom.
The injuries I sustained were breaks to a wrist, my nose and two vertebrae in my neck. My hamstrings were badly torn, and I suffered cuts and severe bruising all over my body. However, the injury that had the most impact was the brain trauma. Overall, I was left 36 per cent disabled.
In the years since my accident, I've had miracles happen to me along the way. I've learned to walk again, then to run. Using fun runs as motivation, I have gained great satisfaction in seeing improvements in my physical wellbeing and completing goals. The biggest of these was to complete my first marathon--the New York Marathon--in 2006. Before my accident, I was a secondary school teacher of Maths and Outdoor Education. Because of my passion for Jesus, I was to take up a position with YWAM (Youth with a Mission) the following year. Previously, I had done a nine-month stint with YWAM in Hawaii and the Philippines, and I wanted to do more.
Raised a Christian, I became disillusioned with church. To me, it was more like a self-help Sunday club and I stopped going. I prayed for God to show me the "Acts 2" church of today--the church with the truth and a wholistic view.
Reading a Christian newspaper, I saw a seminar series on biblical archaeological discoveries and prophecy advertised. The teaching was Bible-based and enabled me to fit together different pieces of my biblical understanding. I believed whichever church was teaching in this way was indeed the church with the truth.
I was surprised and challenged when I was told it was the Seventh-day Adventist Church but knew I had to explore this further. I attended my first Adventist church in November, 2008. After getting answers to my questions, I realised this was God's answer to my prayer.
I really appreciate the Adventist Church's wholistic view on faith, the Bible, health, family, and education, and its worldwide focus. For me, the Seventh-day Adventist Church provides me with the truth, as well as a lifestyle. Much change has happened in my life with this new awareness and I praise God for that.
Now, I have been blessed to have the opportunity to use my God-given talents for Him. Recently, I spoke on exercise at the Hamilton Vegetarian Recipe Club, a community outreach project. After participating in countless fun runs, I am on the organising committee of the ADRA Charity Run Hamilton. This is a first for me and I am thriving on these challenges.
We all have our own race to run in life. Let us run with and for Jesus all the way!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honour beside God's throne in heaven. Hebrews 12:1, 2. Debra Beckett is still recovering from her injuries and is hoping to return to part-time work in the near future. She retains her love of outdoor activities and lives in Auckland, New Zealand.