Did you know that Bethel has a Superhero in its midst? Our Superhero’s name is Connorman. Connorman’s real name is Connor Smith and he’s the son of our newest church members Shawn and Krista Smith. Shawn works for his family’s electrical supply company in Farmville and Krista works for Hamilton Beach Brands. They live off of Huguenot Springs Road.
Shawn and Krista told me that Connor is something of a miracle. I asked them to explain.Connor was born on March 28, 2010 and he came into the world as a beautiful, healthy baby. When he was five months old Connor suffered his first seizure. Krista says, “The scariest thing a parent can witness is your child having a seizure. During the seizures Connor doesn’t breathe and his limbs shake uncontrollably.” Connor was diagnosed with Epilepsy and a genetic mutation called SCN8A, which is very rare as there are only 250 cases worldwide. From this diagnosis it was determined that Connor will likely always be in a wheelchair, be non-verbal and have uncontrolled seizures.
Despite this diagnosis Krista says, “Don’t underestimate Connorman! This little Superhero (the reason he has a C cape on his wheelchair) is the toughest person I know! After years of smaller illnesses that would land Connor into the hospital for a week or two, he caught two nasty viruses at daycare when he was six years old. These viruses collaborated to flood Connor’s little lungs and forced him to struggle to breathe, sending his body into a severe sickness. He was put on a ventilator for close to five weeks. We spent many sleepless nights in the hospital and the doctors made no promises that Connor would recover. During this time Shawn and I prayed more than ever. After 50 days in the PICU, two hospitals, two blood transfusions, too many rounds of viral pneumonia and collapsed lungs to count, two intubations, one failed extubation and one successful extubation, Connorman had successfully defeated his biggest battle and was released from the hospital.”
I asked Shawn how Connor’s medical challenges have impacted his faith. Shawn says, “I see Connor as a miracle. The simple fact that we wake up every day with Connor is not just a blessing, but it’s a miracle. Being in the hospital with Connor for those 50 days taught me that life is a precious gift and that Connor’s presence is the best gift I could receive. I’ve also seen the Lord work in so many ways. As you can imagine there have been some challenging times with Connor’s illness and each time I ask, ‘How are we going to get through this?’ Every time the Lord somehow makes a way. The need is so great, but the Lord always fills the need. Also, I have to confess that early on I was not the best father in the world. My work ethic is one where I feel like I’ve got to be working hard all the time, but I’ve learned the most important thing I can do for Connor is to be there for him. So I’ve had to cut back on work and that’s been a blessing to me and my family. I’m a better father now and my relationship with the Lord is better.”
If you ask Shawn and Krista about Connor they will tell you that they believe they’re raising an angel. Krista says, “Connor is the truest form of perfection here on Earth. He is gentle, laid back, and has the ability to love and smile upon everyone. He passes no judgment, holds no hate, and returns a smile again and again. He even smiles at nurses after they’ve given him a shot. We’re literally raising an angel. He’s what’s right with humanity.” Krista goes on to say that, “Today, Connor is happy and healthy! Connor understands what you are saying and loves to meet new people, so please come over and say “hi” to him! You can also follow his Facebook page, Connorman: Our Superhero.”
In closing I want to share with you something that Shawn told me about Connor. He said that Connor does try to speak and that the only words they’ve been able to make out are the three most important words anyone can have in their vocabulary, “I love you.” 1 John 4:8 proclaims that, “God is Love.” God’s love is certainly evident and at work in Connor’s life. We’re going to celebrate what God is doing through Connor when we baptize him on Easter Sunday.*
This Easter will surely be a special one at Bethel as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ and the love of God that binds us all together. May God bless the Smith family and our Bethel Church Family. Amen.
* This will be a baptism by sprinkling and will be done in the People of Hope Center. Because of Connor’s medical challenges we cannot baptize him by immersion.