A Wisconsin pastor is fighting for his life after being involved in a brutal car accident in Oneida County Friday. James “Jim” Weiland has worked at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church since 1996. The family detailed that Jim was “T-boned” by a semi-truck while driving on Highway 8 in Rhinelander.
“He has a big impact on the community,” said Philip Marheine of Merrill,” as reported by 9 WAOW. “He’s a special person. A very, very special person.”
“He’s a member of the family to me, he baptized both my children and my wife, he’s been a part of my life for over 20 years,” said one congregant, Jon Kleinschmidt. “He was also there for me when I had my foot injury, always visiting, spending time with me, just giving me someone to talk to.”
Weiland’s church updated their Facebook page as to the condition of their pastor:
“On Friday, January 12, Pastor Weiland was involved in serious vehicle accident and is currently hospitalized,” the page detailed. “His family has asked for your prayers during this difficult time. For updates on his condition, please visit Caring Bridge.”
A recent journal entry on the page detailed some of the incredible progress the family has witnessed in the health of Pastor Weiland and also gave some more information on the accident.
“Apparently, the Jaws of Life were used to get dad out of the car (thankful for modern machinery!) and also that dad was BREATHING ON HIS OWN when the paramedics arrived, good news!” Pastor Weiland’s kids wrote on the journal page.
They also talked about their Father’s calling as a pastor, and were so proud to see his name mentioned on the news.
“I remember having conversations with Dad about the casualties of his role as a pastor… that it isn’t all rosy, and that you never truly get a break from the role — it is your calling, it is inside of you,” they wrote. “I pray and look forward to the day when he gets to read all the comments of each of you and the support the community is giving. He will be speechless… humbled, and renewed to continue his ministry more enthusiastically than ever, God willing.”
In their latest post, the family talked extensively about the ways in which God has been working through the trauma of having their Dad be involved in such a terrible accident.
“Throughout this journey our family has noticed many incredible coincidences. We prefer to call them miracles,” Weiland’s children wrote in the update. “As children of God we see life through a different pane of glass which changes our perspective on the events that occur around us. Knowing that God is here with us every step of the way leads us to properly label the following list as miracles.”
The update then detailed the incredible things that have taken place since Pastor Weiland was involved in his accident:
“Miracle #1: Dad was wearing his seat belt. Dad grew up in a generation where wearing your seat belt was not the law yet and so he still occasionally forgets to put it on. By God’s grace he was wearing it, as evidenced by some of the pictures where the seat belt was cut in order to get him out of the truck.
Miracle #2: The semi truck driver reacted quickly to dad’s sliding truck. From what we know, dad’s truck started sliding and crossed the median of highway 8. The truck was turning to the right with the driver’s side in front. The semi truck driver saw the sliding truck and cranked the wheel to go into the ditch but not before dad’s truck struck the semi truck. The impact was driver’s side door to driver’s side door. Had the semi truck driver not reacted so quickly, he would have slammed engine first into dad and almost certainly killed him instantly.
Miracle #3: The semi truck driver had no injuries. Had he been in critical condition as well, it could have been a long time before someone stopped and called an ambulance. But since the driver was OK, he (or someone helping him… details are still pending) was able to call right away.”
The family then explained how, despite the severity of the accident, James had absolutely no broken bones in his whole body.
“Miracle #4: Dad had no broken bones. He was hit by a semi truck. A SEMI TRUCK. Tell me God wasn’t there with his mighty army of angels,” they wrote.
They also explained how just months previously, Pastor Weiland underwent surgery to place a stent in his heart due to a blocked artery. Had this procedure not been carried out, his condition after the accident would have been grave.
“Only months ago, dad underwent a procedure to have a stent put in his heart because his main artery was 99% occluded,” they wrote. “The procedure went very well and dad recovered nicely. Had he not had that procedure done, the occluded artery would have been life-threatening in this situation.”
Members of the community have been rallying behind the well-regarded pastor as he starts on his long road to recovery. “God is Great!. He has your family (and all of us) in His loving arms. These miracles only scratch the surface of the miracle He has and will continue to give you all. Randy and I (and the kids) continue to pray for your family’s strength and Jim’s health each and every day,” one person wrote in support of the family.
“God is an awesome God. Thanks for showing us some of the many ways He is watching over Pastor. Prayers continue,” another added.
Despite all the positives that can be taken from Pastor Weiland’s improvement, he still remains in a critical condition. “Although we have these small improvements at times, still, dad is in an incredibly acute state, and things remain uncertain,” the family wrote.
“We know that he is in God’s hands and whatever He wills, we will submit to it. God is always good.”
Do pray for Pastor Jim and his family at this difficult time!