From Disaster to a Man of Purpose

As Lynn Bryson, a long-time McMinnville (Ore.) Church pastor, walked into the seminary building of Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich., this spring, his mind flashed back to March 26, 1986, when he was a 24-year-old seminary student on a mission trip to Mexico.

During that trip, the Piper Cherokee 6 carrying Bryson lost power and crashed into the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Bryson's leg was broken and his lower back was injured, leaving him mostly paralyzed from the waist down. Bryson was told he probably would never be able to walk again, and would likely never have children.

Then, a short time after returning home, Bryson was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which could only be partially removed without destroying his brain stem. For a second time he left his fate in the hands of God, and following surgery and radiation therapy, he was pronounced cancer-free.

After more than three years on a medical leave of absence, Bryson became a pastoral intern at the Rockwood Church, in Portland, Ore. He began walking with forearm crutches and married Debbie, a well-wisher and correspondent during his challenges. While the Brysons served throughout the Oregon Conference, God blessed them with three children.

At last God has opened the door for Bryson to return to the seminary to complete what he began so long ago — his master's degree. He is preparing for a doctoral program as well. As God promises, "... I know the plans I have for you ... plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

Featured in: August 2012