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Liberty Journal

Student's recovery from near-fatal car wreck enhances her ministry

Spring 2012 : By Bethany Pico & Mitzi Bible

Jennifer Barrick speaks at a Bible study at Thomas Road Baptist Church with her mother, Linda, while being filmed for the Joni and Friends TV show.

 

Jennifer Barrick, a 20-year-old Women’s Ministry major, has had the opportunity to share her testimony of God’s grace in her life at Liberty and around the country.

After surviving a near-fatal car wreck on Nov. 5, 2006 in which Jennifer and her parents, Andy and Linda, and younger brother Josh were hit head-on from a drunk driver going 80 miles per hour a mile from their home, Jen’s life drastically changed. Not expecting to live through the night, she was in a coma for five weeks.

The night of the wreck, Dr. Jerry Falwell sent an email out to more than 100,000 in the Liberty community calling them to pray for the Barricks. School of Religion Professor Dr. Ed Hindson, Linda’s father, wrote the front-page feature article “When Tragedy Strikes” in the February 2007 National Liberty Journal detailing his family’s wreck and examining biblical suffering. Prayers and phone calls began to pour in from Liberty alumni and supporters all over the country.

Jennifer Barrick performs with The King's Players drama team.

Jennifer, 15 years old when the wreck occurred, suffered brain damage, but her spiritual side was not affected at all. While for a time she couldn’t even understand what a shoe or toothbrush was used for, she could recite all the Bible verses she ever learned and sing her favorite praise songs.

Through a long and continuing recovery process, Jen’s memory is improving daily and she is becoming more independent, though she still struggles with impaired vision.

She was able to start college on track with the rest of her classmates in the fall of 2009.

“Jen would say profound things in class and then get lost in the hall. The contrast is amazing. You forget the injury that is there because of the spiritual side,” Linda Barrick said.

Being a student at Liberty University has helped her in the healing process. Jennifer said she feels connected to the student body, making many friends who have helped her navigate her way around campus. She has been a member of the Awaken traveling ministry team and has performed with The King’s Players drama team. She has spoken to her peers in many Evangelism and Women’s Ministry classes and has been called to give her testimony at teen events, women’s conferences and churches from Lynchburg to California. The Joni and Friends television show, hosted by Joni Eareckson Tada, filmed a two-part series on Jennifer’s story.

Jen said she would not change what happened to her even if she could, because in her trials, God has used her to bring many into His kingdom.

“Your weakness is a lot of times what God wants to use in you to minister. It’s not your talent or ability, it’s your availability,” she said.  “God will use you if you’re available. God doesn’t look down on you; he looks on you more when we are weak.

Linda Barrick co-wrote the book “Miracle for Jen: A Tragic Accident, a Mother’s Desperate Prayer, and Heaven’s Extraordinary Answer,” which details their family’s story. It will be released this March.