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Thursday, March 6, 2014

12,000 Prayers and Counting

On February 9, 2014 there was a pedestrian/car accident near the Gilbert Temple here in Arizona.  Two people I deeply care about were involved in this accident; Gilberto and Laura Laparra.  

I have been friends with the Laparra’s for over 10 years and dearly love them and their four daughters; Michelle, Shannon, Pamela and Priscilla. I wrote about Gilberto here, because he shared his time and talents to build my author website at

According to Gilberto, the accident happened like this:

Saturday afternoon was very beautiful and we parked on the corner directly across from the Gilbert Temple. We walked to the corner on the North side of the street and began crossing the street from West to East. Just before reaching the opposite curb I realized that 2 cars in the center of the intersection were about to crash and I sensed it was dangerous for us to be there because either car could spin off in any direction. I pulled Laura by the hand and all of the sudden one of the cars ripped her away from me and forced me in the opposite direction…thrown to the ground. I ran to search for her and I found her under one of the cars. I stood up and screamed with all of my strength that someone help me to move the car. Two people came to my aide and somehow we moved the car…. Upon seeing her so beat up, I felt that I had lost her and I yelled to call 911, several people held me back to calm me down and one man approached stating that he was a doctor, I tried to get myself under control and I asked everyone to step aside so that I could give Laura a blessing… I approached her and gave her a blessing…the paramedics took her away and my heart feared the worst, they checked out my back and took me in another ambulance, my mind was overwhelmed in thinking that I had lost her and my entire being was filled with an inexplicable pain. My friends began arriving [at the hospital] and give me comfort and 4 hours later I was given notice that she was still alive but on the brink of death.

In this moment, Laura is still in a very fragile state in a medically induced coma to control the swelling in her brain. The doctor told me the day after the accident that she was still very fragile and anything could occur, he said that with a little bit of luck everything would turn out well, but with a little bit of bad luck we could lose her. He stated that if she does recover she would surely have facial paralysis together with a few other serious consequences…. Never in my life have I prayed with such intensity and with every fiber of my being, I cry out to God to strengthen my faith, which has been debilitated. 

In the past three days God has answered my prayers, my faith has been strengthened and is strong…. So how has all of this been possible? Through you my dear friend, through your prayers of love towards myself and my beautiful princess. I can feel the strength and faith from many of you, I know with all of my heart that Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind and that he died for us, I know that families are eternal and that miracles exist through our faith. A huge thanks to each of you for your empathy and concern

When I found out about the accident, I was heart broken.  I ran and told the counselor and my kids.  How does something like this happen to someone so good?  Laura is a shining princess, doing so much in her life to bless and serve.  Her husband Gilberto is amazing and smart, loving and dedicated to his family.  Laura is strong and determined, kind and aware of the needs of others.  Everyday I prayed and thought of them, of her.  Something inside me wanted to be more like her, just to have a feeling she was near – that she would be ok.  Could I be kinder?  Reach out more? Serve those around me?

The week of February 16th was a tough one for Laura and those who loved her.  No one knew what the outcome would be or if she would make it or not.  We were told she might stay in the medically-induced coma for weeks or months.  No one knew the damage and nothing was predicted.  She was lucky to even have a fighting chance, but what a battle she faced.  I saw this photo and cried.  There was beautiful Laura. 

About 9 days after the accident, Laura took a turn for the worst.  I remember reading the facebook post – she had been rushed to have a cat scan and possibly surgery.  Even Gilberto couldn’t be with here and my heart sank.  I couldn’t handle the suffering of this beautiful family.  The pain was too much.  I turned to Mayer, my only child home at the time and said “Let’s pray.”  We dropped to our knees and offered a heartfelt prayer.  It had been shared that Gilberto and his daughters finished their prayers “Not my will, but Thine be done.”  I tried to have the faith to end my prayer this way, but I couldn’t.  All I could do was plead to God, “Please let her live.”  I couldn’t imagine Gilberto and their beautiful daughters living without Laura. 

Near the end of the week Shannon and Laura, two of the Laparra’s daughters were participating in a huge cultural event for the Gilbert Temple with 12,000 other youth from the Gilbert/Queen Creek area.  You can read more about the event here.  As they gathered for rehearsal, they had a prayer for Laura.  Can you imagine?  12,000 people with eyes closed, arms folded in reverence talking to God on Laura’s behalf. 
So many people were praying for Laura, 12,000 and counting.

Later, Gilberto wrote on facebook:

My dear friends, today at 6 am Laura recognized me, and a tear came from her left eye... today is one of my best days of my life. I love you all, please keep praying with me.

Slowly, Laura began showing signs of improvement.  She could open her eyes, acknowledge those in the room and then she wrote the words "Love you."  She was finally able to breathe on her own, sit up and then stand up.  How did Laura go from the brink of death to earlier this weekend being moved to rehabilitation center?  Thank you to the doctors and all those who are so well-trained and aware of just what she needs.  All I can say is it’s a miracle, a mighty miracle indeed.  

This weekend, Saturday March 8th there is a benefit garage sale to help with the costs associated with this accident.  Please, if you’re nearby and would like to contribute, it would be greatly appreciated.  The garage sale is at 8104 E Peralta in Mesa Saturday from 6 am-1. Details and updates are on a blog set up for Laura here.  

For the full news story, click here.  
Linking up to:
Jenny Matlock


  1. Wow. That is a horrible story yet amazing. I really hope that Laura is okay.

  2. What a tragic accident. I'm so glad her condition is improving and all the prayers are being answered.

    Please pray for Jenny Matlock too. Did you see her post? The one right before this week's Alphabe-Thursday post. She's facing some medical challenges.

  3. Keeping the family in my prayers!

  4. Laura, how is your friend doing? I read this post last year, and now wondering how all are doing a year later.

    1. Hi JanL, Laura has recovered remarkably well. At first Laura had limited function on the left side of her face, but it's barely noticeable now. I'm so proud of her. She's worked so hard and is living a beautiful life. Our prayers for Laura were answered.