From Swarming Bees to Spreading the Gospel
Psalm 118 became a meaningful verse for Vern and Mary Roberts on Thursday, September 12, 2018. It was a normal day of yard work for the Roberts. Mary was removing poison ivy from their backyard and Vern started mowing their grass.
“They came out of nowhere,” Vern said. “We had been on vacation so the grass was taller than usual. I made three passes and then all of the sudden I felt something hitting my head.”
Vern realized the thumps on his head were in fact Africanized Honey Bees swarming him. In an instant, he was in the middle of a cloud of bees. The bees engulfed him and Vern fell to the ground several times while trying to get help.
“At one point, I laid down to die,” Vern said. “They had completely overcome me. I lay down and thought this is my last moment. This is where I am going to die. I started thinking about all of the things I had promised I was going to do and missions I committed to. I decided somebody else would have to take my place in those things because this was my last day.”
During that moment though, Vern said a voice in his whole body spoke to him saying, ‘you can’t let her (Mary) find you here.’ He then got up and started fighting again. He remembered thinking he wasn’t going to die anymore even though just a few moments before he thought his life was over.
Vern finally got to where Mary was and tried to communicate to her to get the water hose. She could barley understand Vern because he had bees in his mouth and down his throat. Mary recalled thinking he looked like a man who was dying with a sweater of bees covering his body.
After a failed attempt to deter the bees with the water hose, Mary ran inside the house to call 911. She then came back out to help Vern into the house to prevent even more bees from swarming him. Thankfully, Mary was only stung 42 times while trying to help Vern. However, Mary still had a terrible reaction because she is allergic.
Help finally arrived, but the paramedics and firefighters were unable to get to their home because of the swarming bees. Vern ended up walking back through the bees to get to the ambulance. The paramedics had to fight off the bees as they struggled to keep him alive. Firemen had to dress in full gear to get Mary to the ambulance. With her allergy, she had to be taken to the ambulance while in a sleeping bag to protect her from the bees.
The Roberts were taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Katy to be treated. Once in the emergency room, four nurses worked to pull the stingers from Vern’s body. They said they pulled out 600 stingers, which took about an hour and a half. They estimated another 100 stingers came out when they removed Vern’s jeans. Vern was treated in the intensive care unit for three days before being sent home.
Psalm 118 speaks of thanksgiving for victory. The Psalm vividly comes to life for the Roberts in verses 12-14 when it states “they surrounded me likes bees,” and “they pushed me hard to make me fall, but the Lord helped me.”
Since their incident with the bees, the Roberts have endured hardship while they heal physically and mentally. However, their faith has helped them get through and they still consider themselves victorious despite their hardship.
“It is amazing how you can feel when thousands of people are praying for you at the same time,” Vern said. “There were hundreds of thousands of people praying for me by name.”
From their church to the ministries they serve, the Roberts were lifted up in prayer and have been loved with acts of kindness like meals and monetary donations. Despite their hardship, the Roberts want their story to spread the message that God rescues.
“I think God is calling us out as a couple to speak out on His behalf,” Mary said. “Sort of like a public service announcement about bees, but even more so to share the message that God rescues.”
The Roberts’ story has caught the attention of several news outlets. Through each interview, the Roberts have spoke about their faith and shared the message about how God rescues.
“It has cemented more trust in my faith,” Vern said. “My faith was strong before, but I have always been one who wanted to show my faith by my actions instead of my words. Now, I am being called to use my words to share more about my faith because of what has happened.”
The Roberts were sharing the message of the Gospel long before their bee incident though. They have been active in numerous ministries. However, the ministry they have been most active with recently is the Kairos Prison Ministry. Their bee incident and message of God rescues has been especially meaningful for them to share with the inmates at the Huntsville Correctional Prison Unit.
“None of this is about us,” Mary said. “It is not for our own glory. It is only for God. It is always about God’s glory. He wants us to only brag on Him. Only God is good.”
To help Mary and Vern during this trying time, visit www.gofundme.com/help-vern-and-mary-Roberts. Mary and Vern also operate a small business Katy Kitchen and Bath. They would love to visit with you about how they can help you get the most out of your home. Contact Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.