WARNING: Extremely Long post, you don't have to read it if you don't want to... 22 years ago my mom woke up to me screaming in the middle of the night. I was panicked, I started explaining that something happened to Josh and I described that he was in the mountains in a hole and he couldn't get out. That everyone was looking for him but couldn't help him. I described more of my dream to her. She explained to me Joshua was okay and sleeping in his room. That it was just a dream. Well 3 years later when I was 7 this dream became very real.
Well today is a very special day to my family. September 22,1989, 19 years ago, my older brother Josh who was 10 years old at the time went on a scouting trip with our ward. He was a little young but since my dad was a scout master and most of his friends were older so they allowed him to go. They went to Tooele, Utah to explore an old abandoned mine, the Hidden Treasure Mine.
They all went in the mine with several adults and the boys. What boy wouldn't enjoy exploring a dark, dangerous mine. At one point the leaders even had the boys turn off all the flashlights. Darker than you can imagine,you can't even see your hand in front of your face. Well they continued on with the exploration and one of the boys was already partially blind and even with a flashlight he couldn't handle it any more. My dad was going to take him out, so he told Josh to come with him. Josh of course wanted to stay with his friends who were right in front of him. My dad let him stay since he was with other boys and adults. So my dad left and Josh turned to be with the rest of the group. Josh didn't have a flashlight but could see everyone else's and was running to follow the light. It seemed to get farther and farther away, he turned to see my dad but that light was gone completely. He turned back to follow the other boys and suddenly the light disapeared. (the group turned a corner). Josh just couldn't find the light after that. (Two of the searchers (Ray Guyman and Gary Christensen) with Josh.)
Josh decided to turn around and follow the wall to go back towards the exit where my dad left. It wasn't that far from when they entered and he had felt the wall the whole time walking in. What Josh didn't realize is that since he turned and again used his right hand to feel his way out, it was the wrong wall. The tunnel forked and was leading him further and further away from the entrance. He trudged through cold puddles and stumbled over rocks. Josh was feeling disoriented and at one point it was getting steeper. Josh remembered a thing my mom always told us. "If you are ever lost hug a tree." So Josh just stopped and stayed right where he was.
Josh was all alone in a cold, musty, dark mine. Josh prayed and felt an overwhelming comfort that he would be alright. He knew someone would find him. Outside of the mine once everyone was out and getting settled my dad couldn't see Josh. He asked everyone. He asked the boys who Josh was suppose to be with and they said, "No, he went out with you." They realized that noone knew where Josh was. Panic struck the leaders and my dad. It was now night and the boys fell asleep as well as Josh inside the mine. While the leaders continued to search for Josh. The next morning on Saturday, still no sign of Josh and now the authorities were involved. The scout group left and some of the leaders stayed to help. It wasn't until late Saturday afternoon that word finally got to my mom. And someone offered to take care of us 3 kids while another drove my mom to Tooele. (John Skinner with Josh at a BYU game afterwards.)
Inside the mine Josh prayed, sang songs, and slept. Josh was cold and hungary at one point he dreamt that he was eating a Big Mac from McDonald's and woke up and it wasn't a Big Mac.
There was one man named John Skinner who grew up around the mine and his grandfather was the superintendant of the mine and he knew it well. On the second day he came to the mine to help and for days was turned away. The authorities didn't want anyone except Utah Power and Light Rescue team in the mine for safety reasons. Dailey John went back begging to help inside the mine and still was turned away. One day he even snuck around the other side to go in a different entrance but it was too dangerous so he had to go back. (At the hospital)
Wednesday, 5 days later, was going to be the last day to search and they would close down the mine. At this point there was no way a young 10 year old was still alive. That morning my aunt Teresa looked out her front window with the Oquirrh Mountains in clear sight. And she saw a rainbow right over the mountain. There was still hope. John attempted one last time and happened to talk to two of the UP&L rescue. They told him that they need his help. John had 3 places that he felt strongly about. They checked the first two and didn't see Josh. They were looking at the map and Ray Guyman, who was deaf in one year heard something. They kind of laughed since they didn't hear it how could Ray. But they all listened and there it was. Josh was yelling for help. There was markings showing that this area had been checked over and over again but Josh was missed. They climbed a 30 degree angle and Josh was sitting on a steep ledge. If he didn't fall all those feet to his death, surely after 5 days and nights dehydration, cold or hunger should have gotten him. But he was still there. Gary Christensen grabbed him and told him they have been looking for him for a long time and explained that they would take him to his mom and dad. Josh explained, "No, my mom is not here only my dad." Josh was blessed with losing track of time and really thought it was only overnight.(This was the first picture of them lifting Josh out of the mine.)
My mom, dad, the bishop and his wife were at the hotel praying and they felt this overwhelming feeling come over them. Interupting their prayer there was pounding on the door they got up and opened the door and someone screamed. He's been found and he is alive. I remember sitting at my grandma's house and the doorbell rang. We were making pictures for Josh to give him when he was found, cause we knew he would be. The neighbor began crying to my grandparents that Josh was found. We couldn't believe it, we were all so happy. (This was a year later at the mine. Me, Terra & Jacob)
When my mom saw Josh he whispered to my mom. "Mom, I wasn't alone there were angels with me." We all knew very strongly that it was true. He was being protected and comforted. A while later John Skinner was up at the mine. He was walking around the mountain and found a porcelin angel. He kept that and knew Josh was being watched over also. There are so many more stories and experiences that people had relating to my brother's. I wish I could share them all but there are too many. This experience that happened to my brother and our family has really helped me in my life with my faith and testimony. I was so young when it happened but I will never forget it. I know that prayers are answered and miracles do happen. (After he came home from the hospital)
This is cuttings from a plant at my grandma's house that was given shortly after Josh was found. My grandma still has the original plant but I have some of the cuttings and I also got a pot and gave Josh and Johana some as well. I can't believe after 19 years this plant is still alive and so beautiful.Sorry it is such a long post.
Theodore at 18 months
3 weeks ago