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‘Complete healing’ is prayer for boy hit by lightning strike that killed father

Matthew and Grayson Boggs

VALLEY MILLS, Texas (BP) – “Mom,” Matthew Boggs called to his mother Angela as she mowed the lawn. He had picked up the mail from the box at the foot of the quarter-mile driveway as he walked his two sons Elijah and Grayson from the elementary school bus stop.

Rain was forecast, but the day was still dry.

“I turned my mower around” to get the mail, Angela Boggs told Baptist Press, “and as I was coming towards the house, just a big bolt of lightning came out of nowhere and it hit my boy in the forehead and down they both went, him and Grayson, face first.

“And I tried to get to them, but the mower wasn’t going fast enough, so I just jumped off the lawnmower and started running.”

Picking up Grayson and Elijah from the bus stop had been the joy of Matthew’s days. The 34-year-old father had thrived despite mental challenges including bipolar disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, autism, intermittent explosive disorder and additional mental challenges, his mother said.

He graduated high school in Indianapolis, Ind., fathered two children and married Kayla, whom Angela said also suffers mental challenges. They worshiped the Lord at Bosque County Cowboy Church, where Matthew helped Pastor Tater Paschal baptize Elijah as well as Kayla.

“I made a choice and a decision when Matthew was first born and I learned about him having disabilities. And I said that I thank God, for one, for him and I promised God that I would always, always take care of him,” Angela said. “And so, my sacrifices that I made for my son, I don’t consider them sacrifices. I consider them as giving my son a life. And that’s what I’ve always tried to do, was give him a life that he could enjoy and be proud of.”

The extended family lived in three houses on the 11-acre family homestead in Valley Mills. May 15 when lightning struck, 11-year-old Elijah had walked down one fork in the driveway as his father and 6-year-old brother, hands joined, walked down the other.

“By the time I got to them,” Angela said, “Elijah had already made his way to his dad and his little brother. And he rolled his little brother over and he (Grayson) had a little grin on his face and he thought that he was playing at first. But then he realized when we rolled his dad over that there was no movement in either one of them.”

The lightning bolt struck Matthew, traveled through him and struck Grayson. Angela and her sister Rhonda Lawrence started CPR on Matthew and Grayson, going back and forth between the two. Rain began to pour. Neighbors arrived. Police and ambulance responded, but their vehicles got stuck in the mud in the driveway.

Grayson Boggs has been at Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center in Temple, Texas, since being struck by lightning May 15.

“I performed CPR on Grayson. My sister ran back out to my son, and she just turned around, because she knew. She just told me to keep working on Grayson.”

Angela had cared for Matthew with the help of her husband Bernard McClellan until, challenged by lupus, her health began to fail. About five years ago she joined her sister Rhonda in Valley Hills, where they lived within walking distance of one another on their homestead. Matthew and Kayla lived in one of the homes with Elijah and Grayson.

The family put Matthew on a blanket on the back of Angela’s four-by-four. Rhonda drove him down the driveway to the ambulance as Angela continued CPR on Grayson.

“Once I realized Grayson was breathing, my next-door neighbor Tommy asked if it was OK to pick him up. And I said yes, run, run Tommy, run. He ran Grayson all the way to the ambulance, and they took off with Grayson.”

Grayson suffered a major anoxic brain injury, his cousin Stephanie Burris wrote on the GoFundMe page she established that has raised more than $77,000 for the family. He remains on a ventilator at Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center in Temple, Texas, Stephanie wrote May 29.

“When they took the tube out, Grayson was not moving enough air on his own,” Stephanie wrote. “The doctor said he will be on the vent for another week or so and try again. At that time if he fails being off the ventilator again, they will start discussing putting a tracheostomy then.”

Doctors don’t know whether Grayson will be able to walk or talk again, and will evaluate him again once he’s no longer sedated.

Angela is depending on God to get the family through the ordeal.

“I have a very, very good church family, and then plus my family are all Christians too,” she said. “I just keep my faith. I have my ups and downs. I cry when I go to sleep and I cry when I wake up. But I know God’s got me, and I know God’s got my grandkids and Kayla. And we’ll make it through this.”

Kayla has not left Grayson’s bedside, Angela said, other than to attend Matthew’s funeral services.

Matthew was pronounced dead shortly after the lightning strike. His funeral service was livestreamed May 20 at Bosque County Cowboy Church, with a second funeral and his burial May 27 in Indianapolis.

Paschal, who performed the May 20th eulogy, told Baptist Press Matthew’s faith grew immensely during his time at the Bosque County church.

“When Matthew first came to the church, he was unsure of himself. I don’t know how you would word it; but he wasn’t lost, but he wasn’t where he needed to be,” Paschal told Baptist Press May 31. “Over the past two years his walk with the Lord got stronger and stronger.”

The church bought Matthew a Bible translation that was easily understood.

“He was so enthralled with that Bible and proud to get it,” Paschal said. “He started sharing that even with his two boys. He would come to the men’s Bible study and he got into asking questions and commenting in our study, which was great. He’d do anything you asked him to do. But what I saw the greatest (spiritual) manifestation in is his walk with the Lord, and he took hold to teaching his boys, more and more.”

Grayson loved to help elderly members of the church to their seat, Paschal and Angela said.

“That child is a miracle of God. He’s got a heart bigger than his daddy. ‘I lead you,’ he would tell women on canes and walkers,” Paschal said. “And if you were in a rolling walker or a wheelchair, look out. He could be in the Indianapolis 500.”

The church has been with the family at Grayson’s bedside, setting a schedule when Kayla was away to cover the room non-stop.

“Our prayer (for Grayson) is divine intervention and healing, complete healing,” Paschal said. “We pray boldly and directly to petition God to bring him back stronger. That’s my prayer. We believe that can happen.”