By Heather O.
Rick’s a Mormon.
He was baptized in September 1997. A golden investigator if there ever was one. When he told me that he was thinking about becoming a Mormon, I thought he was joking. I turned his wheelchair around and looked him right in the face and said, “Are you serious?” Indeed he was.
I arranged for the missionaries to give him the discussions. He cruised through them, and was baptized not long after his first discussion. One of the missionaries who taught him had a disabled brother, and he said that Rick was one of the most important people he had met on his mission. The missionary said, “Rick, you remind me of my brother. I like being here with you.”
The doctrine that brought Rick to the church was the idea that when we are resurrected, our bodies are perfect. No more cerebral palsy. When Rick heard that, he started laughing, smiling, grinning, snorting, moving all his limbs around, all the things Rick does that means that he is happy.
His baptism was the biggest I’d ever seen. The chapel was completely full, and I’m pretty sure Rick didn’t know most of the people there. But they were all there for him. It was a good day.
Rick has told me that he feels like he has a good relationship with God. And there was one incident that occurred around the time of his baptism that confirmed his faith.
Rick does not have a PCA at night. He sleeps alone in his apartment. He used to sleep on a waterbed, to avoid getting bed sores that are so common with people who can’t move themselves around in their sleep. Rick can move somewhat, but he still needs a special bed.
One night, his waterbed broke, and he was lying face down in it. It was in the middle of the night, and Rick was in serious trouble. He told me that he prayed to God to help him. Soon thereafter, there was a knock on the door, and then somebody entered the apartment. It was the night maitenance man who was on duty, and although he didn’t speak English very well, he was aware enough of the situation to get Rick out of the water, and somehow get him safe. As far as I know, that guy has never done something like that before–enter a resident’s apartment in the middle of the night with his master key. But that night, something prompted him to check on Rick, and he saved Rick from a potential scary situation. That must have been some prayer.
Rick also has a firm faith in his own mission, that God has put him here for a purpose. He is to be the voice for people with disabilities. Ironic, really, since Rick can’t even talk. And yet he has found ways to reach thousands of people, letting them know that people with disabilities are people too, and that really, there are no limits to what you can do, disabled or not.
If you want to know more about Rick and his father, please visit his website. Be sure to click on the part about stories inspired by them, especially if you are in the mood for a really great cry (in a good way!) There is a book about them that you can order from the site, and you can even donate to the Team Hoyt Fund, which is used to help various programs for individuals with disabilities. You can also run with them in Virginia Beach in September. Well, you’ll have to be in pretty good shape, as I think it’s a half marathon race, but you can come and hang out with us as we cheer them on from the sidelines.
It’s guaranteed to be a party. With Rick, there is never, ever a dull moment!
The Hoyts prepare for 25th Boston Marathon