LENA MITCHELL: The faith testimony of a child grounds us in the reason for Christmas

By Lena Mitchell

“… and a little child shall lead them.” – Isaiah 11:6

There’s a saying that you have to go through a test to have a testimony.
Many of us face challenges daily – some big, some small. We’ll worry, often rail against the circumstances that brought about the problem before we ultimately place it in God’s hands.
A testimony I heard recently from 12-year-old Jaylon Powell of Iuka was a powerful reminder of the blessings of Christmas.
Jaylon is a member of my church, and he participated as a member of our youth group in our annual Christmas program last week.
Jaylon’s mother, Tammi Powell, had written a skit, and at the end Jaylon was among the cast members who chose to share a testimony. Though Tammi had written the skit, she told the cast that when she asked for testimonies, they needed to share something from their own hearts.
“I thank God that when my eye got knocked out He didn’t give me brain damage,” is what Jaylon said.
During spring break in 2004, when Jaylon was 6, he and his best friend were at a golf driving range. Having never been around the sport of golf before, Jaylon was unaware of where to position himself and made the mistake of going behind his friend as he took a backswing.
The golf club hit Jaylon in the eye.
A preliminary examination and CAT scan at the Iuka hospital determined there were no fractures or brain damage, said Tammi, who at the time was an LPN working on her RN degree, which she since has completed.
“It was scary,” Tammi said. “They airlifted him to LeBonheur for surgery. The eye tissue was damaged and there was no vision in that eye, but they didn’t tell me in front of him. The doctor called me in the middle of surgery to tell me he couldn’t save it, but they put a surgical prosthesis in there so that when he wears an artificial eye it will move with his other eye.”
Less than 24 hours after the one-hour surgery, the family was sent home and “Jaylon has been fine ever since,” Tammi said. “He only took pain medicine one time.”
Through the past six years the boy we’ve seen has been the same exuberant, Jaylon we had known him to be before.
He and his best friend have never missed a beat, spending as much time together now as before, if not more, Tammi said.
Jaylon is a gifted student, plays basketball, played football for the first time this season, and has made sports engineering his career choice.
“He has 20-20 vision in the other eye,” Tammi said. “His football coach this year went through the trouble of having a protective shield put over his helmet to protect his eye and I didn’t have to buy any goggles or anything.”
Jaylon doesn’t wear an artificial eye, though the Lions Club bought one for him soon after his surgery. With his rapid growth at that age it fell out and he lost it. But he’s promised to tell his mom when he feels – for vanity or any other reason – he wants to get a new prosthesis.
People around him see the same playful kid we’ve always known, which is why his testimony struck me so forcefully.
Jaylon reminds us all that even in the midst of misfortune God still gives us blessings: “He didn’t give me brain damage.”

Lena Mitchell is Daily Journal Corinth Bureau reporter. Contact her at 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.