‘God has the bigger plan’
Sitting in a golf cart at Winston-Lake Golf Course last October, Tristan Loflin’s right eye took the sudden impact of an errant golf shot, and a fun day on the links quickly became a nightmare.
“Our whole world changed,” remembers his mother, Jennifer. “As each doctor came in and spoke with me and my husband, Patrick, it felt as if it was all a bad dream.
“His doctor told me he would be going into surgery and that we needed to understand Tristan’s injuries were severe and the chance of saving his eye was unlikely.”
About three months later, the same doctor told Jennifer that Tristan’s right eye was not responding and would indeed need to be removed — an operation completed last month in his fourth eye surgery.
But then Tristan’s faith again strengthened her own when he told her, “God has the bigger plan.”
“I knew he was losing his eye but when we got home Tristan made a point to tell me, ‘Look, mom, at how amazing God is through all this,’ including how God had saved him from death or an even more serious injury, how even strangers had come together to help us, and how, since the accident happened, he and Patrick prayed together more than they had before, and our family had become even closer,” she said.
“A 10-year-old is telling me that God has done so much since his accident, and for mommy to stop being sad and see all the miracles He has done,” Jennifer said. “That is really hard to hear from a 10-year-old!
“But through all this my husband kept saying, ‘You just have to let God in and wait. He will come to you.’ ”
Struggling to understand why Tristan had been hurt, Jennifer wasn’t sure when that day would come.
But not long afterward, she looked up at work one day and had a surprise visitor at Paws of Royalty on West Mountain Street in Kernersville. It was Donna Mannon, Triad Baptist Christian Academy’s director of education.
“She gave me a blue envelope,” Jennifer said. “I didn’t think much of it at the time because of all the love, support, and beautiful cards Tristan had already been receiving since he got hurt.
“It was about the end of the work day — as I was getting all of my stuff together — that I opened the card,” she added. “Tears began rolling down my face as I went to my knees when I read the note and saw the gift inside from the church and Academy.
“I thought, ‘How amazing it was for people to do this for our family and, most of all, for Tristan.’ ”
Currently a fifth-grader in Amber Morris’ class, Tristan has been a Triad Baptist Christian Academy student since kindergarten.
“Triad’s families have always shown extreme generosity — from helping storm victims to providing food for the Ronald McDonald house in Winston-Salem and so many other ways,” said Mannon. “This was an opportunity for our families to bless one of our own. Christ teaches throughout the New Testament that we should love one another.
“Loving can take many forms, and to help meet some of the financial needs of Tristan and his family was a way of expressing our love to them,” she said. “The funds came from church members as well as Academy families. Because of Christians witnessing throughout this entire ordeal, TBCA's blessings have been returned to us in the way Tristan speaks of us, and about what we teach at TBCA.”
Jennifer said God sent Mannon with the note and gift at just the right time. Back in school, Tristan is adjusting to the loss of his eye and moving ahead with schoolwork and plans to resume his favorite sports of basketball and lacrosse. He is on the Academy’s robotics team, and considers science one of his favorite subjects.
“It has been so uplifting,” Jennifer said of all the support for Tristan and her family. “I can’t even put into words the feelings we have felt through all this as teachers, students, other parents, staff, and church members showed us love when they didn’t have to or when they might not even have known us.”
She still marvels at Tristan’s faith which recalls Jesus’ teaching to the disciples in Matthew 18:2-4 which uses the example of children to underscore what the authentic and humble faith of a true Christ follower looks like.
“Tristan kept staying ‘Mom, I go to an amazing school and God was there through it all,’ and he is so right,” Jennifer said. “Triad Baptist Christian Academy is a special school, and I’ve been reminded that God does love us all, and that He works in so many different ways. We just have to have faith and believe.”