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Prayer Saved Boys Lost at Sea
The State ^ | 05-01-2006 | By NADINE PARKS

Posted on 05/01/2006 5:06:17 AM PDT by MissEdie

CHARLESTON -- One year ago, Deb Fowler made a deal with God to give up her daily nightcap if only he would return her son from the Atlantic Ocean.

She hasn't had a nightcap since. Her ex-husband, Tony Driscoll, prayed for a modern-day miracle.

Several days had passed since their teenage son, Troy Driscoll, and his best buddy, Josh Long, launched a small boat from Sullivans Island and disappeared.

Out at sea, Troy and Josh looked out into an endless field of cold blue where water and sky meld and made their own deals with God. They sipped rainwater from the bow, regretted the loss of their fishing tackle and sung their hymns to the sea.

Many people had given up hope when one of the region's largest coastal searches turned up nothing. Hundreds of spotters in boats, ships, helicopters and airplanes had scoured more than 1,000 square miles of sea and shore.

The teens were nowhere in sight.

The Coast Guard suspended its search after three days, and the droves of people who had stood watch on the beach slowly diminished.

Few believed the young men could survive with no provisions in a 15-foot boat with no engine or sail. The boys had been swept out to sea before anyone realized they were gone.

During interviews then, Tony Driscoll declared that his 15-year-old son was alive, and that the search should resume.

A year later, however, the six-year Navy veteran admits his inner thoughts were much different.

"I had to look strong for the other parents. I didn't want to tell people that really, deep down inside, I believed my son was dead," he said. "I didn't want the search to end until they found something - a piece of clothes, a shoe, a body."

Tony Driscoll unconsciously talks about Troy as though the teen had returned from the dead. Tony had prayed that if God would bring his son back, he would turn his life around and give it to God. Josh's father, Eddie Long, said he prayed for the same miracle for his 17-year-old; he made his own bargain.

On the seventh day, Tony Driscoll answered his cell phone, expecting the call that would inform him of Troy's death. Instead, he was shocked to hear his son's voice on the other end.

"It was like God said, 'Well, here's that miracle that you asked for,' " Tony Driscoll said. "It was an incredible feeling."

A man on a North Carolina fishing vessel had spotted something floating in the ocean and decided to get a closer look after Josh and Troy had made their last prayer - they were out of energy to struggle any longer.

The boys had been rescued after a week at sea. They had drifted 111 miles up the coast. Since then, Tony has reaffirmed his commitment to God and started Bible study classes. Father and son attend church services together at Cathedral of Praise.

Josh and Troy had been swept out to sea by a strong current on a blustery day while fishing near the beach. While they endured a grueling week on the rolling tide, their church back home had started a prayer vigil that quickly spread around the world, said associate pastor Larry Lewis.

"It went out very much like a phone tree. This cousin knew this cousin, and that church called that church," Lewis said. "When we go through things like this, the first thing we fall back on is to call on God. He is our comfort."

It was bitter cold at sea. During the day, the teens had scouted for ships but saw nothing but blue water all around them. They helplessly watched passing lights in the distance, night after night.

They woke up to the spray of a container ship looming like a mountain over them, tasted salty jellyfish and hoped they weren't poisonous when their hunger grew too great. Birds and sharks kept a deathwatch nearby. The teens said they bowed their heads in prayer many times while they were lost, and they tried to bargain for their lives.

Josh promised to try to bring other people closer to God, and Troy said he would ask for less and be more appreciative of the things he had.

On April 30, 2005, they said the final prayer on that little boat. Parched and sunburned, drained of all energy, they could feel the end was near. They made one last request of God to let them be rescued at that moment or let them die together peacefully in their sleep.

About 20 minutes later, they spotted the fishing boat that rescued them. "I want people to know that prayer works in any situation. You don't have to be lost out at sea," Troy said. "I'm satisfied for the things I have now, and I pray for other people. God sent me back here to spread His word."

Josh uses the story of the miracle as a testament and he tells it to whomever will listen, he said.

Troy, 16, a sophomore at Grace Christian Academy in Ladson, has given speeches at local churches and has considered a profession in religion. For now, he delivers rented bicycles on the beach at Kiawah Island.

Josh works as a boilermaker and plans to join the Coast Guard this year. "It's my responsibility and duty to try to help other people," Josh said.

The teens said rumors that they became wealthy after their ordeal are untrue. Their story was reported in several national magazines, they sold the movie rights and they made guest appearances on the Montel Williams and Jay Leno shows. Each of them earned about $2,500, and Leno paid for a Disneyland vacation, Troy's mother said.

She said she thanks God every day for saving Josh and Troy. "In reality, these boys should not be alive," she said.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; US: South Carolina
KEYWORDS: endurance; god; miracle; prayer
Thought everybody could use a good read on a Monday morning.
1 posted on 05/01/2006 5:06:23 AM PDT by MissEdie
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To: MissEdie

Great post!

2 posted on 05/01/2006 5:11:46 AM PDT by Rebelbase ("truth is not invalidated by suppression"--nicmarlo)
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To: MissEdie

Nice to see that nobody tried blaming Bush for this.

3 posted on 05/01/2006 5:39:56 AM PDT by dsmatuska (Pacifism is Evil's greatest ally.)
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To: MissEdie

It's great to read such a faith-booster, and for those who don't believe it, from whence comes the drive to do that?

4 posted on 05/01/2006 5:48:08 AM PDT by RoadTest (The wicked love darkness; but God's people love the Light!)
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To: dsmatuska

Not yet, anyway!

5 posted on 05/01/2006 6:14:13 AM PDT by Shery (in APO Land)
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To: MissEdie

Thank you, God is the only miracle worker that I know of.

6 posted on 05/01/2006 8:24:24 AM PDT by nw_arizona_granny (WAKE UP AMERICA DAY IS MAY 1st, 2006. WATCH WHO MARCHES YOUR ROADS IN VICTORY!!!!!!!!!)
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To: MissEdie

Thank you so much for posting this. I think that I needed to read it this morning.

7 posted on 05/10/2006 6:25:25 AM PDT by good old days
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To: good old days

You're welcome!

8 posted on 05/10/2006 12:50:56 PM PDT by MissEdie
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