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Books  >>  Biography

Hannah Luce

Fields of Grace

Hannah Luce Fields Of Grace Faith Friendship And The Day I Nearly Lost Ever
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Excerpt from book:

Fields of Grace

1

Road to Redemption


The closer one gets to realizing his Personal Legend, the more that Personal Legend becomes his true reason for being.

—PAULO COELHO, THE ALCHEMIST

The late November sun sinks low on the horizon as I make my way toward the mown cornfield in southwest Kansas, back to the worst day of my life. My backpack is stuffed with a warm blanket, a lavender-scented candle, and a book of matches. I plan to stay awhile, once I get where I’m going. I am still recovering from my injuries, so my movements are slow and shaky, but I am in no rush to beat the dark. This is something I must do.

The first time I was in this rural corner of Middle America was six months ago, in mid-May. It was planting season, and the terrain was lush with burgeoning crops. I remember the spinning fields of green as our plane plunged, sadistically slowly, but stubbornly and ferociously, toward the earth below. Anything I had hoped to see was lost in those spinning fields. I couldn’t make out a house or a barn, nor a river or a lake. Not a tractor, or a car, or even a road that looked traveled enough to lead somewhere else. I know all of this because, as the plane was dropping out of the sky, I was already planning my survival, even though I was prepared to die. As hard as I try to forget, I remember every detail from that hellish day. The first signs that our plane was in trouble. The desperate efforts by the boys to try to save us. The resignation I saw in their eyes when the outcome became obvious. (Was it resignation? Or faith?) Searching the faces of my dear friends as we hurtled toward a certain, terrible death. Last words. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The cornfield is in the middle of nowhere, off a gravel lane that you’d never know was there unless you lived in these parts, or happened upon it for some reason, as I did. I’ve come here, I think, looking for forgiveness for surviving the crash when everyone else died. I know that I must have mercy on myself before I can begin to seek the kind of purposeful life that my friends deserved. So far, all I have felt is the torrid guilt of being alive when my friends are dead, and the acid torment of my thoughts.

Sometimes, when I’m in the shower, I claw at my scars, hoping to erase my memories of that tragic day. But I will never forget. My scars are a constant reminder. I haven’t slept through the night since the crash. Every time I close my eyes I wake up screaming just before the plane slams into the earth. That’s when the real torture begins, as I thrash around in my bed with all of the lights in my room turned to bright, afraid to close my eyes again, resisting ghastly flashbacks as I try to make sense of something that will never make any sense.

Five people were aboard that plane, all of us friends from Oral Roberts University, everyone giddy about traveling to a Christian youth conference hosted by my father, the leader of one of the largest evangelical Christian youth ministries in the world. Two of those people, Austin Anderson and Garrett Coble, were my closest friends, and I deeply cared for Garrett, although I never got to tell him so.

I met Austin first, shortly after the start of the fall semester at ORU in 2009. He had recently returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq, and he was studying business. We started talking one day, and soon we were stealing away to a spot beneath the Forty-first Street Bridge in Tulsa where we’d sit by the river, puffing cigars and planning our futures. Austin was a poster boy for the Marines. He was tall and fit, with a blond crew cut and the rough edges of a couIn this remarkable tale of hope and survival, Hannah Luce tells how, as the sole survivor of a terrible plane crash, she came to grips with her faith: “a calamitous, fascinating memoir, written with surprising spiritual sophistication” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

On May 11, 2012, a small plane carrying five young adults, en route to a Christian youth rally, crashed in a Kansas field, skidding 200 yards before hitting a tree and bursting into flames. Only two survived the crash: ex-marine Austin Anderson, who would die the next morning from extensive burns, and his friend Hannah Luce, the daughter of Teen Mania founder and influential youth minister Ron Luce.

This is Hannah’s story.

In Fields of Grace, Hannah details the investigation of her faith, her coming-of-age as the dutiful daughter of Evangelical royalty, her decision to join her father’s ministry outreach to teens, and her miraculous survival and recovery following the accident. It also serves as a tribute and testament to the lives of the dear friends who perished in the catastrophic plane crash and reveals how their memory continues to inspire all that she does.

Here is the “riveting personal account” (Booklist) of a girl who grew up as the daughter of one of the most influential evangelical leaders of our time, who questioned her early religious convictions somewhere along the way and who, from the embers of that doomed plane ride, finally found her faith.


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