‘Effectual’ prayer, SBTS support help recent graduate amidst family crisis
In the midst of a three-week hospital stay for his son’s life-threatening viral encephalitis, Jamin Bailey received his master of divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary over the phone. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, conferred the degree to the Corydon, Indiana, native, and offered him encouragement and prayer through the difficult trial.
On Monday, June 2, Ryker Bailey was released from Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children in Huntsville, Alabama. Doctors expect the 23-month-old to recover fully within six months to a year, although the child currently suffers from lingering paralysis and mental challenges due to the virus, which was caused by the flu.
“It’s a joy to just hear your voice,” Mohler said upon conferring the degree to Jamin Bailey in a phone conversation, May 17, one day after the seminary’s commencement ceremony in Louisville, Kentucky. “We’re just so proud that you’re one of our alumni, and thankful that right now the Lord is fulfilling your function as father in a way that is showing the glory of God even more than had you been here for the commencement ceremony.”
Jamin Bailey, a former combat engineer officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, described Mohler as “warm and caring,” thanking him and the seminary for the prayers and a special gift: “We received a giant teddy bear and balloons, that was helpful, and it's now a favorite of Ryker's.”
An online fundraiser organized to help pay for the family’s medical costs in the pediatric intensive care unit raised more than $7,500 -- organizers set a goal of $5,000.
Although he is out of the hospital, Ryker needs 24-hour care as he lacks the ability to walk and communicate as he did before the illness. Jamin said his son is slowly regaining physical and mental capabilities after the virus that infected his brain.
“The only thing I knew [the seminary] could do between conferring my degree and calling to check up on Ryker was to pray," Jamin Bailey said. “I believe those prayers were effectual.”
“We don't know what the future holds, but we know the one who does.”