Cape Town couple, Rodney and Maria Lakay are praising God, thankful to Him for their many blessings and grateful to be in His service.
Almost a month ago they both lost their lower legs when a vehicle slammed into them while they were watching a supercar rally in Knysna where they were on holiday to celebrate Maria’s retirement.
In a telephone interview from the Vincent Palotti Hospital in Cape Town where they are undergoing rehabilitation, the cheerful-sounding couple said they feel no resentment towards Louis Oelofse, the rally driver who lost control of his Lamborghini which then struck a stationary SUV which was flung into the Lakay’s Mercedes Vito van, severing their legs which were dangling from the vehicle.
“If I had to come across him one day I would put out my hand and greet him. I have nothing against him and nothing against anyone. I need to continue with my life. And as a Christian, as a believer, you really need to learn to forgive and forget otherwise these things will keep you back in life and I cannot afford to be kept back in life, I have too much to live for,” said Rodney.
In a recent interview published in the Plett and Knysna Herald, Maria said: “If I could speak to the driver, I would tell him that God loves him so much that he put us in his path so that he could live for his family.” The SUV that struck the Lakays went over a steep embankment and ended on its roof. The couple believe that but for the accident, the out-of-control Lamborghini would have plunged over the embankment.
After the accident on September 25 the severely injured couple were rushed to the Life Knysna Hospital where their lower limbs were amputated. Rodney was in a coma for seven days while doctors fought for his life and many people prayed for his survival.
Maria told the Plett and Knysa Herald that after the accident she felt herself dying and leaving her body but then said: “Lord, I choose life.I choose life because I have two beautiful children.Lord, I choose life because I have a lovely husband. Lord, I choose life.”
She added that both she and Rodney had started laughing when they simultaneously noticed the word “Life” written on the Life Hospital blanket which they took as a confirmation of her choice.
Rodney, who grew up in a Christian home and became fully committed to the Lord about 22 years ago, said his mother always taught him to accept the things he could not change. He says he and Maria immediately accepted the fact that they had lost their limbs. Downplaying the loss he said: “My body is just a vessel for His use.” He said he began to question God about His purpose in their situation and while he was still in the intensive care unit in the Life Knysna Hospital he had a vision in which God told him to tell church leaders to get back to preaching the Gospel message of salvation for which Jesus had died on the cross as there were too many people outside of His Kingdom and He had no favour for the leaders’ fables and the things that were being done in churches today.
Rodney said he is determined to share the message God has given to him, even though he realises that some will not receive it. “Jesus bears the scars of the cross and I and my wife bear the scars of this accident, so I will carry on the message of the Lord. Now I am just the postman of the message; I am a postman without legs but I am talking to the newspapers and I am talking to you.”
Maria said she and Rodney were well known as a couple that did everything together whether it is buying bread or putting petrol in the car. She gave her life to the Lord shortly after Rodney did and she is very grateful for what God has done for her over the years. She said their eldest son, Justin, was born with an immune deficiency which made him susceptible to diseases.
“That was a little trial we had as a family from a young age when he was two years old but our faith was so strong and we said ‘Lord you gave this child to us and he belongs to you’. He is turning 23 in November; we can only be grateful for what the Lord has done for us.”
She said Rodney was still in a coma when she discovered that she had lost her legs but she said she did not feel much regret.
“I was just grateful for another day. My youngest child, Damian, said:’Mom there are people that just knock their heads and they can’t even remember their children’s names. We are here for you and we are here to walk this road with you’. And then I thought,well, what I do have to complain about? My children are healthy, I can speak to them, I can feel them, I can see them, I can hear them; the only thing I have is no legs. I am alive with no other scars and I’ve still got my family and I’ve still got my children and I’ve still got the Lord to praise every day.”
She said she does realise that there will come a day that she feels down and depressed but she is confident that she has a strong support system to help her and that she serves a mighty God. “We even have faith that we will walk again,” she said.
Rodney said they have been in the Vincent Palotti Hospital since Thursday, October 16. They are doing well and learning to become self sufficient. They are very aware of and thankful to many “Christian and blood family members” who are continuing to pray for them. They are booked to stay in the hospital for four weeks before returning to their Ravensmead home which is being modified to be wheelchair friendly.