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Survival, serene recovery reveals unwavering faith of CIY staff member —

By CIY Staff

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” – Romans 5:3-5 NLT

Joe Milliser doesn’t think he has much of a story, but his near-death experience and peaceful recovery time has impacted those around him in an exceptional way.


07_11_Joe_wreck.jpgBorn, raised and schooled in a Christian home, Milliser joined Christ In Youth in October 2017 as an IT coordinator. Jason Dean, CIY’s IT director and Milliser’s longtime friend, said his new hire has exceeded expectations in this tech-savvy role.


“He has an amazing mind,” Dean said. “That’s one of the reasons I picked him for IT … Joe has always been anti-sensational. You see pictures of him – even at a birthday – and he’s so easy-going and laidback, always just a noncommittal expression. He’s a very passionate man. When he believes in something you will know it, but he still doesn’t get worked up about it. That’s an insight into who he is. He does get worried about things sometimes, but once you tell him ‘this is the way it is,’ he accepts it and goes on – he doesn’t mull over it.”


No one really focused on Milliser’s laid back personality or considered his stronghold of faith until his life nearly came to a screeching halt in March this year. After dropping off his younger brothers at their grandmother’s home in Seneca, Missouri, his vehicle collided with a semitruck on 43 Highway. Milliser said he only remembers first responders cutting him out of his vehicle.

07_11_Joe_wreck2.jpg“I do know I shouldn’t be here, realistically,” he said. “I shouldn’t be walking right now. I shouldn’t have gotten away with just a broken collarbone. The fact that I’m alive is attributed to a God who kept me here for some reason – don’t know what – and the fact that I don’t really remember anything is, in my opinion, a blessing because if I had been bracing for impact it could have been much worse.”


Dean was among the family and friends at the hospital that day – still standing in awe of Milliser’s survival and flawless three-month recovery.


“It was extraordinary and it will always be extraordinary, but I understand why he’s done talking about it,” Dean said. “In his mind, he’s thinking, ‘There’s got to be something better to talk about than me.’ He doesn’t like being the center of attention. His dad told me what he said to him. He said, ‘This may be a little painful to begin with, but it will be alright. You’ll come through it and be fine.’ And Joe said, ‘OK. It’s just a matter of time.’ He has both belief and patience at a huge magnitude because most people would be worrying about it. But basically he trusts his dad, and since then he’s been like, ‘It’s fine. God’s got this.’ When he puts his faith in something, it’s unwavering. He has a calmness about him – a peace that passes understanding – about a situation where he’s almost died … He just rolled with life.”


“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” – James 1:2 NLT