Gone in a Flash

Robert Rogers lost everything a man can lose—except his faith.
Incomprehensible—that's the only way to describe what happened to Robert Rogers and his family on the night of August 30, 2003.

The Rogers family was returning from a wedding in Wichita, Kansas. Robert's wife, Melissa, 33, was driving, and Robert was next to her. their four children were buckled in and fast asleep in the minivan: Makenah, 8; Zachary, 5, who was born with Down's syndrome; Nicholas, 3; and 21-month-old Alenah, whom Robert and Melissa had adopted from China just six months earlier.

It was a 200-mile drive back to Liberty, Missouri, and it was raining as Melissa merged onto I-35 to begin the three-hour drive home. It had been raining all day; in fact, it had been raining for two days straight, virtually nonstop.

As they approached the halfway point, at milepost 116 in the Flint Hills near Emporia, Kansas, the traffic stopped. What they didn't know was why it had stopped: Water was pouring over the roadway.

They decided to continue cautiously. Several other vehicles were proceeding as well. But after moving on, the Rogerses suddenly found themselves surrounded by fast-flowing water, coming from their right and rushing over their minivan. They had stopped over a culvert that allowed Jacob Creek to flow under the road.

But Jacob Creek was no longer a creek. It was now a wall of water, swollen by the seven-plus inches of rain that fell that evening. It overwhelmed the culvert and smashed into the minivan, pinning it against a concrete median.

Then, with the minivan rapidly filling with water, the unthinkable happened: The median gave way and the Rogerses were swept off the road, into Jacob Creek. Several eyewitnesses described the wall of water as 7 feet high and hundreds of feet wide. U.S. Geological Survey estimated the volume of water that pounded I-35 at milepost 116 that night as coming at 32,000 gallons per second.

As their van was being inundated with water, Robert kicked out the driver-side window. But the pressure change sucked him, Melissa and Makenah right out the window. The van tumbled down the creek after them.

Robert was sucked under the water and nearly drowned. Miraculously he washed up on shore and survived. But he would never see his family alive again. Several hours later rescuers found the minivan—what was left of it—with the bodies of Zachary, Nicholas and Alenah still belted in their seats. Amazingly, none of them had so much as a scratch. They looked peaceful, as if they were still sleeping.

The following morning, Sunday, searchers found Makenah's body pressed against a barbed wire fence, a quarter mile from the van. Melissa's body wasn't found until Tuesday. On Saturday, one week after that tragic night, Rogers buried the members of his family in five white coffins.

Rogers was suddenly alone. His family had been taken in an instant. But as ferocious as the flood had been, Rogers' faith in God had not been shaken.

"I knew as soon as I got out of the water that God was still with me," he says. "He hadn't left me. And I made an immediate choice not to run from Him but to trust Him. It shocked me how readily I trusted God. I chose to, and I had to because I knew I had nowhere else to run.

"I believe I died in the water, not physically, but in a baptismal sense. ... I had to die to myself so that Christ might live in me."

Rogers found that God gave unbounded strength and comfort that surprised even him.

"God's love didn't just keep me afloat, it sustained me with joy," Rogers says. "That's what's so amazing. It confounded a lot of people around me. They'd ask: 'How can you smile? Have you lost it?'

"But I hadn't lost it; I'd found it. I'd found the Way, the Truth and the Life. My heart was still broken, but I had that joy from God's Word and the joy of knowing that my family was dancing in heaven and that I would see them again."

In the wake of the tragedy, Rogers discovered a new kinship with the biblical characters who had endured great loss. "I related to Job and his attitude of worship immediately after he lost all 10 of his children. I also related to Abraham, who obeyed God and was willing to surrender Isaac after having waited so long for a son. That spoke volumes to me.

"And then there was King David. He went through so much agony. He would cry out to God and then in the same breath turn around and praise Him."

It soon became apparent that God was preparing Rogers, an electrical engineer by vocation, for full-time ministry.

"But when you've already faced your worst fears, you're not really afraid of anything anymore. Even then God was showing me that there was going to be so much good to come of this."

Five months after the tragedy, to honor the memory of his family and extend his message of hope, Rogers formed Mighty in the Land ministry, named from Psalm 112, which says: "His children will be mighty in the land." One of the central goals of the ministry is the advancement of adoption and care for orphans and special-needs children worldwide.

Rogers hopes to establish five orphanages in five different regions worldwide. The first, Melissa Home, opened in Russia in October 2006.

"When I look at the past four years and at the salvations that have come forth as a result, at the orphanage we've opened and a second one in Africa that will be opening soon, it's clearly way beyond me," says Rogers, who has shared his story with nearly 100,000 people live and tens of millions more on radio and television.

"This could only come from God."

Rogers told his story in his moving memoir, Into the Deep: One Man's Story of How Tragedy Took His Family but Could Not Take His Faith (Focus on the Family). He resigned from engineering but recently earned an MBA and devotes himself to ministry and speaking engagements.

"Ministry changed my entire perspective. Rather than imploding and getting caught up in my own misery and pity, I focused externally on those who were suffering around me. And I found that as I poured myself out, He filled me up."

Rogers was also given a second chance at love and family life. On May 20, 2006, he wed Inga and the two have since had a baby boy named Ezekiel—all evidence to Rogers that God specializes in restoration and new beginnings.


Scott Walsh is a freelance writer and communications professional. He lives in Oceanside, California, with his wife, Monica, and their son Jack, a 7-year-old pilot-in-training.

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Cindy Jacobs

    2017: Year of the Breakthrough

    "There will be a significant increase in miracles and signs and wonders."

  • Foot washing

    Shaking the Gates of Hell With a Basin of Water and a Towel

    "When I saw His foot, I knew He had come to take back territory the enemy had stolen from His ...

  • Growing relationship

    2017 Prophetic Word: The Supernatural Key to Growing Your Relationship With God

    It's vital that we understand what comes from God and what comes from the devil.

  • Are you willing to volunteer for God's offensive army?

    Prophetic Word: Preparing for God's World War 3

    God is searching for soldiers of the cross who are willing to volunteer for His offensive army.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit