On May 20, 2006 we (Irbin, Linda, Itiel age 15 and Isúa age 13) were on a camping trip with 2 other families at Lake Isabella, California. We were camping right by the Kern River. The Kern River was swollen because they were lowering the water level of the dam for maintenance.
The current was strong, but all the guys went off to play in the river anyway. Of course, they planned to be careful. Irbin felt very confident, having been swimming in rivers all his life. The guys wanted to tie a rope over the river so that the younger men and children (ages 7-13) could play in safety, with always a rope to hang on to. They found a calm spot and proceeded to do so. After the children tired, the older men and boys went on to a rougher spot to do the same thing.
Irbin volunteered to swim across with the rope and it was decided that it would be prudent to tie the rope around his chest, just in case the current were to grab him. They also decided to tie the other end to his son, Itiel, so he could brace himself against a tree and not let go. Luis (20) and Itiel (15) held on and Irbin started swimming to the other side.
As Irbin reached the other shore, he felt the rope stop him. It seems that Luis had decided that he had not made it and told Itiel to start pulling. As the rope pulled at Irbin’s chest, he felt the air being pushed out of his lungs. He also found himself sinking. Too late, he remembered the fact of physics, that when you pull a rope against a current, the object on the other end sinks. His head banged against the rocks a few times and he managed to come up for air. He signaled the boys to let go of the rope. They refused, not wanting him to be released into the rapids downstream. But the boys were no match for the pull of the current and Luis’ father came to help them. Even the three of them could not pull him from the river.
Irbin tried to remove the rope, but he was unable to. His life flashed before his eyes and then he saw the campground from above the trees and saw me cooking at the grill and the rest of us sitting on chairs and talking. Then he saw the church with which he had been involved. Then he felt himself going up and he was approaching the Throne of God to give an account of his life. (He didn’t see the face of God, just His bright, glowing form on the throne and His white robe.) He felt himself to be about a quarter inch tall.) At that moment he remembered the words of a pastor who had been through the Tsunami in December 2005. He said that Jesus had given His people authority over the earth, including the waters, in His name.
So Irbin, as he was beginning to pass out, called the name of Jesus out loud, under water, with his last, tiny breath of air. He heard his own voice under water very clearly saying the name of Jesus Suddenly he felt the current push him over to the shore and onto a rock. It was a flat rock, half in the water. He crawled out, gasping for breath. The men at the other end of the rope felt the rope suddenly slide over to the shore and ran over to him. They told him that he had been underwater for about a minute and a half but he felt that he had been under for much longer. He had never before stayed under water for even a minute. This was truly a miracle. The Hand of God pulled him from the water. Glory to His Name!