Joy Break: 9-Year-Old Boy Baptized One Year After Almost Drowning in Flood

By Nancy Flory Published on August 24, 2022

When we turn on our televisions or smart phones we are bombarded with news that brings us down. Where are all the good stories? They’re still there. Here’s one that we hope will bless you.

August 21, 2021, brought historic flooding to Waverly, Tenn. Seventeen inches of rain fell on the town. A local creek overflowed and flooded many homes and businesses. Libby Sanders’s home was flooded in a matter of minutes. Sanders and her then-8-year-old son, Madden, watched the water rise. She then began panicking. “When I looked back out my front door, I saw my neighbor’s house — my house had started turning and it was off the foundation,” Sanders told Fox Weather. 

The smell of smoke and popping noises alerted Sanders to the fact that her house was getting ready to collapse. She took her son, who could not swim, outside to brave the waters rather than to be inside the house.

“I got him the biggest stuffed animal I could find. It was the ones with the little beads inside, so I thought it would float — it was this big Donkey Kong thing,” she told Fox Weather. “I told him, I said, ‘I need you to hold on to this.’ I said, ‘Don’t let go.’ I said, ‘I’m going to steer you out of this water.’ I said, ‘We’re going to get out.’”

But the powerful water swept her away from her son and about a mile down the road. She was able to get out of the water and go for help for her son. Several people went looking for the child, including his uncle, who was taken by the flood and drowned.

Thankfully, a man named Mark Bohannon found Madden on top of a shed a couple of streets away from where their home once was. A local pastor, Scott Brown, told Sanders the news. Sanders said she thanks God every day for saving her son.

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Madden told his mother that he prayed while sitting on top of the shed’s roof. “That’s where he just prayed to God to not let him die because he said he wanted to lead a good life,” she said.

Last Sunday — one year ago to the date of his rescue — Madden was baptized after asking Jesus into his heart. Pastor Brown of First Baptist Church Waverly did the honors.

Sanders wants her story to give hope to others, like other victims of flash flooding. “I feel like maybe if they see stories of hope, it’ll give them hope. You know, it takes a while, but as long as you get community behind you, you can make it.”

Here’s to you, Madden, and that good and Godly life ahead. 


Nancy Flory, Ph.D., is a senior editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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