Phillips is a young
man with a delightfully interesting past
and a future that follows a totally new
path in life. Born and raised in
Amarillo, Mark met his wife, Debbie, at
church, married a year after high school
and then promptly moved to Abilene to
attend McMurray college. With the
stress of youth and obtaining a higher
education running rampant for the next
four years, odds that this partnership
would last were not very good.
However, Mark and Debbie are a couple
that have built a foundation of faith
into their walk of life and not only
enjoyed this time together, but also
received degrees while being active in
After a few years of youth ministry in
Canadian and Pampa, Mark and Debbie
packed their belongings and growing
family and relocated to Ashbury,
Kentucky where Mark attended a Methodist
Seminary. Upon receiving his
Masters degree, Mark was appointed an
Associate Pastor of the First United
Methodist Church in Abilene. This
occurred in the marvelous year of 1993;
the year before major tragic events
began to occur in the Phillips family.
This was a year of building a faith
centered life with their two daughters,
Holly and Ashleigh; a year of talking
more seriously with one another about
writing a book together; a year filled
with serving the community and growing
closer to the God they both loved.
1993 - "it was a very good year."
Let the Fireworks Begin!
Fast forward to July 4, 1994. On
this beautiful Fourth of July of July,
Mark was taking an early morning
motorcycle ride with two of his friends.
This particular ride, however, was the
last "gentle" ride in life that Mark
would see for a long time to come.
Mark's bike was suddenly airborne and
flipping end-over-end. One of
Mark's riding buddies was medically
trained and realized the seriousness of
the injuries and Mark was taken to the
At the hospital, a 15% chance to live
was predicted and then when pneumonia
set in, a 5% chance of continued earthly
life was the prognosis given to Debbie
for the light of her life, her mate, the
father of her two girls.
Debbie did not falter. Debbie did not
ask why. Debbie prayed.
Two weeks later, Mark awakened from his
deep coma. He could not walk or
talk. He did not remember how to
swallow and was fed through a tube.
He did not remember much of anything.
Ultimately, Mark was unable to return to
his ministry. Life was somewhat
back to normal. The book Mark and
Debbie had discussed writing was coming
into fruition. Mark's motor skills
continued to improve, and Mark was
constantly on the lookout for new ways
to increase these motor skills.
A New Interest
An interest in woodcraft and an
encounter with an old friend selling
woodcrafted pens would lead Mark to a
whole new direction in life. Mark
became enthralled with the intricacy of
the crafted pens and began crafting as a
hobby with his motor skills increasing
as a benefit. During the next five
years, Mark slowly gathered tools,
finances and knowledge relating to his
You might think this young man has
defeated the greatest of his life's
challenges--after all, he has gone fron
infant to adult and then back to infant
Surely, there are no more major
challenges of life for this individual.
Fireworks Begin Again!
In 2001, Mark was diagnosed with colon
cancer. This diagnosis brought
with it the aftermath of six months of
chemo and radiation. He, of
course, was given medical leave from the
Methodist church and was also given a
full life term of leave from pastoring.
But that did not stop Mark from living.
Mark took off running full speed
directly toward his life.
Mark's Second Comeback
Mark discovered early on with his
"disability" diagnosis that "serving as
a minister" is not confined to "the
pulpit pastor." He became a
speaker and counselor for a camp in Red
River, New Mexico for youth with brain
injury. He also made presentations
for the Texas Rehab Commission.
The TRC had funded Mark's schooling for
his woodcraft. Mark pursued his
hobby with love.
A Chance Encounter
In August of 2003, Mark was one again
scheduled to go to Red River.
However, Mark chose to go to a seminar
being held by the Commission the same
week to receive an award. At the
event, Mark had his first encounter with
the Amarillo based foundation called
At this seminar, Mark's woodworking
craft was not only noticed, but he was
asked "What can we do for you?" by many
of the attendees. As Mark relayed
his needs, he heard just one drop of a
name - SECOND CHANCE.
Second Chance meets the need
Mark's needs required a workspace.
The Second Chance Foundation has given
Mark a beautiful workspace; a building
in the backyard. This is a space
that provides Mark Phillips with a means
to support his family while again
enjoying his earthly life.
Let the Fireworks Begin Again!
Mark has been cancer free for 3 years
now. Mark and Debbie did write their
book. It is entitled 'The Last
Ride, from Tredegy to Triumph' and is
published by Prayer Print Press.
And finally, the new woodworking
business, On the Mark Exotic Wood
Pens and Gifts, is a reality.
For more information about Mark's
beautiful pens, keychains, and
kaleidoscopes, please call 806-373-2747.