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Pastors are usually the last to leave the church; they ensure everything is tidy before they close the door. Pastor James was putting things in order after a wonderful time of sharing God’s Word with 20 believers on 15 December 2015. He was happy as he went to get his motorcycle and leave.

Suddenly, a man appeared, asking, “Where is your neighbour?”

“I’m not sure,” Pastor James replied. “Perhaps they have gone to the market.”

Without any hesitation, the man reached into his pocket, pulled out a revolver and fired directly at him.

“I saw him aiming at me and counted three shots. I realised I’d been hit, then my motorbike toppled over on top of me,” James explained. “I immediately cried out to the Lord to help me!

“I didn’t want to die; I wanted to continue in ministry. I didn’t feel any pain, but I could not move. I lay very still as the man took my backpack, thinking I was unconscious or dead, and ran away.”

Hospital delays treatment
“I lay still, unable to move,” James continued. “I saw people staring at me and some were running to get help from the village captain. I lost consciousness and when I later woke up in hospital, I was in a great deal of pain.

The doctor didn’t want to operate because there were no family members present to sign authorisation forms and guarantee the medical bills would be paid. James was forced to wait until his father arrived to authorise medical attention.

His brother’s footsteps
James’ father wept while his son was in hospital. In 2000, terrorists had killed another of his sons, and he feared that James would die too.

His father described the incident. “My eldest son, then 19, operated a small tricycle business. A Muslim man asked him to take him to a remote area, and on the way he stabbed my son in the back, neck and shoulders. They found his body seven days later, floating in the river.”

James was in his second year at high school when he heard the news on the radio that the army had found his brother’s body. James was filled with anger. He wanted to join the military so that he could have a gun and take revenge on those who murdered his brother.

But instead of a rifle, God gave him a Bible.

James decided that rather than seek revenge, he would honour his brother by following the Lord and training at a seminary as his brother had desired to do.

Life-saving surgery
At 12:30pm they finally transferred James to another hospital where he could be operated on by skilled surgeons. Except for a blood transfusion, it was another five hours before anything else could be done.

The surgery took four hours and James’ life hung in the balance. The bullets had penetrated his right lung, and one kidney and his appendix both had to be removed. His large and small intestines had also been struck by a bullet and required delicate surgery to repair the damage.

For nine days, James remained in intensive care before he was moved to a private room to recover for another 20 days. Meanwhile, the church was praying earnestly. God heard their prayers and spared James’ life.

At a three-day VOM seminar, Pastor James looked like a bright, energetic young man. Only when he revealed his scars did his remarkable recovery become evident. Yet neither the scars nor the experience can keep this young man from continuing to want to serve God all his life.

James, his father and youngest surviving brother are all pastors and continue to serve the Lord today.

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