Through prayer, we have access to communicate with our Creator. Whatever situation we may find ourselves in, Jesus said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” John 14:18. The only way to overcome temptations is to have an intimate connection with Him through sincere prayer and the study of His word.
For the past few years I have been honored to direct the team of workers at Three Angels’ Polytechnic and Bible School in Bunyore, Kenya. One of my responsibilities is to purchase necessities for the college. Recently, an incident occurred that severely tested my faith.
On Friday, I left the school to go into Luanda, which is 85 kilometers (approximately 54 miles) away from the school, to conduct some business and purchase some needed school items. My first stop was the bank. After making the necessary withdrawals I decided to hire a motorbike taxi to take me back to school to avoid the often much wasted time while waiting at the bus stop for the public vehicles. We had not gone more than two kilometers when a grey saloon vehicle overtook the motorbike and blocked the way, forcing the driver to promptly stop. Three men came out of the vehicle like policemen, in private garments, armed with a gun and chains. As soon as I climbed off the bike the driver raced away, leaving me in the hands of these men who pushed me into their vehicle. Once inside I was forced to lie down between the seats. I did not know what was going on. The men hit me on my head wedging my large frame between the seats. As I lay there one man stepped on my neck, while another was on my back and another held down my feet. For almost three hours I was a victim of their torture. My cell phone was taken from me, and I knew that nobody would know what had happened to me or where I was to rescue me. I could not see or know where I was being taken or by whom, as my captors ensured that I did not see their faces.
I remembered the plans I had made for that day and the other chores that were to be done. Many people at the school were waiting for me to get home with the needed purchases, but I had no other choice but to accept the situation in which I found myself. In pain I remembered how Daniel and his friends had suffered for the sake of their faith, and I sought help from above. The more I was beaten, the more I offered silent prayer. I knew that if God would not hear and answer my prayer I would be dead, because the men were very angry because I was not answering their questions the way they wanted.
Becoming exhausted, I felt that God had forsaken me, but He reminded me of how Joseph had remained faithful when his own brothers had sold him to the slave traders, so I continued to pray. Eventually the vehicle stopped and the driver asked my tormentors what they were going to do with me now—throw me in the water or kill me! The man sitting next to him told the driver that they would throw me in the water to either survive or die on my own. The three men in the back who held me down rarely spoke.
The one who had taken my documents noticed that I was a pastor and responsible for children. He suggested that they look for a place to leave me and not kill me as they had previously been directed. The vehicle picked up speed again for almost 20 minutes before it stopped. I was pulled out of the vehicle, my face tied with a plastic cover as well as being chained. Two of the men led me to a small path that led into a forest while a third man pointed a gun to my head threatening to shoot if I showed any sign of resisting or making a noise for assistance. The driver and the other man remained in the vehicle.
After we had walked quite a way, I was unchained and told to continue walking without looking back or I would be killed. They knew that I was weak. My hand was dislocated from being twisted and my joints hurt from the beating that I had received. There was no part of my body that was not in pain. I continued walking for a few more minutes before carefully looking back. What a relief it was when I saw nobody; they had already gone.
Having no idea where I was, I needed to look for assistance. Following the path I was on brought me to a small homestead where I was then able to contact my wife and staff members at the school who came to assist me back to the nearest police station to report the attack. Before heading back home we detoured by the hospital to have my injuries checked.
I praise God for His watch-care throughout this ordeal. It was a miracle to feel alive again, because I was like a dead man being jammed under those seats. Since this incident, more security measures have been taken to prevent this from happening again.
Dear brothers and sisters, what do you think of each time you learn of lives that have been cut short? My heart is heavy when I see such evidence that man has become the worst enemy of his fellow man. I am living proof that though all worldly communication can be broken and withheld and not one of your loved ones has any idea what has happened to you or where you are, God is still in control! He knows where you are every minute, and He hears every sincere prayer. His arm is not short that He cannot save you. He said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5. Whatever you may go through you are not alone. As Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us …” (Daniel 3:17), but if not we will still trust in Him. This can also be our conviction. God is not late to rescue us. When we trust Him with everything, we have the assurance that nothing happens without His knowledge and purpose. Never forget that we are not safe if we do not continually seek for heavenly assistance.
Atanas Anyanzwa has been connected with The Three Angels’ Polytechnic and Bible School in Bunyore, Kenya, since it was formally organized. Prior to returning to the Bunyore area with his family, as a result of the 2007 post-election violence, he was a successful building contractor. With his previous experience and with the help of the students, they have constructed most of the buildings on the compound. Since January 2012 he has been the manager, taking on the role of counselor and father figure for many of the students and particularly for those who are orphaned.