Not My Time


On an afternoon in April 1989, Pablito, one of the many children who live in my apartment complex, came running to me for help. He had been robbed and mistreated by three thirteen-year-old boys, he said, and he wanted me to help him recover his watch and chain that they had taken. When I walked up to the boys, they did not run away as they normally did. I asked them to return Pablito’s watch and chain. They ignored me. I then searched them, but I didn’t find anything. They were upset because I had searched them, and as they left the complex, they insulted and threatened me. But I didn’t take their threats seriously.

Two days later, some friends of mine told me that several young men had been looking for me.

The next Monday, a group of about twenty-five young men came toward me. I could not imagine what was happening until one of them lunged forward and punched me in the nose. I tried to escape, but it was too late. It was impossible to get away from them. At first they hit me all over, but then they started to slash me with broken bottles. Suddenly I felt something cold in my left side. One of them had knifed me close to the ribs.

The attack ended, and the gang ran away as two police cars arrived. A friend helped me up, but because I had lost a great deal of blood, I was very weak and kept losing consciousness. In addition to the knife wound, I had gashes on my head and thigh, and my face was badly bruised and swollen.

I was taken in one of the police cars to a local hospital. Although the doctors there were able to stitch my wounds, they had to send me to a larger hospital for X rays to check for any internal damage.

After examining the X rays, the doctor said I needed emergency surgery so he could properly assess and treat possible damage to my internal organs.

While I was waiting to go into surgery, my father asked for a few minutes with me. The doctor told him to be brief. Then my father and another priesthood holder placed their hands on my head and gave me a blessing.

After I had been in the operating room for a while, the doctor came out and told my father, “The knife wound in your son’s side is very deep, but the blade did not touch any vital organs. I only had to clean out the wound. I don’t know what you did when you placed your hands on his head, but whatever it was, it worked.”

I was in the hospital for four days and then in recovery for three months—delaying my anticipated mission call. I quickly regained the blood I had lost, my wounds healed, and soon I could stand up and walk.

I know it was because of the power of the priesthood and faith in Jesus Christ that I am alive today. I know the Lord wanted me to serve where I am now, in the Venezuela Maracaibo Mission. I am grateful that he spared my life so I can work in his vineyard.

[illustration] Illustrated by Doug Fakkel