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Adventist Mission

Manuel, 9

A Story to Tell

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, Feb. 29.

By Andrew McChesney, Adventist Mission

In the morning, 2-year-old Manuel Iacono joined Father and Mother for Sabbath worship services at Ragusa Seventh-day Adventist Church on the Italian island of Sicily. In the afternoon, they went for a picnic in the woods.

Midway through the picnic, little Manuel began to struggle to breathe. Mother touched his forehead and felt a hot fever. Then Manuel vomited milk all over himself. Mother grabbed the tiny boy and ran to the car, praying, “God, You created him. Only You can save him.” Father followed close behind.

In the car, Mother noticed angry red pimples on Manuel’s hands and arms. The pimples spread to his chest and back. He struggled to breathe.

“God, You created him,” Mother prayed frantically. “Only You can save him.”

At the hospital, a nurse placed on oxygen mask over Manuel’s nose and mouth to help him to breathe. The physician, a young woman, wondered whether something might have bitten the boy in the woods. But no one could find any bite marks on his body.

Manuel was hospitalized for the night. Mother stayed with him, praying desperately. Even though the doctors didn’t know what was wrong, she felt certain that God could save her son.

“God, You created him,” Mother prayed. “Only You can save him.”

Twelve days passed. Manuel continued to struggle to breathe. He still had a fever, and red pimples covered his body. The doctor called other doctors for help, but no could diagnose the illness. Finally, the doctor told Mother to take Manuel home.

“We can’t do anything,” she said. “The only thing left to do is pray.”

Mother had been praying nonstop for 12 days, and she prayed again.

“God, You created him,” she said. “Only You can save him.”

Opening her eyes, she looked down at Manuel. He was breathing more easily.

Over the next few hours, the red pimples faded away. The fever left.

The doctor couldn’t believe it. No one could explain what had happened. Everyone declared that it was a miracle.

Manuel was too small to remember the illness, but he knows all the details because Mother reminds him every day. He has been telling others about the miracle since he was 3 and in kindergarten. He constantly looks for opportunities to share his personal testimony.

Now 9, he recently told his story during Bible class at school. On another day, the teacher spoke about prayer, and Manuel told how his mother’s prayers had saved his life. When classmates talk about God at recess, he tells them about God’s power during his illness. When he is invited to speak at Sabbath School and birthday parties, he relates his story again.

“I look for chances to tell people about what God did for me,” Manuel said.

As a result of his personal testimony, friends have asked Manuel to tell them more about God. He gave a children’s Bible to one of his friends. Manuel hopes his story will lead many people to God.

Part of a 2016 Thirteenth Sabbath Offering helped construct the church building where Manuel worships every Sabbath in Ragusa, Italy. Thank you!