Democratic Republic of Congo

It was 8:10 on Friday evening, May 10, 2019—a time and date forever seared in my memory. My wife and I had just sat down to watch a program on Hope TV to unwind from our busy week at Adventist University of Lukanga, where I serve as vice-chancellor. But there would be no rest for us this night.

Some visitors from the World Health Organization were staying at the university. They were working on Ebola prevention, and their presence had created strong opposition among some of the local people. While my family and I relaxed, a group of armed men stormed the main gate of the campus. They confiscated the security guards’ communication equipment and took them hostage.

“Where are the personnel from the World Health Organization?” they demanded. “Take us to them!” The guards had just begun leading the way to the rooms where our guests were staying when the armed men stopped. “We’ve changed our minds,” one of them said. “Take us to the vice-chancellor’s home instead!”

With much hesitation, the guards brought the men to our home. Our house has three entrances. Fortunately, the guards brought the men to our kitchen door, the only door that was locked.

Soon I heard pounding on the door. That’s odd, I thought. No one ever comes to this door at this time of night. And nobody pounds like that. Who could it be?

I cautiously made my way to the door to look out its wide glass window. But it was difficult for me to see outside because it was so dark. “Who’s there?” I called, but there was no answer. I was trying to position myself to get a better view when, suddenly, someone shot me through the glass! I fell down and started screaming. But, thank God, a rational thought calmed the chaos in my mind. Lie still. Be silent. Perhaps the assassins will think you’re dead.

The plan worked. I could hear the men retreating, shooting in the air to announce that they had killed someone. Meanwhile, the hostages fled to the nearby fields.

My wife and daughters came screaming and crying into the kitchen, and we quickly hid together in the pantry. As we prayed for God’s protection, I noticed a burning sensation on my right arm. Later, I would discover that the bullet had grazed the skin.

While the thugs were still shooting around the campus, one of the guards rushed into our home to see whether I had been killed. I assured him that I was fine, but he found it difficult to believe.

In fact, as word of my experience spread through the campus, everyone found it hard to believe I hadn’t been killed. The shooter could see me clearly through the wide glass window, I couldn’t see him due to the darkness outside, and we were separated by only six and a half feet (two meters).

I know there are times when God doesn’t rescue His children from death or disaster, but I believe that He worked a miracle for me that night and guided that bullet away from my body. I’m very grateful for His protection, and I am convinced more than ever that our loving Father cares for His children.

Please pray for the safety of our missionaries as they serve Jesus around the world.

Amir Gulzar Amir Gulzar has served 16 years at Adventist University of Lukanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo as vice-chancellor. He and his wife, Shabnam, have 11-year-old twin daughters and a 15-year-old son.