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The Visitor

By Richard Gunther

   A Personal Testimony

25th Sep. 1999 Saturday.

   About 9.30 p.m. I had a visitor whose attempts to stop my Christian witness, I am happy to say, were totally unsuccessful.

   When he first appeared in the doorway of my home, I was sitting on the couch, watching rugby on TV. My daughter was leading her pet lamb about in the kitchen. The fire in the potbelly stove was going well and the house was warm. My first thought, on seeing the intruder, whom I had not seen for about 10 years was "Has he come to tell me he is now a Christian?" I raised my right hand in friendly greeting.

   He started shouting angrily at me and then his fists began to pound my face. I was thrown backwards off the couch on to the floor. My daughter bravely and desperately tried to hold his arms and restrain him, but he was uncontrollable, like a madman. I lapsed into unconsciousness and fell to the floor between the wall and the couch, while the visitor continued to strike me. Later, I learned that he had kicked me several times in the stomach. Some of the blows were so forceful my head broke a hole in the gib-board wall, and blood splattered across the wall.

   As the assault began I felt a beautiful peace within me, like oil flowing down from my head to my feet.. I had no fear. The thought that I was about to die was not at all unsettling. My only concern was for my frightened young daughter. I wanted her to run away, in case this 'attack' turned on her next, but the man ignored her. She was able to take the phone into her room and dial her mother.

   The visitor finished his work on me and left me lying on the floor, blood dripping from my mouth, my dentures scattered about my head, and my right eye swelling and purple. There were also several cuts on my legs caused by the kicking.

   I regained consciousness and decided to head for the neighbour's house, to ring the police, in case my visitor tried to run away. I later found out that he had been dropped off near my house by his wife, and that she had driven for about 20 minutes to my daughter's mother's house - where she was met by my daughter's mother and told to get off the property and go away. My daughter had rung her mother to tell her what had happened to me.

   My visitor, apparently aware of his crime, now dialled the police himself and said "There's been a beating". He then waited for the police to come. I was told later that he had earlier obtained some wires, to tie me up, on the way to my place but had discarded them because they were unsuitable. The police searched the neighbour's property for these wires but couldn't find them. Mad or not, this man had calculated a long way ahead of time what he was planning to do to me. I believe his intention was more than injury and he was fortunate that I did not die.

   As I lay on the floor, I noticed that my visitor had moved out of the living room, and out to the back porch, so I crawled through the house, leaving blood spots across the kitchen floor, clutching my dentures, and headed for the front bedroom. I was still half-conscious, but recovering quickly. I made it to the bedroom, went under a table and opened the window. I fell out into the garden and half-ran, half staggered to the gate, all the while expecting to hear my visitor chasing me, but he either thought I was still on the floor, or in some peculiar way, he didn't care. 

   I knocked on the neighbour's door, and she saw me through the glass panes in the door. I was quite a sight! To her credit she opened the door immediately and let me in. I explained what had happened and the police were rung. I then had a strong impression that my daughter would be safe, and that I was going to be healed four times faster than normal. This impression came to me so clearly that I was absolutely sure it was from God. From that moment I was not upset, but in fact my spirits were running high and I almost laughed with joy because  knew that God was in control.

      The police arrived 7 minutes later, with dogs. My visitor was arrested and I was helped to the ambulance, which also arrived very quickly.

   I was smiling as I lay in the ambulance, and chatted merrily to the driver and helper. The assistant was surprised, considering the mess my face looked. He insisted that I have an injection so I held out my arm. He found the vein and tried to push the needle in, but the end of the needle bent - like a hockey stick. He was surprised. "That's never happened before!" he said.

   He tried my other arm, got a vein up, and tried to push the needle in, but again, the tip of the steel needle bent. He was even more amazed, and gave up on the injection. I had another assurance that God was saying "I'll look after this one Richard, you don’t need human medical aid."

   At hospital I was wheeled to a small room and soon a nurse, then a doctor arrived. Normal procedure in A&C is, if someone has been unconscious, to keep them overnight, but the doctor had a quick look at me and said I looked OK. I talked to a nurse about this later, and she expressed great surprise.

   My son was there. He was quite angry. He insisted that I let my visitor "get all he deserves", in other words to press charges, but I had no thought of revenge. I decided to pray for two things : 1. that the offender NOT go to prison, and 2. that the offender pay for the material damage to my property. (About $800)


   My healing was rapid. After my brief visit to the hospital, I went with my son to the police station to answer questions and make statements, then I went to my son's place, along with my daughter. Already the swelling in my face was going down. I felt the health returning, and could see the difference almost hour by hour. It was after midnight by the time my daughter and I got to bed. We prayed for my visitor's salvation and went to sleep.

   Saturday  26.

   The following day I was able to eat porridge for breakfast and walk about. Later in the day we went to my home, where I sorted out some mail and did a few other jobs, then we went to Ashbury Park (Another Christian friend came too) and we all had KFC and played a crazy game of soccer in the sun. In the evening three friends and I went to the movies while my daughter stayed at her mother's. I was healing very quickly and feeling normal again. Everyone was surprised at the speed with which the swelling disappeared and the purple around my eye dissolved.

    The next morning I was feeling great, and itching to get back to work. I spent some of the morning sitting in the sun, playing with my darling grand-daughter and talking with her. A little boy came round from next door so I ran all over the lawn, playing 'rugby' with him. Before midday I had to go to Timaru again for photographs - a bit late! - although I still looked damaged, I was at least 60% healed and the photographs hardly did me justice! However, I complied and spent a long time talking to the police and making an 'Impact Statement'. When I suggested that they include the words "I forgive him, and want him to settle down, get on with his life, and be a good father to his children" the woman asked me if I was "religious." I explained to her that I was not “religious” but simply a Christian.


   Many good things have come out of this incident.

    1. I now have a deeper conviction that my Christian work is valuable to God, considering the effort which the devil put into trying to stop it.

    2. I have had many opportunities to witness to various people.

     3. I have joined the ranks of those who have been involved in the general persecution which Jesus promised would come on believers.

      4. I have  a personal testimony of healing.

    5. My daughter and others have seen the price one must sometimes pay to be a Christian.

    6. I can sympathise and empathise with other people who have experienced similar violence.

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