Shot point blank by ISIS: “God’s Hand Was On Me”
20 March 2018
On May 18, 2017, the Rangers and I were providing medical support to Lt. Hussein’s Iraqi Army unit as they fought street by street to liberate West Mosul from ISIS.
“Why do you risk your life to help us?” Hussein asked.
“God sent us and we are with you as a family. We will take a walk on the wild side with you,” I replied.
“What does it mean, ‘walk on the wild side’?” he asked.
I smiled and replied, “It means we do not know what will happen! But we will walk on the wild side with Jesus. Can we pray?”
“Yes,” Hussein said.
We prayed together, and I felt a peace come over me and Hussein smiled and said, “Let’s go.”
The liberation of Tamuzz 17 neighborhood of West Mosul consisted of brutal house-to-house fighting each day. Civilians would crawl or run out of their hiding places, kiss us and thank us for their escape. The Iraqi soldiers and I prayed together each day.
On the fourth day of the advance, Hussein and I had paused on a street near a wall and the remnants of a blown-up car. Suddenly, three ISIS fighters assaulted from around a corner only seven yards away. They advanced to within five yards of us, shooting rapidly, with one of them yelling “Allah Akbar” as he fired.
I still remember the eruption of gunshots and the looks on each of ISIS’ faces as they rounded the corner, their weapons at their shoulders, looking down the sights of their guns, bullets hitting Hussein, myself, and the ground around us. I was able to stop them and to this day I know it was God who helped me.
They shot Hussein three times in the chest, twice in the left arm, and once in the left leg. He went down and I was shot once in my left arm. I was able to stop the fighters and, with the help of Zau Seng and Justin on our team, we pulled Hussein off the street. ISIS fighters continued to attack us and our team. Hussein’s soldiers and our team held them off as I gave first aid and tried to keep Hussein alive, praying as I worked.
After 20 minutes, an Iraqi BMP, a light tank, fought its way down the street and evacuated Hussein and two other soldiers wounded in the attack. As the battle went on we strong-pointed a building to defend against further attacks. We advanced again the next day and we did not know if Hussein had lived or died.
Months later we heard that Hussein had survived in what his doctors called a miracle. One doctor told him, “I have never seen anyone survive wounds like this, only God could have helped you.” The rangers and I thanked God for his survival and kept praying for him.
During our last mission to Iraq in February 2018, Hussein came to meet us in Irbil. We hugged each other and thanked God together.
“Thank you for saving my life,” Hussein told me. “I used to call you uncle, but now I call you father.”
I was overwhelmed with gratitude and thanked God with him. I was reminded of the power of prayer and told him many people had been praying for him. Our team gathered around, and Hussein and I recounted what had happened on that day and how God had saved us both.
Two of our friends in the United States told me months later that around the time we were being shot, they felt an urge to pray and stopped what they did and prayed hard. They did not know what had happened until later.
“You saved our lives with these prayers,” I told them. “There was no way we could have survived without God’s help.”
I told all this to Hussein and how many people all over the world had prayed for him. “God had his hand on me that day,” said Hussein as he looked at us all. “He saved me to do something. Thank you for your help and I thank my God for saving me.”
Hussein is married and has one daughter, born three days after he was shot, and a son on the way. He needs more surgery as he has difficulty walking and using his injured arm. With the help of ATP we are helping him with the first surgeries and praying for full recovery. God has something special for him and we will do our best to keep helping him.
Thank you for your prayers and love!
God bless you,
Dave, family and teams