Where Fans Become Family

It was the first time I’d ever talked to a dead guy.

I was sitting just outside the airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, and I had hastily set up my cameras to do an impromptu interview with a man I had just met. His name was Francis, and the story he was about to tell me was one of the wildest I would ever hear.

Francis was attending a church that was putting on an event that evening, and Francis was one of the volunteers for security. As the event was starting, he was just beginning to close the gate when four men approached him with bad intentions.

They told him that this would be his last day, then they proceeded to beat him with baseball bats and stab him 27 times, leaving him for dead. Eventually, someone found him and called an ambulance, but by the time he arrived at the hospital, he was dead.

Immediately, the church began praying for Francis, and after being dead for about four hours, Francis began breathing again. But he was still a mess after his ordeal, and the doctors began pumping him with pain medication.

It knocked him out, but just before he went under, he whispered to his friend at his side, “Forgive them,” referring to the men who did this.

The next morning the authorities came to the leaders of the church to tell them that they had caught one of the people responsible for attacking Francis. They just needed them to fill out some paperwork to press charges, and they’d take it from there.

But word of what Francis had said had gotten back to the church, and they told the authorities that no, they weren’t going to press any charges. They wanted the man to go free. The police pushed back. We’re lucky we caught one of these guys at all, you can’t respond to violent crimes like this.

But they stood firm. No, we forgive him. Let him go.

At that moment, while lying in the hospital, Francis was totally and completely healed of all his injuries. Twenty-seven stab wounds, and no scars at all. All bruising and broken bones, completely well.

The doctors were astounded, obviously. They kept checking him, but ultimately they couldn’t think of any reason to keep him in the hospital, so they discharged him that same day.

Shortly after getting released from the hospital, Francis went to the police station to confront the man who had killed him the night before. He told the police to let the man go, and he met with the man privately. He told him that he forgave him for what he had done, and he told him why.

He told him about Jesus, and about grace and the power of God’s love. The man was overcome and accepted Jesus then and there. Today he is a pastor in South Africa.

When Francis finished his story, it took me a moment to close my mouth from shock. My flight was leaving in a couple of hours, so I needed to pack up, but as I thanked him for coming to talk to me that morning, I asked how long it would take him to get home. “Oh, about 5 hours or so.”

I stopped. What? I looked at my watch. It was 10 am. And then I realized that this guy had gotten up in the middle of the night to drive for an interview with a guy he had never heard of, for a movie that may or may not ever be seen by anyone (remember, at this point I was nobody with no movies under my belt at all).

I asked him why in the world he would do such a thing, and his answer shocked me almost as much as his story did.

“Well, if my story helps even one person know how loving and powerful God is, then what is it to me to have to wake up early and drive a long time?”

I was humbled (and possibly a little ashamed—I would never have done something like that).

It was a beautiful picture of a child who was so in love with his Father that any chance he had to tell someone about Him and what He had done was worth whatever price he had to pay to do it.

This Story is From:

Finger of God. You can watch this story as it unfolded because we captured it on film. See this and more stories in the full movie available now.

Profile photo of Darren Wilson
Darren Wilson is the Founder and Director at WP Films, a media company with a very clear mission: ask questions about God that no one else will. He has traveled the world since 2006 creating various feature-length documentaries, including Finger of God, Furious Love, Father of Lights, Holy Ghost, and Holy Ghost Reborn. Darren is also the author of the books ​Filming God and Finding God in the Bible.

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