Tears flowed freely at The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos, Nigeria on Sunday 12th February 2017 following the emotional testimony of Praise Sunday, a young boy literally rescued from the jaws of death.
At the tender age of 12, Praise’s world came crashing down when armed robbers mercilessly slaughtered his mother and younger sister before his eyes.
The heartless attack, which occurred on May 8th 2016, almost claimed Praise’s life but for ‘Divine intervention’.
According to the young boy from Agbor, Delta State, the bandits first bound their feet and hands before demanding for money from his mum Edith, a widower struggling to run a small provisions store.
When the meagre amount available in the house was presented without an accompanying bank card, the thieves became vulgar and violent.
“They took my sister inside the room, cut her neck and left her dead on the floor,” Praise soberly recalled, much to the shock of the congregation. She was only 10 years old. “They then carried my mum, raped her and slaughtered her; they stabbed her in so many places.”
The young boy had just witnessed the gruesome mutilation of his beloved family – but the robbers weren’t finished.
“They left her dead on the floor and came back for me. They took me into the room where I saw my mum and sister lying in a pool of blood. They then cut my neck and stabbed me in the chest.”
Praise was thrown roughly on the floor as the criminals took their leave, assuming he had already died.
Hands and feet helplessly tied with blood spurting from the gaping wound on his neck, it seemed the end had come for Praise Sunday. Then, something extraordinary happened!
“I managed to open my eyes and saw something white, sparkling and tall like a human being. It carried me, took me to my neighbor’s gate, shook it and then disappeared.”
When his neighbour’s rushed out, they found Praise’s bloodied body dumped at their doorstep, his arms and legs bound together. Raising the alarm, they rushed him to hospital.
Lapsing in and out of consciousness and fighting for his life, Praise was taken to the General Hospital in Agbor before being transferred to the Federal Medical Centre. “Blood was pumping out like a shower; they could not control it,” he recalled of the traumatic ordeal.
Although Praise miraculously survived the attack following emergency surgery and the usage of “T.B. Joshua’s Morning Water”, he was left with his vocal chords severely damaged and a pipe inserted into his throat. For nine long months, he could not utter a single word.
After seven operations at medical institutions across the country yielding no result and several pleas for financial aid to government bodies within Delta State falling on seemingly deaf ears, the family decided to pay a visit to The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos.
Hearing of his heartbreaking ordeal, T.B. Joshua – well known for his philanthropic gestures – instantly sprang into action, promising to sponsor Praise’s travel overseas for more advanced medical attention.
Shortly afterwards, the young boy left for Cape Town, South Africa with his caring aunt Mabel, “all expenses paid for by Prophet T.B. Joshua and Emmanuel TV partners”.
There, a four-hour major operation was conducted at Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town, overseen by specialists Dr Martin Vanlierde and Professor Mark De Groot.
Given a clean bill of health after several months of check-ups, Praise returned to Nigeria to testify that his vocal abilities had been completely restored.
A total of $50,000 (N25m) was spent by Joshua on Praise’s trip, covering his welfare, travelling expenses and medical bills.
Surrounded by his extended family and grateful community members, Praise’s final words spoke volumes. “I encourage the rich and privileged in society to emulate Prophet T.B. Joshua and help poor people like me. Then, Nigeria would be a much better place for us all.”
Ihechukwu Njoku is a freelance Nigerian journalist