“I remember thinking, I don’t want to be kidnapped and I don’t know what to do,” Colleen says.
It was 4 am and pitch black when Christian missionaries Daniel & Colleen Jaquith woke up to the sound of a gun exploding and angry voices yelling in Tagalog outside their window. They were at their mission base on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean in the Philippines.
There was no electricity, little cell service, and they were far away from any form of medical help.
Within minutes of hearing these gunshots, a masked gunman knocked down the door to the place where they were sleeping. The only light was from the gunman’s headlamp as he barged in, holding a gun to the head of a Filipino pastor whom he had taken hostage. The pastor had been shot in the foot and was bleeding profusely.
Unknown to them, this beautiful and peaceful island was also home to a drug dealer who frequently threatened and terrorized local villagers. This man had a violent, unpredictable temperament and a reputation for killing multiple Filipinos by hacking them to death with a machete.
God Warned Her
“A couple days before, I had a couple different dreams that I died… and I was so amazed by it! I thought, Oh wow! Why did I have these dreams? I began to pray and say, God, what’s going on? I don’t know why I’m having these dreams about dying and going to heaven. I felt very serious like I really needed to pray and intercede. But I couldn’t figure out how I could die. I was like, I feel like I’m healthy, and I don’t know what could happen out here.
“I remember that day before just talking to the Lord, over and over and over. And I said, Lord, you know, I want to go to heaven… but if it’s okay with you, I would like to stay here longer. I was just praying and crying out to God.
“When the guy came into our room in the early morning hours, I thought, OH NO! This is what the Lord was warning me about! And I thought… It’s very possible I’m going to die. But Lord, you know. We’ve already talked about it all day yesterday. We talked about it, and I’m willing to go if that’s what you want. But I think my kids might have a hard time understanding if something happens like this… I think they’re going to feel really bad.
“I just remember thinking–in the middle of all that was going on--Lord I’m surrendered to you, but if it’s okay with you Lord, I’ll stay here on earth a little longer before we go to heaven.”
The Masked Gunman
Pastor Daniel tells about the experience,
“We could see his gun and that he had already shot one of our fellow teammates. [The gunman] had gone into a nearby building and demanded that one of our pastors come down from the loft where he was sleeping. He shot him in the foot, and said, ‘Take me to the Americans!’
“What could the pastor do but just come at gunpoint? And so here we found ourselves in the middle of the early morning hours, looking down a loaded gun, with a guy saying he’s going to kill us…”
In desperation the missionaries began to pray as loudly as they could from within their mosquito net, several feet away from the gunman.
“I remember thinking, I don’t want to be kidnapped and… I don’t know what to do.
“It was one of those moments when you don’t know how to handle a situation. You don’t know how to fix it. We just needed God.
“We began to pray as loud as we could…we cried out to God to help us because we really needed Him.”
The Filipino pastor told the gunman, “Go check their suitcase, that’s where the money is!” While the gunman was momentarily distracted, the Filipino pastor seized his opportunity and grabbed a plastic chair and broke it over the gunman’s head.
The pastor tackled the gunman in an attempt to wrestle the gun away. In the ensuing scuffle, the gun went off several more times. The gunman was high on drugs and at one point aimed back at the missionaries and fired. One of the bullets went through Pastor Dan’s arm.
“I yelled, ‘I’m shot! I got hit!’ And Colleen goes, ‘Where?! Where?!'”
“It’s a terrible feeling to have your husband hit–SHOT!
“And of course, it’s totally dark so we didn’t know where [he was hit]. He said, ‘In my arm!'”
“I was so thankful it wasn’t in his heart or his lung or something. We just grabbed a pillowcase off the pillow and we tied his arm to stop the bleeding, while the guy is still shooting towards us.
“Of course, you can’t see how bad it is, you don’t know anything. I’m so thankful. It was miraculous that it didn’t break a bone and that he didn’t bleed to death before we could get him to a hospital. We are so thankful for that.”
Not Your Typical Prayer Meeting
Dan and Colleen had several guests with them at the time who were staying in a secure room in the building. One of these ladies woke up to the missionaries praying loudly at 4 am and thought she would join their prayer meeting. She came out of her room, stepping directly into the line of fire. The gunman was so surprised and Pastor Dan yelled, “Get back in the room!”
“We’re so thankful that she was very cooperative because I think she would’ve gotten shot. She was right in the line of fire.”
After the gunmen finally went running off into the jungle, the team of missionaries and pastors gathered together in the dark, praising God for saving their lives. Even though there were injuries, God had miraculously protected them.
Eighteen Hours Later
It was eighteen hours before Pastor Dan and fellow Filipino pastor arrived at an ER on the mainland to receive treatment. By the time they reached the hospital they had lost a lot of blood and were physically weak. Amazingly, after doing X-rays, it was discovered that neither pastor had a bone fracture. The bullets had entered and exited their bodies without causing any permanent damage. Multiple doctors and X-ray technicians, independently of each other, called it a miracle.
“Of course we know that God is a miracle-working God,” says Pastor Dan, with a big smile on his face. “By the next weekend I was already up in church playing the guitar and singing.”
“It was interesting… before this happened, I was impressed with Psalm 107:2, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.
“I was laying there that morning, even before this happened, and I was kind of fading in and out of sleep, and I was thinking about that verse. And I thought, That’s a really special verse, a real Rhema word from God for today, we’ll talk about that at our devotional time later!”
Prayers From Across the World
“Around that time the Lord put a heavy burden of prayer upon our daughter and some of her friends, so they prayed for us. And you know, if God puts someone on your heart, it’s really important to pray for them. You don’t know what they might be facing. God was faithful and answered their prayers.
“We believe that there could have very possibly been a different ending to the story. But we just thank God for His mercy for giving us a few more years to serve Him and proclaim the gospel.”
Pastor Dan: “We’re so thankful that the Lord did rescue us. He did answer prayer! And we are still alive and still able to go out to the islands and keep sharing the gospel!”
This is just one example of many stories of God’s protection in their lives. Today, Daniel & Colleen Jaquith are still in the Philippines, sharing the message of Jesus and actively serving the poor and underprivileged.
They continue to visit the island where the shooting took place and are faithfully serving God as soldiers on the front-lines. We would love it if you could join us in praying for their safety and protection.
God is a powerful God and we believe that He hears and answers prayer!
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