Tyranny of the Urgent
What I’m about to tell you may sound ridiculous and beyond imagination. It is a story of Biblical miracles and may be difficult for you to believe. I must tell you though, I personally have no doubt that it is 100% true. Fabio is not a man who lies, I’m not even sure if he understands the concept of lying.
My friend Fabio comes from a closed country. It’s the type of country that I’m not allowed to say the name of because he might get found due to it. It is under Muslim law.
He accepted Christ as his savior 7 years ago when a friend of mine went to visit that country. Fabio worked at a hotel my friend was staying at and overheard their conversation, that’s when the Lord spoke to his heart and said: “this is the truth you’ve been looking for.” He found my friend later that day and said he wanted what my friend had, got his full name and then my friend went back home.
Something had changed in Fabio though and people in the village noticed. Eventually it came out that Fabio had become a Christian, he was no longer Muslim. The problem is, it is illegal to change religions where he is from so he was imprisoned. He was put in a room and beaten. His torturers would ask him to say Allah is the only way and then to deny Christ. He wouldn’t do it and so they would pull machetes from a fire and cut him on his side, his back, and his calves. They would torture him up to the point of death and then put him in his prison cell. He never denied Christ. Here is a man who had never read the Bible, never been to church, didn’t have any Christian friends and really didn’t know what he truly believed in but he knew that Christ crucified is truth and he would not deny it, even if it cost him his life.
One day in prison, he was recovered and expecting the next torture session any day. He was allowed outside in the prison courtyard for 10 minutes each day and as he stepped outside that morning he felt something in him push him to run and jump over the 8 ft. barbed wire fence, so he did. He did it without a scratch on his body, the way he tells me this story, it sounds as though he physically jumped or was thrown over the fence by something outside of himself. I think this must be the case because none of the guards or inmates saw him jump the fence or heard the fence rattle. They were completely blinded of the event.
He ran through the jungle back to his village over the next 24 hours. He knew the police would be looking for him and so he shimmied up a 25ft. tall tree. When he was near the top of the tree, he reached out for a branch but it broke and he fell to the ground. There were no broken bones, he eventually tried to stand up but he couldn’t. He felt as though he had to urinate but all that came out was blood. He laid on the jungle floor for a while and then felt a voice tell him to crawl to the nearby road “now!” He slowly made his way to the road knowing that he would be caught and this time, more than likely, killed. As he got to the road, his best friend was just driving by. His best friend had also felt a voice say to go to that spot “now!” His friend put Fabio in the trunk and brought him to a location the police wouldn’t know about. He then took his sisters passport and dressed Fabio in one of his sisters full Muslim Burkas, purchased a plane ticket to a close country and sent Fabio away. Fabio walked like a woman – this is a very funny part of the story when he tells it – to trick the security and they allowed him through. He was on his way, though he was in an immense amount of pain. 48 hours after falling from the tree, he landed in an airport in a foreign country and went to a hospital where he had surgery for his internal bleeding and kidney failure.
As he lay in the hospital recovering, he felt a voice tell him to go to South Africa, an impossible task. But, he looked back over the past week and decided there had been so much he’d done that was impossible, why not. So he started the insane journey of attempting to pass through multiple borders without any documentation. Two times the customs agents looked at his passport and then handed it back to him, once a computer wasn’t working so he passed through, and the final time 4 men got arrested and were wreaking havoc so they waved the rest of the bus passengers through customs without looking at their documents. He had made it, after weeks of traveling and seeing provision for finances through multiple miracles (like waking up only to find that he was sleeping on top of a $20 bill)!
As he made his way to a township he felt he was to go to in the North of South Africa he met a man from his hometown. They were excited to see each other and he told his friend that he was looking for the man who had led him to the Lord some 7 years before, a white man named Kevin. This man from his village had actually just met a white man named Kevin in February and had his cell phone number!
Fabio called Kevin. Kevin lived many hours away but came and picked Fabio up and brought him to his house. He gave Fabio a Bible in one of the languages that Fabio speaks and Fabio disappeared into the room Kevin had prepared for him. Fabio began to read the Bible for the first time after 7 years of calling himself a Christian. He read it 14 hours a day for 6 weeks straight. He was hanging around me and my friends a lot but not really speaking much. Once we were in a conversation talking about how fighting is a murderous spirit and we turned to Fabio to explain and he told us: “I know, on page 143 column 2 article 4 the Bible says ‘thou shalt not murder’.” We had to explain to him that people use the books of the Bible and chapters and verses to reference because most people usually don’t have the Bible memorized well enough to know by page. INCREDIBLE.
Fabio decided he wanted to move into the township because there were many Muslims there that needed to know the truth. You see, Fabio was only granted 6 months of refugee status in South Africa and then has to re-approved every 3 months. South Africa can reject his status at any moment and send him back to his country where he would immediately be arrested, imprisoned and possibly killed. He lives under an urgency that the gospel must go forth! He sees Muslims everywhere and boldly proclaims the gospel to them. He knows persecution and doesn’t care what harm someone might do to him, Christ must be known. Fabio lives under the tyranny of the urgent only his priority of urgent is one that stirs me deep in my spirit. I want to be like Fabio.
When Fabio first moved into Masi, we began to be worried for him because he would tell us that a man was standing in his house in the middle of the night and would tell him things he needed to do that day. It happened several times and so we began to ask what the man looked like. His description: “He is very bright, white hair, I can’t look into his eyes but want to.”
Fabio lives in Masiphumelele and has people visiting his shack under the cover of darkness so as not to be seen or found out. He has led many Muslims to Christ and continues to be known in the township as the one who can explain the truth.
The picture below is of Fabio and his first of many, many converts. I blurred his face per his request.