Dr. JOSEPH BILAL (From death to life)

They were seven young men; I know them and they know me, we were colleagues, but they aimed their arrows towards me to kill me!! That was enough to make it the hardest day and the last day of my life, but amazingly it turned out to be the most wonderful day of my life!!
Ethnic Cleansing:
I’m a southerner, I was born in a Christian family in Juba; I was baptized when I was a child, I grew up in a good Christian atmosphere; so I attended the Sunday School classes regularly, in addition to the principles I learnt from my Christian family, however; all that didn’t make me introduce my life entirely to the Christ, till the year 1983 AD.
I finished my preparatory stage studies at that year, then I joined the secondary school, and we were the first to join Supiri Secondary School.
Unfortunately, in the same year, a massive ethnic and tribal cleansing process began; it even reached our school, which made some students from some tribes fight with students from hostile tribes!!
Ethnic and tribal killings have increased enormously, till it became hard to control, and since our home is in a region called Line Tamarjiah, which is not far from school, the danger of getting murdered was so close to our home.
Enemy Friends:
One day, while I was in my way home back from school, seven of my classmates at school approached me, they know me and I know them very well, and instead of greeting me, I was surprised that they prepared a trap for me, and in their hands there were some arrows and sticks, and were ready to attack me on the road!!
“Stop… Stop!” my awaiting colleagues said, so I stopped. “What’s going on?!” I said.
“Shut up and sit down!” they said.
“What’s the matter buddies? Why did you stop me? What are you intending to do to me?” I said.
“Well, if you insist on knowing what we’re going to do to you, we’re going to kill you today.” they replied angrily.
At that moment I felt real fear inside my heart, so I asked them: “But what wrong did I do?”
“Who told you that we will kill you for what you did … but you will die because of the misdeeds that your tribe and your family committed and affected us all.” they replied ironically.
So I said: “But why should I pay for that alone?”
“Shut up and sit down!” they replied quickly.
So I sat down, and it seemed to me that these seven young men were determined to go ahead with their plan, of smashing and killing me as they declared.
Divine Salvation:
While I was busy yelling and pleading to these young men, wondering:”Why are you killing me? Why are you doing that terrible act to me?” Just a few moments before they attack me, suddenly, an old man appeared from far away, holding a spear in one hand and a bow and an arrow in his other hand.
As soon as the old man approached, he realized that I was in big trouble, and that those guys surrounding me were intending to harm me, so he aimed his arch at them and said with all his power:” don’t you ever do anything to this young man (he meant me), if you just tried, just a try to harm him, I will aim at your hearts directly right now, and I will murder you one by one” , by the time these guys felt that his threat was serious, they started retreating leaving me alone.
Then the old man approached me and asked:” Where do you live?”, I was too shocked to give him an answer, and I barely remembered that I live in Line Tamarjia province, and after many attempts we arrived at my home. The old man said before he left me: “God was with you, and He saved you, Son.”
Back at home, I entered my room without saying a word to anyone, and I cried bitterly, recalling in my mind what had happened in my way, and I was wondering: Why did they try to kill me although they were my classmates, and I used to consider them my close friends, we used to drink tea daily with each other?! My heart was almost burning with rage.
Turning Point:
Suddenly, I had an idea; which was to tell my seven elder brothers about what had happened with me, and to lead them to the houses of my classmates, which I knew very well, in order to take revenge, but I soon thought of the bad consequences that will happen to my brothers and to me as well; so I receded the idea, and I decided not to share what had happened with anyone, although everybody at home was wondering: “ What’s wrong with Joseph?” because they knew I used to laugh, but today I’m very sad, and my mood is completely different from before.
I wasn’t able to endure all that bitterness, but I decided eventually to share what happened to me with my uncle Bari Parish, who is a leader in the church, and he lives in Hai Mission region, so I went to him, and I told him everything that had happened, when I finished, he thanked me a lot for sharing this painful event with him, then he said: I’m quite sure that the person who was with you that day is The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and you did the right thing when you hid this from your brothers, but I’m asking you to do something else, which is, to forgive those who harmed you, and to purify your heart from any desire to avenge them.
Afterwards my uncle said: “But Joseph, let me tell you what’s more important, and what will be the secret of your courage and strength, which is, to deliver your life to The Lord Jesus Christ, to be your savior.”, so I prayed with my uncle, and I accepted the Christ in my life. As soon as the Christ entered my heart, I calmed down a lot, and the anger that almost burned me was gone.
Indeed, I decided to announce my love for those who tried to kill me, in the next day, I went to school, and when I met them, I saluted them, and they became astonished and wondered: “How could the boy whom we tried to kill yesterday salute us today ?!”.
The appearance of the fruit:
Several years later, precisely in the year 1998 AD, I travelled to Khartoum, I was a priest then, and I met a group of boys who had tried to kill me more than fifteen years ago, thus when they saw me, they said with admiration: “ Joseph… you became a priest… you know what, since a very long time we saw something different about you, and we realized that God is really with you, especially when you greeted us the next day we attempted to kill you, and you didn’t reward us according to our impudence… You are really the man of God since that time… So please forgive us on all the harm we did to you in the past”.
I answered them with a smile on my face: ” On that day, I put in my heart to make you pay dearly for what you have done to me, but God told me not to reward you according to your wickedness, and I’m very sure that the old man who came that day, was a messenger from Lord Jesus, and I have forgiven you since that day”, then, we greeted and we parted, so that I was at the peak of happiness, and also thankful to God.