I Am Alive And I Will Never Die! – Jackie’s Story of Faith
Jan 22, 2015 1968
Jackie rarely leaves her home in the remote area of Rwanda where she lives, but she receives dozens of visitors every week. She greets each of them from her wheelchair with the same words: “Jesu Wenyine (Jesus Only)! And when they leave, often with a book in their hands, she sees them off with the slogan that sustains her life: “I am alive and I will never die because Jesus is risen.”
This is Jackie’s story.
More than ten years ago, Jackie, at the time aged just 15 years, fell from a speeding lorry, shattering all the bones in her lower body. Doctors said there was no hope for her; that treatment would be wasted and she should be left alone to die. But devoted Catholic nuns cared for her and nursed her all that time.
Jackie spent many months in a coma, and during this time many people prayed that Jackie would not continue to suffer, but that she would pass away and rest in peace.
In spite of the nuns’ care, Jackie was left paralysed from the waist down, her body wasting away. Jackie says, “Since that time I know what rotting means, since parts of my rotting body were often removed and thrown away and it turned into soil.“ As she slowly recovered, Jackie received up to 150 visitors every day, all of them amazed to see her alive after such a terrible accident.
During those early days of suffering, Jackie gave her life to Jesus Christ. “God made me survive,” says Jackie. “I soon realised that in this accident God was calling me to be a witness of his saving love to my peers as well as to my Muslim family. My father realised that I was no longer interested in my former religion, and he did not prevent me from talking about my new-found Saviour. He said, ‘If Jesus makes her happy and stay alive, let her go the Jesus way. Open the doors for those who want to pray for her!”
“Incredibly my father opened the door for Jesus into our family through the many visitors I received.” Jackie understood that even such a terrible accident could work for her good. She says, “I convinced myself that perhaps this accident happened to me so Jesus may reveal himself to me. In my heart I leaned on the hope of a resurrected life where there will be no pain. This hope was a power that generated every smile above pain.”
Jackie’s visitors were amazed at her hope and joy as she pointed them to Jesus. She told them, “The One I have is able. The present suffering is nothing and it does not trouble me. Having Jesus is everything.”
Five years after the accident, Jackie had more surgery, but she has remained a paraplegic. But her great faith sustains her and gives her a joyful life. “God turns the unfortunate things that happen to his children into blessings for all. Job’s story is a classic one. God has purposes in all these things. You see, I am his. Whatever he pleases to do with me, I am available. I will share whatever message he wants to pass across through this destroyed body of mine.”
Unknown to Jackie, something was happening in Belgium that would transform her life even more. Sammy, in Brussels, sent instructions to his brother-in-law Eric in Rwanda to pick some books from Pr. Ephron and take them to his parents and the neighbors. Eric did just that, reaching many people for Jesus Christ through the book Jesus Only. That’s how Jackie received Jesus Only by Desmond Ford.
Jackie says, “On seeing the title, Jesus Only,, something happened in me, something I cannot explain. On reading the book, hope and assurance was born in me like never before, and then I understood everything that had happened to me. I saw clearly my mission, while living in this dead body. Many people who visit me want to see my personal copy of Jesus Only, and they are curious to read every underlined word. I read and underline, it is underlined all over. Why not? I trace my story in my Saviour’s story.”
This book came at the right time for her, Jackie says. “I know I am supposed to be dead, but I am alive because God still wants me alive, and I must use this time to proclaim his great love.”
Jesus Only has given Jackie a greater understanding of her life and of God’s love and care. “Every chapter speaks to my heart. This book has confirmed many things I held on to, and has scattered all darkness and fear. I now have a better view of things. I am overflowing with joy, I have Jesus, and I rejoice in lifting up his name while I am down here (on earth). My many visitors will continue hearing the name of Jesus from my lips until I stop breathing.”
“Just to know that God loves us in our unworthiness – this is the most important gift. Our fears and anxieties in this life are mere distractions on our Christian journey. When I have completed the work Jesus called me to do, he will ask me to bid me farewell to this life and later he will give me a new body. I will have joy without ceasing.”
Jackie’s family is amazed at her assurance, joy and her new language of the gospel. Her previously Muslim mother now recognises Jesus as the great secret of living joyously in pain and loss and this has multiplied Jackie’s joy. Because of Jackie’s witness through suffering, and of the book Jesus Only, with the exception of her father, her relatives and many of her friends, within a Muslim community, have now been baptized.
Jackie says: “When I look back, I marvel about God’s ordering of my life. This is an opposite of what my doctors saw earlier on. In the early stages, the doctors suggested to those who sacrificed for help pay for my treatment that they were willing to help end my life because they did not see the possibility of my recovery. These people refused this suggestion; they respected my life. I am still here thanks to Jesus who has miraculously sustained me. Now I think, if I did not get into this accident, how else would I have been able to witness for Christ to my parents, friends and Muslim friends? I would now be hidden under a bed-sheet, unaware of my Saviour. But today, from my bed and wheelchair, I have pointed hundreds, if not thousands of people to Jesus as my only source of joy and purpose of living in this rotting body of mine. God placed me here to be a witness to all for God’s saving power.”
Young people have been attracted to the gospel because they have heard it from someone near their own age. “I have been blessed to witness the transforming love of Jesus to the young ladies and young men who had become delinquent,” she says. “Now they are confessing their love for God. Many have thanked God for where he placed me because of their changed lives..”
Not only has Jackie’s family been given the great message of Jesus Only, Jackie also gives copies to her many visitors. She also makes a passionate presentation of Jesus Only, turning her wheelchair into a pulpit for Jesus.
She has asked for more books – at least 50 copies – in Swahili and Kinyarwanda. Her home in Rwanda is near the border with Congo, so she can minister through Jesus Only to people from Congo, who speak Swahili, as well as those in Rwanda.
“I will continue in this body lifting up Jesus only”, she says. “Nothing can be added to Jesus, this book is timely for me, and for my many visitors.”
Jackie has a special message for Desmond Ford.
God bless you abundantly for writing and sending me the book Jesus Only. This book has greatly helped me to get established in Christ. It has a message that comforts me and many more people who have come to know Jesus Only.
I am still breathing, although I cannot sit properly, I am always in a slanted position, I have no feeling up to my abdomen, but I am still living. That is why I can tell you that this book Jesus Only has filled my cup of Joy in my paralyzed condition.
I cannot see you and say thank you in this life, but when we get to heaven, we shall recognize each other, I will thank you for this good news; the news that has fortified my friendship with Jesus. Jesus Only is all I needed and he is all my all. I am satisfied and I have peace.
I am amazed that this book came to me, God knew I needed it in my life and for my witnessing. I am now sharing the book with my visitors. They are in great need of this book. The only Swahili copy I was left with, I just have given it to my Swahili speaking visitor. Thank you. Jackie.”
This story was provided by Jackie, written down by Sammy, then translated by David Kayumba, and edited by Eliezer Gonzalez.
God never ceases to surprise us in the way He runs his business of saving souls!
I am posting the message below on behalf of Gill Ford (Des' wife)…. When Des and I came back from USA in 2000/2001 we worked on a number of books. There came a time when I said to him I want to write my own material, so no more books for a while please. But, if you write one based on your Life and Teachings of Christ classes, I will do that. [I could not have been serious because I have continued to produce books for Des.] Two years later, Des said to me, I have worked out how to write that book on Jesus. Much later, I think, Ritchie Way had Jesus Only translated and printed for an audience in Ukraine. I hope it has helped many since Russia has infiltrated their borders. Later again, somebody gave Ritchie a large donation to publish a book about Jesus in simple English for the South Pacific Islanders living in New Zealand. So Ritchie, already busy with many writing projects, simplified Jesus Only. Later, under Eli's direction, this little book has been translated into a number of languages and has been very welcome in Africa in particular. It brings the tears to my eyes that Jesus Only has been such a blessing to so many. May the Lord bless Jackie. We are all paralyzed and unable to do much, but the difference is most of us do not know it. Because of her infirmity and her constant dance with death, she has seen the importance of the love of God for lost sinners. Because of it we shall live forever with him.
Jan 23, 2015
This is a letter from Des to Jackie, after he read her story. It is being translated and delivered to her... My dear sister in Christ--Jackie I have just read your letter. It has lifted me heavenwards and I thank you for it and I praise God for it. Christ has had his eye on you from the moment of your birth. He always intended to make you his missionary. And how wonderfully you have done it! We marvel and are amazed and lifted up with joy and gratitude. The devil will attack you to try and close your mouth but Jesus is stronger than the devil and he is always at your side, always at your pillow. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is your strength as well as your righteousness Yes, we will walk together the streets of the New Jerusalem. And the time may not be far away. Our prayers ascend for you. Our love we give you and our thanks. Always your friend and brother Desmond Ford Romans 8:28-39