The Gift of New Life
My son might be dead. He should be dead. At the very least, paralyzed.Those thoughts raced through Virgilio Maldonado’s mind as he dug through the big pile of bricks covering 10-year-old Denis. Frantically tossing rubble aside in the sweltering Honduran heat, Virgilio began to pray as he never had before.Denis had been playing in the basement of his family’s new home, overlooking an idyllic valley in Barrio Santa Maria, Honduras. Virgilio and his wife hoped to raise their three youngest children there. But their dreams soon turned from the future to wondering if their son would even survive the day.Denis was passing by a freshly constructed wall, about 20 feet high, when it toppled over, burying the young boy under the heavy clay and concrete.
After his father freed him, Denis was rushed to a clinic 20 minutes away in Siguatapeque. He was stabilized, and transferred to a larger hospital in Tegucigalpa, another two hours from the family’s home.
Denis was in a coma, in critical condition. The doctors did not expect him to live.
The Maldonados asked their church to pray. Pastor Abraham Murillo and members of Iglesia Reformada in Siguatapeque faithfully started a prayer chain, and soon several churches in the region were crying out to the Lord to save Denis’ life.One day, as his parents kept vigil by the hospital bed, Virgilio’s sister called. Virgilio asked her to pray and held the phone to the boy’s ear. Suddenly, as she prayed, Denis opened his eyes for the first time in 15 days.
“He is a miracle,” Pastor Murillo said. “His life is a miracle.”
Still, Denis had a long road of healing ahead of him. He had fractured his skull and several bones in his leg, and he had to learn to walk and talk again.
He was several weeks into his long hospital stay when Pastor Murillo came to visit one day. Denis had missed a special event at the church. Iglesia Reformada had distributed shoebox gifts from Operation Christmas Child, the Samaritan’s Purse ministry that delivers good news and great joy to children around the world. Pastor Murillo saved one especially for Denis.
In his box, Denis received crayons, a stuffed dog, a toothbrush, and other fun and useful presents.
“Also, they gave me a little book and in that little book I read the Good News [of Jesus Christ],” Denis said.
Pastor Murillo explained that God also sent another gift for everyone –salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. The shoebox was a representation of that free gift.
Denis had learned about Jesus before, but as the pastor shared with him about the gift of salvation and read him the Gospel booklet that is delivered with shoebox gifts, the words came to life for the boy. “Then, I knew that God is a big God, and understood what he wants for me through Jesus Christ,” Denis said. “I prayed for salvation and I opened my heart to Jesus. I know that Jesus came to my heart, and I felt so happy, and so much better because now I was saved.”
Denis said before his accident, he was lost. After understanding the story of salvation through the help of his shoebox and the Operation Christmas Child ministry partner who delivered it, he now calls Jesus his Lord.
Nearly three years after his accident, he walks with a barely noticeable limp. His doctors say he is fully healed, but Denis knows his healing was more than physical. It was also spiritual.
“Now I have Jesus in my heart,” he said. “I want to keep serving God because now I am a new person. I know that God made a miracle in my life and I am His son.”
Article from samaritanspurse.org. Used by permission.