'I'd be dead if it wasn't for God's people'
When pastor Matthew Murray was given three hours to live after contracting malaria, people all over the world started to pray for him. His recovery was nothing short of miraculous, he tells Sharon Barnard
“I thought it was a bad cold or flu at first, so I left it for a couple of weeks before going to the doctor,” admits Matthew, who was in Alabama at the time following a routine missions trip to Kenya.
“The doctor I saw was a Christian medical missionary who told me to go back to him if I felt my symptoms were getting worse. They were.
“I couldn’t walk, I was sweating and shaking and the doctor told me I needed to go to the hospital immediately.
“They thought I had Ebola and was put into quarantine until it was ruled out.
“For three days I was slipping in and out of consciousness. I didn’t know where I was or who I was. I was fighting for my life.”
Matthew had contracted the most severe form of malaria on a visit to King’s Children’s Home and School in Bumala B, Kenya as part of One By One, the humanitarian aid ministry that he and his wife Becky run together.
With half of his bloodstream filled with the deadly parasite and his major organs shutting down, Becky was told to prepare for the worst. Doctors warned that her 27-year-old husband could be dead within three hours.
Becky immediately turned to social media to share Matthew’s plight and asked people to pray for him.
“I had no idea what was going on at the time, but thousands of people shared that message among their groups, organisations, churches and networks and started praying for me.
“In a matter of one day the malaria went from my body and my major organs recovered their function.
“I believe I’d be dead if it wasn’t for God’s people,” says the pastor from Uttoxeter.
“I became a talking point in the hospital. Staff kept coming in to shake my hand, admitting that they’d all been saying they thought I was going to die. A nurse gave her life to Jesus.
“One of the doctors said: ‘There is no medical explanation.’ They were utterly astounded.
“When I recovered I discovered some 2,000 Facebook messages from people all over the world saying they had been praying for me. It showed me so much about the power of prayer.
“As a pastor I’ve prayed for people who are not healed. But I still believe God is a healer and I keep on praying.
“The Bible tells us that we only need a tiny amount of faith – as small as a mustard seed. His power is phenomenal and we must never underestimate what he can do.”
Since his brush with death in 2014, the young father has been speaking to churches and groups about his experience.
“When I got out of that hospital I knew that I wanted to make every second count for the living God. You can’t take houses or personal successes to heaven – just people. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing.”
He has also published his story, He Still Heals, to tell more people about what Jesus has done in his life.
“People lack hope in this generation,” says Matthew. “It could be they’ve lost hope because of their marriage problems or fear or worry about things. I want to say that when all’s against you there is hope.
“I never wanted to be accused of marketing a miracle or selling my story, but I knew I had to write this down. All profits will go to our work in Africa and I pray it will be a great blessing to many and give hope to those who have none.”
+ He Still Heals by Matthew Murray is published by New Life Publishing. Find out more about the charity One By One at www.onebyone.net