It was February 24, 2009, when Canadian missionary Sue Ambrose heard the sound of someone running up behind her. She turned and saw a madman coming at her with an upraised machete.
She remembers screaming “No” and the crazed man yelling “Yeah, you” then the blade deflected off her skull, chipping bone, and slicing off skin and hair.
Stunned Sue fell to the ground, but continued to fight back. When the man thrust the large knife into her hip, she grabbed the blade to stop him from striking her again severing several tendons in her hand.
From Salmon Arm, BC, Sue and her husband Mark serve as Wycliffe missionaries in Papua, New Guinea. She was returning to the missionary compound after buying food at the local market for the students at the Bible and literacy school where she and her husband minister.
She used these walks as a time of meditative prayer and that morning she was contemplating a verse she had spoken to people about that morning: “Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
In an interview with Wycliffe magazine, Word Alive, Sue recounts the odd thought that came to her mind as she fought with the man. She remembered Wycliffe missionary Edmund Fabian who was martyred in a similar attack years earlier.
Sue wondered if it was now her time to go to the Lord.
However, several construction workers working nearby, hearing the screams. rushed to Sue’s aid and pulled off the man before he could kill her. They rushed Sue to a nearby clinic, where medical staff stabilized her and had her flown to a hospital in Australia to care for the large knife wound that nearly severed an artery.
But it was while she was convalescing at the hospital that Sue received a revelation of what had really taken place:
“God gave me a very clear vision of this angel. Not a fluffy angel, but a big warrior kind of guy that was eight to 10 feet tall with his sword raised, saying, ‘No, that is enough! I am not going to let you kill her.’
And that really opened my eyes to the whole spiritual realm; that this man was part of Satan’s attack on us, on the training centre and on the work of SIL … and this angel stood beside me saying that he was God’s warrior and [was] here to do God’s work, and this attack wasn’t going to happen.”
After understanding the spiritual nature of this assault, Sue knew it was intended to cause fear among Wycliffe workers and the people they were ministering too.
Two and a half weeks later she was back in New Guinea choosing not to let fear and intimidation control her life. Her return sparked a mini revival among the groups of people she and her husband ministered including prayer meetings and unity among the different tribal groups.
It was Sue’s courage that defeated Satan (Revelation 12:11).
Satan doesn’t have to kill us, when fear and intimidation work equally well. It causes us to pull back and stops us from accomplishing what God called us to do.
16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16 NASV)
These are the words the prophet Elisha spoke to his servant after their home was surrounded by a commando unit the King of Aram dispatched to take out the prophet Elisha.
Fear was the real enemy, not the soldiers.
Elisha then prayed and asked God to open the eyes of his servant:
And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:17 NASV)
Elisha understood the spiritual nature of the physical conflict. He also understood the spiritual resources available to him.
It was this revelation that helped Elisha conquer our real enemy — fear.
- ‘Let fear not rule” — Word Alive: Wycliffe