I’ve been reading this week about the true story of Juan Tomaylla (‘Tried by Fire’, ISBN in the UK 1-85424-638-0 or ISBN in USA 0-8254-6236-3). Juan was a humble Christian taxi driver in Peru and on 10 July 1993 he was falsely imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. For the first two days he was given nothing to eat. Later, he was beaten and kicked all over his body. He says that the punches and blows were continuous but after a few minutes he said, “I am a believer in Jesus Christ; I’m a Christian; I am not a terrorist and what you are doing to me is unjust. We have a just God and it is he who will bring justice.”
During the months of imprisonment without any opportunity to defend himself, Juan was able to share his Christian faith with others in the prison. Together they sang songs of praise to God and encouraged one another. At one point Juan came face to face with a convicted terrorist who had been involved in the killing of a good friend, and God enabled Juan to exercise compassion and forgiveness. For some of his time in prison, Juan occupied a tiny cell for 23½ hours a day. Many people prayed for Juan and in April 1994, after 9 months of false imprisonment he was unconditionally released.