Give Thanks in All Circumstances

Testimony of Somchai Sukumpantanasarn,
the survivor of deadly stab wounds

Compiled by Vachiravan Vanlaeiad

I was born into a Christian family. I am married with two daughters and one son. We are all members of Maitrichit Church (which is the world’s first Overseas Chinese Baptist Church, established in 1837 and located in Chinatown, Bangkok). Presently, not only owning a small business selling dentistry equipment, I also serve God at the church as a deacon in music ministry as well as taking part in various mission works and Christian international conferences.

However, being born and growing in a Christian family has not always granted one to really know and experience God. This is also true in my case. Thank God that I had the chance to further my university study in the US since I was 18 years old. Living and struggling to survive in the States had made me genuinely see and experience the greatness of God since I had no friends, relatives, or even acquaintances there. God had been my sole supporter and resources. I was provided with a job about 2 weeks after arriving. After graduation from a university I had worked there until I was 36 years of age when my mother asked me to return to Thailand since my father’s health was poor. Then, after living, studying and working in the US for 18 years, I had come home to help in the family business and start my own family.

On Friday, 29 August 2008, I had confronted with the worst and most memorable event in my life. This event had also made me realize and highly appreciate the grace of our great God.

My residence then was a seven-unit shop-house building, with some parts of the upper-floor area being partitioned and converted into rooms for rent. One day there was a potential tenant coming and expressing his desire to rent one of the rooms. I had shown him some rooms and he told me he would come back tomorrow to give me the deposit. That day, there was nothing unusual about this man’s appearance.

Then on 29 August, that man came back again; I was busy so my wife went to see him instead. However, he insisted that he see me and told her that there was something broken down or damaged which must be repaired by me before he moved in. Since I was busy, I quickly walked up to the 4th floor on which the room was situated. It was around 5-6 pm so the place was very quiet because other tenants had not come back from work yet.

Then all of a sudden, the moment I turned my back on him to see the area at one of the room’s corners which that man had pointed out the damage to me, he took out some sharp object and used it to slash my neck. This was done so fast that I could not see that object which turn out to be a long knife. Praise the Lord that I could narrowly dodge the knife and tried to cry loudly for help since I knew there were some people on the second floor. When I made my first cry, he had thrust his sharp knife into my mouth in order to silence me; however, I used my teeth to bite its blade, stopping the knife to go deeper. Shortly after this my body was miraculously freed from his tightly locked arms, I then cried out for help for the second time. At that time I could come out of the room, my cry thus could be heard by the people living on the lower floors and they came running upstairs to help me. At that moment that man had pounded his knife down on my body repeatedly, stabbing me in the left side first and then all through the whole body, eventually inflicting 6-7 wounds. And one stab was made through my left lung. When he saw that I did not collapse and somebody was coming up to rescue me, he fled. While he was trying to flee downstairs, leaving my huge amount of cash and gold necklace along the way; I was also struggling to drag myself downstairs for someone to take me to hospital.

When I reached the first floor, I saw all my children having their dinner at table. They were shocked seeing me soaking in blood (I was wearing a white shirt which had turned to a red one!). My wife then took me to the roadside to call a taxi. Praise God that at that instance, there was a man riding a motorcycle belonging to Ruamkatanyu Foundation, which equipped with a radio communication machine, and rapidly coming toward us, asking, “Is there anything I can do for you?” And upon seeing blood-soaking me, he used the radio to quickly call one of the Foundation’s vans running along the road not far from us (about 2 bus-stop distance). Within 2 minutes the van took me to Lerdsin Hospital. I had to give thanks to God one more time since that day all hospitals in Bangkok had been ordered to be ready for actions because there was a big rally organized by the Red Shirt Group. This preparedness included all groups of blood being ready in full stock for emergency use. Everything seemed to be prepared in advance for me: blood group AB (which was usually rare), medical personnel as well as equipment, etc. This made me think that my seemingly bad luck was actually allowed by God and He was taking very good care of me!

However, I had lost a large amount of blood and the doctor had to take 3 hours to do the stitches on my body. Despite being able to dodge the knife, the wound on my throat was 18-centimeter long (according to the doctor’s report), and the wound was so deep that a hand could be put into it! Moreover there were also wounds in my mouth and on my body, thus making altogether 40-50 stitches.

During my ICU admission, I was medicated with morphine to suppress my pains, causing me to feel blurred. The nurses had to wake me up all the time for me to practice breathing by myself (since every time I fell asleep, the respirator would do the breathing for me). Even though I was stabbed in my left lung, I had used the respirator for less than 24 hours and been in the ICU for only 2 days. Everyone was astonished at my very quick recovery: having been admitted on Friday’s evening, however, on Monday I could walk out of the ICU and have my usual meals. This was God’s miracle. I had never had pains except numbness since some stabs had cut through my nerves. Although my jugular vein was cut, I was rapidly healed and had never used any pain killers. I thought that maybe the knife was so sharp that it had inflicted wounds without rendering contusion to them. My case was so miraculous that all the nurses had asked me whether I wore any sacred charms or amulets; I only told them that I was a Christian! At this, I clearly and assuredly understood why I had to be in the hospital: bearing living testimony to our great miracle-working God.

Many Christians may wonder why our Merciful and Loving God has allowed these sufferings and pains. But I thank God in every circumstance. In my life I had fairly been in hardships so no matter how serious or severe my crises were; I could always render my thanks to God. While others have tried to find some solutions to the misfortunes occurred to them; however for me, I think God has possibly used various events in my life to manifest His greatness, not only to me but also to others. Since only 15 minutes after that horrifying event, Christians all over the world had started to pray for me because my name and predicament was sent throughout the earth via the internet. And after that event, many well-wishers had advised me to move to the other places or even to move my family back to the States. Of course, I could do that since I have both nationalities: Thai and US. Anyway I had a second thought: God had already taken very good care of me so how could I not place my confidence and trust in Him? What shall I fear? I therefore made the decision to stay where I was and to do the things I used to do. I had told myself repeatedly that my God was great and I must not fear anything.

As the survivor of this terrifying and deadly incident, I had been experienced with the grace and great love of God. As a result, the Bible verse: “…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 4:18) has always been on my mind and is my most favorite while the second one is, “…Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19). I have submitted the man who had badly hurt me to God because I have to go ahead in life. And I have prayed for God to forgive all my sins, both intentionally and unintentionally, which might cause this misfortune to me. Also prayed for forgiveness from God for my attacker. And finally prayed for God to have mercy on both his life and my life, and to lead me further on in His path.

One more thing I want to thank God: I have never felt ashamed, depressed, or bitter every time seeing ugly scars on my body (which results from the attacks). It is as if God had already and completely deleted my memory of the ordeal happened on that day. And He has also granted me to live my life peacefully and thankfully as well as being a living testimony since. Therefore, I can tell and invite the whole wide world, both Christians and non-Christians alike, to come and taste that our Lord is good and He still exists!

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