A Christian woman who was left disfigured by a bombing at St. Peter's Church in Cairo in December 2016 has said that Jesus miraculously kept her alive and continues appearing to her in visions.
Samiha Tawfiq Awad shared in an Open Doors USA piece last week that she and her husband, Qalini, attended the church on the morning of Dec. 11 when radicals detonated a large bomb in the women's section, where she was sitting.
The twin suicide bombings that day at St. Peter and St. Paul's Church in Cairo left 24 Christians dead and 49 injured, with many of the women close to the explosion suffering severe disfigurement to their faces.
Qalini rushed his wife to the hospital, though she was hardly recognizable after the attack, and doctors warned him she might not survive.
Awad not only pulled through, however, but experienced visions of Jesus she says have filled her heart not with anger toward the attackers, but with forgiveness.
"The doctors might've given up on Samiha, but God had another plan!" Qalini exclaimed.
The woman recalled that doctors put her on the list of dead victims right from the beginning.
"The doctors thought it was useless to treat me, so they just came to check on me now and then to see if I was already dead. But I stayed alive," she recalled.
Doctors eventually put her through surgery, and she is alive and well now, even though she is missing half her face.
"I remember that I saw Jesus on the ceiling when I was lying on the ground after the explosion," she said of one of her first visions of Jesus.
Christ kept appearing to her in the hospital as well, she recalled.
"I would have been willing to die for Jesus," Awad said, "but the fact that He kept me alive so miraculously tells me that He wants me to live."
The Christian husband said that forgiving the people who attacked the church and put his wife through so much suffering is not an easy thing, but pointed to Jesus' Words on the Sermon of the Mount, where Christ calls for the forgiveness of enemies.
Awad said that she doesn't have anger for the attackers.
"If I would meet the family of the attacker, the only thing I would ask them is: 'Do you know Jesus?' I pray they will find the right way," she expressed.
Coptic Bishop Anba Angaelos told The Christian Post days after the attack in December 2016 that despite the shock and the tragedy, Christians in Egypt are ready to forgive.
"Historically in Egypt, after everyone of these attacks or similar attacks, of course there has been anger and public outcry, but there hasn't been retaliation or revenge," Angaelos told CP. "That is one thing that we are very thankful for."
Angaelos continued: "We are praying that there is healing in the community. We are ready to and we already have forgiven people for doing this because at the end of the day, a lack of forgiveness harms us more than anyone else. I think that is something that we need to be mindful of as Christians, and I am very proud to say that this is something we have seen Copts doing very naturally and organically for decades."
The attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt have continued in 2018, as Islamic State militants wage a terror campaign targeting believers.