It’s difficult not to notice the unusually shaped stomach of Thankappan, a cab driver from South Asia. As it turns out, there’s an interesting story behind it—one that he does not hesitate to share with those who don’t know Christ.
Thankappan was a Hindu fanatic who had an intense dislike for Christians. He would gather crowds near Hindu temples to argue with Christians who were evangelizing in the area. His passionate defense of Hinduism even caused him one time to slap a Christian who argued with him, according to Bibles for Mideast.
As part of an “anti-Christian” movement, he would openly speak against and debate with the followers of Christ, going so far as to burn a Christian leaflet right in front of someone who was talking about the love of God with other people.
But God had a plan for his life.
While driving his cab one day, Thankappan passed by a street corner where a gospel meeting was being held. When he saw a former Muslim and a former Hindu among those in the meeting, he became so angry that he spat at the group through his window.
Unfortunately, he did not see a truck coming his way. It slammed into his car and left him comatose and with serious injuries.
The impact of the accident caused his small and large intestines to spill out of place. Doctors could not put them back, so they placed a “pouch” to hold the intestines together and stitched the wound up. The large pouch inside his skin appeared to hang by his waist, giving his stomach a funny shape.
The medical professionals who tended to Thankappan thought he would never survive and told his family there was not even the slightest hope that he would pull through. He was in a coma for days, and his family simply waited for the time he would die.
They were all unaware that Jesus met with him in a vision while he was in a coma. Thankappan said Jesus touched him and told him he would receive life once more: “I am giving you life again. Confess your sins and become my witness.”
Suddenly, while his family was gathered around his bed, crying and thinking he would die, Thankappan woke up from coma. At that very moment, Pastor Paul, the pastor who was leading the gospel meeting by the street corner that Thankappan spat on, was praying for him.
Pastor Paul heads Bibles for Mideast, an underground ministry that plants churches and distributes Bibles in the Middle East and in other countries that are hostile to the gospel. Most of the volunteers in the ministry are converts, majority of them from the Islam religion.
Pastor Paul himself was a former Muslim who gave his life to Christ. He has been in the ministry for 30 years and has endured great persecution for the sake of the gospel. Just last November, the ministry’s house for women was bombed by militants, leaving two of them seriously injured.
Yet this has not stopped Pastor Paul from spreading the gospel, just like he was doing on that street corner when Thankappan’s cab passed by.
When Thankappan saw Pastor Paul, he was deeply convicted of what he had done, and he wept.
“Pastor, I spat at you. I spat at Jesus Christ. I persecuted the Lord Jesus and His servants. Forgive me. Forgive me. Ask my Lord to forgive me,” he said.
God completely healed Thankappan from his injuries. The doctors were amazed at his surprising and unexpected recovery and cried out that it was “a great miracle.”
Thankappan soon joined Pastor Paul in witnessing for Christ. Holding his Bible with one hand, he uses his other hand to show his stomach to people and tell them how God rescued him in spite of the wicked things he did against the Christians.
“I was an enemy of Christians, but Jesus Christ loved me, made me alive and saved me from sin and death. Now I am His servant,” he would say. “I was persecuting Christians; but Lord Jesus showed me how He mightily fighting for His children. And I am a clear example for that.”
His wife has also surrendered her life to Christ, and together they testify about God’s love through Jesus.