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26 Armed Guards protecting a missionary-Unproven!

The Missionary Who Was Protected By 26 Armed Guards-Unproven!

 
Summary of eRumor: 
A missionary described as being from Overseas Missionary Fellowship is preaching in his home church in Michigan.  He tells about an experience in Africa when he treated an injured man who later confessed that he had been part of a group of men who had wanted to attack and rob the missionary.  The would-be robber says that he and his friends followed the missionary to a place where he was camping for the night but when they approached for their attack, they saw that he was being protected by 26 armed guards.

At that point in the missionary’s presentation, a man in the congregation says that on the exact date that the missionary was protected from the robbers, he felt led to call together a group of men to pray for the missionary.  The man asks for all the men who prayed to stand…and there are 26 of them.
The Truth:
This is one of the most widely circulated stories on the Internet.  We’ve never been able to get close to a first-hand source for it, but there are other, similar stories for which there are sources.
Overseas Missionary Fellowship, which is named in the rumor, says this version about an African missionary is not from among them because they don’t minister in Africa.  They are in East and Southeast Asia.
One of the most widely-circulated versions of this eRumor states that the origin is a man named Steve Huffman.  He’s received requests from all over the world asking for substantiation of the event, but never intended to be regarded as the source for the story.  He was given the story at church and posted it on an email list and it circulated from there.  He says he has no first hand validation for the account.
Here are some of the stories for which there are sources:

… In her book “The Spirits of Mindoro” published in 1988 by Overseas Missionary Fellowship, Catherine Davis talks about a woman who worked in the jungle on Mindoro Island in the 1950’s.  She was sleeping alone in her house one night when she heard men outside talking about killing her.  She prayed for protection and the men suddenly grew quiet, then ran away. The next day a woman from the village said that the men did not carry out their plans because of two large people dressed in white who were standing on each side of the path to the house.

…Dr. Billy Graham relates a story in his book “God’s Secret Agents” about missionary John Paton and his wife in The New Hebrides.  It is said that one night they were surrounded by hostile natives who wanted to kill them.  They prayed through the night for protection and at daylight, saw that the attackers were leaving.  A year later, the chief of the tribe of the attackers became a Christian and Paton asked him about the night of the attack and why nothing had happened.  The chief was surprised and said it was because of all the men who were there protecting them, hundreds of them in shining garments and with drawn swords.
Variations:
…The missionary is speaking at his home church in Michigan.
…The missionary hears of a planned attack on a village by bandits and gathers everybody in a school building for safety.  The bandits approach the school, but then turn away because they see guards with fiery swords protecting the school.