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Child kidnapper finds Jesus from victim’s ministry 20 years later

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Christopher Carrier’s journey to Christ and into the ministry began as he stepped off a school bus in 1974. Until then, the then 10-year-old boy had been living an ideal life in suburban Miami, Fla.

The next stop in Carrier’s journey was a place some people might consider too traumatic to recall. But Carrier doesn’t mind returning to that place and taking those who hear his story with him.

“I never turn down an opportunity to tell what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for me,” Carrier said.

In 1974, Carrier was being raised in a church-going home by Christian parents.

“I was what people traditionally call a good young Christian boy,” Carrier said. “But I was doing it in the motions and not in my heart.”

Carrier’s life changed forever 5 days before Christmas Day 1974. As Carrier hopped off the school bus, a stranger approached him claiming to be a friend of Carrier’s father. The man said he wanted to buy a gift for Carrier’s father and needed the boy’s help. Carrier went along with the man climbing aboard a motor home parked up the street.

Their journey didn’t end at a local store. Instead, the motor home found its way into a remote area of open fields. The man stopped driving and claimed to be lost. He asked Carrier to look at a map and help them find their way back to town.

It was then that Carrier felt sharp pains in his back. He looked back to see the stranger glaring at him and holding an ice pick. During a struggle the man stabbed Carrier a few more times, then stopped.

The stranger got back behind the wheel and began driving down Interstate 75. The man kept muttering about Carrier’s father and how he had caused him trouble. The man turned down a dirt road and stopped again. Carrier got out of the motor home, and moments later the stranger shot him in the left temple and left him for dead in the alligator-infested Florida Everglades.

Carrier was missing for 6 days, lying seemingly lifeless in the Everglades. A passing driver eventually found him on the side of the road the day after Christmas. The shot to the head had left him blind in his left eye.

Carrier was never able to identify his attacker. Police had a list of suspects, but without a positive identification from Carrier, they could not make an arrest.

The attacker continued to walk the streets as a free man, but police made sure he wouldn’t get to Carrier again.

“There were officers who for months worked a shift just parked out in front of my house,” Carrier said.

Despite the police protection, Carrier says he was still empty and without peace.

“In any darkness or around any shadows, I was very fearful,” Carrier said. “I just had no peace at all. So my parents encouraged me to get into church activities with my friends.”

One of those activities was a hayride. Carrier responded to the invitation given at the end of the night and accepted Jesus.

“I was just overwhelmed with emotions and feelings, because I knew I had never really accepted and personally met the Savior,” said Carrier, who was then 13. “It was at that point I understood that miracles could be done again just like we read in the Bible, so I knew I could begin trusting the Lord in all that I did.”

Carrier remained active in the youth group. At 15, he went on a church choir tour and shared the story of the attack for the first time.

“Sharing my story and my testimony helped confirm to me what Paul says in his letter to Philemon, when we share our faith the more we know and understand the Lord’s blessings,” Carrier said.

Carrier continued growing in the Lord as he graduated from high school and went to Mercer College in Georgia. He then felt the call to youth ministry, and he knew Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, was where he needed to go to prepare.

“So many of the pastors and ministers that I knew had gone to Southwestern,” Carrier said. “It was just an easy choice with their reputation for youth ministries programs.”

After graduating from Southwestern in 1994, Carrier returned to Florida with his family where he served as youth minister at a church in is hometown of Coral Gables.

In 1996 Carrier got a call from a detective who had worked his case more than 20 years earlier. The detective called to let Carrier know that a feeble man living in a Miami nursing home had confessed to attacking and kidnapping Carrier. The stranger from two decades ago was named David McAllister.

McAllister had been a suspect in the case all along. He was a nurse hired by Carrier’s father to care for an elderly uncle. Carrier’s father caught him drinking on the job and promptly fired him.

Carrier was confused as a flood of emotions swept over him. But he says the right choice was clear for him and his family.

“We wanted to offer him hope,” Carrier said. “It wasn’t really about closure. It was about grace and mercy, but not justice or closure.”

Carrier went to the nursing home and found a mere shell of the man he remembered. Blind and frail, McAllister, then 77, was motionless as Carrier approached him.

“He weighed about 60 pounds,” Carrier said. “Here was a man who had smoked and drank his whole life away. He went from being a real tough guy to completely humbled.”

Carrier introduced himself, but McAllister denied knowing anything about the kidnapping. As Carrier told him more about his life and how the attack had affected him, the old man softened and apologized.

“I told him what Joseph told his brothers in the Old Testament,” Carrier said. “What he meant for evil God had turned into a wonderful blessing. He probably thought I wanted him dead or brought to justice, but I wanted to talk to him about the good the event had led to.”

Over the next few weeks Carrier along with his wife and children went to visit McAllister often. They noticed changes in McAllister each time they saw him.

“This was a man who was hard and callused, but he started to smile and he was in good spirits,” Carrier said. “We saw the Lord restore life to a man and make him new.”

Carrier continued to share how the Lord had worked in his life since the attack. One Sunday morning Carrier asked McAllister the most important question.

“I asked him if he wanted to know the Lord,” Carrier said.

McAllister accepted Christ that morning. Shortly after coming to the Lord and after 3 and 1/2 weeks of almost daily visits from Carrier, McAllister died in his sleep.

Since then, Carrier has left Florida. He and his family are back in Texas where he serves as assistant director of student activities at San Marcos Christian Academy. As a youth minister-like figure there, he often finds himself telling his story to students. He’s also told his story to national television audiences on shows ranging from “Oprah” to “The 700 Club.”

But it’s not told as a story of regret or fear. For Carrier, it’s a story that speaks of the Lord’s grace, mercy and forgiveness, as well as his many blessings through events most people may never understand.

“The way our justice system would try to heal and rehabilitate a man, I saw the Lord give that back along with so much more to David McAllister,” Carrier said. “I can’t wait to see him again someday.”
Adam Myrick is a student writer for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

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