Bill Purvis found Jesus in the midst of his darkest hour. Clinging to a light pole and choking on blood, he was convinced that he was dying.
So, he called out to God and made a decision that forever changed the trajectory of his life.
Purvis, who decades after his harrowing survival is now pastor of Cascade Hills Church in Columbus, Georgia, recently told The Church Boys podcast about the death-defying knife attack that changed absolutely everything.
It all started when he was 17 years old and noticed a woman on the side of the road who he assumed was a prostitute; he subsequently attempted to hire her — an act that he said came after years of a troubled childhood that was colored by drinking and drugs.
What Purvis didn't know at the time, though, was that the so-called pimp he was working with to close the deal was actually the woman's husband, and that the entire ordeal was allegedly orchestrated so that the man and his wife could set up, rob and kill their victims.
Listen to Purvis' harrowing ordeal at the 56:00-mark below:
What culminated in the encounter was a dramatic, near-death scene, which unfolded after Purvis, then a teen, picked up the faux pimp and prostitute while driving around with a friend.
"The pimp's talking to me ... we all negotiate," the pastor told The Church Boys podcast. "We drive up to a house a couple blocks away and I leave [the pimp] and the friend of mine in the car, and the lady and I go up to the house."
When he got inside, Purvis said that he noticed a bed on the right side and a single light hanging from the ceiling. After the woman undressed, he followed. Then, she turned the light off — and that's when chaos ensued.
"I realize somebody's moving around and it doesn't sound like its coming from where she is," Purvis recounted. "As I stand up, she turns the light back on ... and to my horror ... [the so-called pimp] right there in front of me."
And in the man's hand was a nine-and-a-half inch butcher knife. It was later during court proceedings that Purvis said he learned that the woman had reportedly used the light as a sign to tell her husband when to enter the house to commit the robbery (police had later caught the accused).
"I promise you, the words out of his lips were so calm, they were just chilling," Purvis said. "He said, 'Now, you're going to die.' Before I knew it, he swung that knife, it went into my chest. It went an 8th of an inch below my heart and came out my back."
Purvis said that the man quickly pulled the knife out and swung again, this time cutting into his throat and completely severing his jugular vein. A struggle ensued before the man allegedly stabbed Purvis a third time — this time in the liver.
"I had been stabbed in three fatal places in a matter of seconds," the pastor explained, noting that he was able to escape the home and stumbled outside. "I staggered about 30 more feet, fell on a light pole out there, just grabbed it and was holding on."
In those dramatic, near-death moments Purvis said that he recalled something that he was told a few weeks earlier.
"Two weeks before that day, the craziest thing of all ... a friend had gone to a church and somebody said, 'Go tell everybody you know that doesn't know God ... go tell them about God,'" he recounted.
The friend did just that, appearing at Purvis' door one day before the attack and telling him that everything he was looking for in life "can be found in Jesus." At the time, it seemed like a strange proposition, but as Purvis lay drenched in his own blood, those words came flooding back.
"That night, when I staggered out to that light post, choking on my own blood — as I knelt there — I heard those words," Purvis said, explaining that he asked the Lord for forgiveness. "I had never been to church, I had never read a Bible ... that night, laying there, holding onto that pole, I cried out ... 'Jesus come into my life, save me.'"
After being rushed to a hospital moments later, Purvis miraculously survived. The situation — and his decision to commit his life to God — forever changed his trajectory.
He went on to become the pastor at Cascade Hills Church, growing his congregation from just 32 members to over 8,000 over the past 33 years. And he recently released a book about his attack titled, "Make a Break for It."
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