|Articles in the Miami Herald told the story of Chris Carrier's kidnapping and assault in 1974_
San Marcos teacher learned to forgive through his own trauma
___By George Henson
___SAN MARCOS--Chris Carrier sees a lot of similarities between his life and that of the Old Testament patriarch Joseph.
___"Both of us went through some things we never would have chosen, but God worked them out for good in ways we never could have imagined," he said.
___Like Joseph, Carrier has an amazing story to tell.
___And like the Joseph story, "it's not so much my story as it is the story of God's provision," he explained.
___The way God wo
rked in Carrier's life is so amazing he has had the opportunity to tell it many times, including on the "Oprah" and "Sally Jesse Raphael" talk shows.
|Chris Carrier, a teacher at San Marcos Baptist Academy, has talked about his life story and his Christian faith on television programs such as "Oprah" and "Sally Jesse Raphael."
___He also has told the story in smaller, more intimate settings, like his classroom at San Marcos Baptist Academy, where he is an instructor and assistant director of student activities.
___Whether told from a television sound stage, his classroom or a church pulpit, Carrier's listeners are always left with a sense of awe as they hear a story only God could have authored.
___On Dec. 20, 1974, Chris Carrier was an excited fifth-grade boy. He had been released at noon for the Christmas holidays. Even these few days before Christmas, the Coral Gables, Fla., sunshine had warmed things up enough that he was carrying his blue windbreaker.
___The school bus had dropped him at the corner, and he approached his house in the middle of the block as carefree as any boy could be. He looked up to see a man approaching him. The man was smiling and seemed very friendly as he said, "You must be Hugh Carrier's boy; you look just like him."
___Carrier remembers feeling proud that the man could see the resemblance to his father, and as they talked, the man referred to his mother by her nickname used only by family and friends.
___"He told me he was giving a party for my father and asked if I wanted to help him decorate," Carrier recalled.
___He walked with the man to a nearby youth center where his motor home was parked, and they began traveling north out of Miami into a rural area.
___After awhile, Carrier realized he recognized fewer landmarks and was growing concerned when the man said he thought he had missed a turn and pulled onto a side road and took out a map.
___The fifth-grader was handed the map and told a road to look for.
___"He told me a road to look for and said he needed to get something from the back of the motor home," Carrier recalled. "I was looking for the road, not the least bit afraid, when I felt this sharp pain, like a you feel from a shot in the doctor's office or a bee sting, in my left shoulder. It was sharp, but it didn't last long. I turned to see if I could see a bee or anything behind me, and he was standing there holding the ice pick he had just stabbed me with."
___The man pulled Carrier from the seat and dropped him into the floor of the motor home and started stabbing him in the chest with the ice pick.
___"Being brought up in the church, I remember praying, 'Father, forgive him, he doesn't know what he's doing.' Then I started asking him, 'Why are you doing this? You're my father's friend.'"
___He tried to protect his chest with his arms, but the man kept pulling them away from his body and stabbing him more. Then the assault suddenly stopped, and the attacker said he was going to take Carrier somewhere and call his father to come get him.
___"I remember not really being afraid," he said. "He was talking real nice again. The pain from the stab wounds was virtually nil, and the bleeding was virtually nil. I was thinking this was almost over and I was going to be seeing my dad soon."
___Doctors later would discover that none of the wounds was more than half an inch deep, something for which Carrier gives God complete credit.
___"There's really no other explanation," he said. "A full-grown man ought to be able to kill a small boy with an ice pick. For the wounds not to have gone deeper, either he hesitated or the Lord stopped him."
___The man drove him to Turner River Road, a wide caliche roadway in a sparsely populated area. It was about dusk as the man told the boy they had reached the spot.
___"He was very cordial as he said, 'This is where your dad will come and get you,'" Carrier recalled.
___They walked a little way from the road to a property-line fence post.
___"In my mind, it was the best possible situation. He was going to let me go, and my father was going to be coming soon. I was happy," he said.
___The man then caught Carrier looking the other way, put a small revolver against his temple, pulled the trigger and left the boy for dead.
___The bullet went in behind the left eye and exited out the right side through Carrier's forehead, severing the optic nerve of the left eye.
___That was dusk on Dec. 20, the same day Carrier had been abducted.
___Six days later, on the afternoon of Dec. 26, Carrier's father went before the family. A successful lawyer, he told the family the $10,000 reward he had offered and all the favors he had called in from law enforcement agencies to put more personnel on the case of his missing son had been fruitless.
___His best had not been enough to bring his son home, he explained. Only God could do that. He then cried out to God and said, "I've done all I can do; now it's up to you."
___About two hours later, Carrier awoke from six days of slumber.
___"Under the canopy of God's grace, I
had lived for six days in the Everglades without shelter from the elements or the many wild animals there," Carrier said.
___He also awoke without fear. He said he never saw a gun and doesn't remember ever hearing a sound. He awoke about dusk, the same time he had been shot.
___"I thought I had fallen asleep for a short nap and I had better get out by the road because my dad was going to be there soon to pick me up," he recalled.
___In the remote area, he might have sat on the rock next to the road for days before anyone came by, but a man on a hunting trip with his two children soon came by in his pickup truck.
___"He saw this little boy with two black eyes, bloody clothes and a little disoriented sitting by the road, so he stopped. He took me to his hunting trailer and fed me some soup and called the sheriff's office," Carrier said.
___A happy reunion and days in the hospital followed. It wasn't until two days after he was found, however, that doctors realized he had been shot.
___His hair covered both the entrance and exit wounds. And like the ice pick wounds, there was little blood. His face was bruised and swollen, so doctors thought he had been beaten, not shot. It was only as they tried to discover why he couldn't see that they did a diagnostic test that revealed the path of the bullet through the boy's head, newspaper accounts from the time bear out.
___While he had not been frightened through much of the ordeal, fear eventually did become a part of Carrier's life.
___"My security in this world was shattered," he said. "Somebody out there wanted me dead, and I didn't know why, and I didn't know who."
___A few weeks later, a police sketch artist was called in and drew a man's face from Carrier's description. Immediately his father and uncle identified the man as someone they had hired to care for a great-uncle who had suffered a stroke. They had fired the man six months earlier.
___Police went to David McAllister's home and found a motor home and a gun of the caliber used to shoot Carrier.
___But forensics of that era were unable to give police the evidence necessary for a conviction, and Carrier was not able to make a positive identification. Police were certain McAllister was the culprit, but they lacked the evidence to take him to trial.
___While the trauma stayed with Carrier for a few years, the incident gradually faded to the background of his life.
___Twenty-two years later, however, that changed when a police officer who had worked the case saw McAllister lying in a bed in a nursing home. He was bed-ridden and blinded by glaucoma.
___The police officer told McAllister he was no longer in danger of punishment and encouraged him to confess to the crime so the family could have closure. Eventually, McAllister did confess that he was the man who had kidnapped Carrier, stabbed him and shot him.
___Carrier was called and asked if he wanted to see the man. He said he certainly did.
___"I think the policeman who called thought it was going to be some painful confrontation where I could tell him off or take a swing at him," he said. "But I had forgiven him years before."
___At the time, Carrier's wife was in Texas preparing to move the family to San Marcos from Florida. So he took a friend with him.
___"On the way over, he said, 'It will be easy to say you forgive him, but it won't make a big difference in his life unless he says he's sorry,'" Carrier recalled.
___They entered the man's room and without identifying himself, Carrier told McAllister he understood he had confessed to hurting a boy a long time ago. He asked McAllister if he wanted to talk about it.
___"He said: 'No. I didn't say anything, and I didn't confess to anything.' I was crushed. I had prepared to forgive this man, and now he was saying he hadn't done anything."
___Carrier's friend asked the man seemingly innocuous questions about his history with the Carrier family, until he got around to asking about the man's experience with the boy.
___McAllister started weeping and again admitted his crime.
___Only then did Carrier identify himself as the boy who had been kidnapped.
___Over the next six days, Carrier visited McAllister five times.
___"I told him that I forgave him and all there was between us now was a newfound friendship," Carrier said. "I also told him that I had a relationship with Jesus Christ and that I wanted our friendship to extend beyond this life.
___"I also tried to do what it says in 1 Peter 4--give him an account for the hope in my life. I let him know he had not robbed me of anything and he did not need to carry around a load of guilt. I had graduated from high school, college and seminary, was married and had two daughters and loved my life," Carrier said.
___Carrier also made sure McAllister had time to talk about his life. After they built their friendship, Carrier introduced his kidnapper, the man who stabbed and shot him, to Jesus Christ.
___Three weeks after McAllister accepted Christ as Savior, he died.
___"I cannot explain with adequate words the change in that man who had been a prisoner to his memories," Carrier said. "Some say, 'How awful that he didn't spend a day in prison.' I say he suffered far worse. The Lord was slow-cooking him, tenderizing him until he was ready to hear my testimony."
___Many also find it hard to believe Carrier was able to forgive McAllister.
___"This experience left me with a choice: Do I look at myself as a victim of a tragic set of circumstances that has left me physically scarred and emotionally changed, or do I look at myself as the receiver of blessings beyond belief? I should have been killed by David McAllister when he stabbed me many times with an ice pick. I should have been killed when I was shot in the head at point-blank range. If I was not killed immediately, I should have bled to death in the six days I lay there. It was December. I had no shelter. The elements could have killed me, if not the wild animals in the area.
___"I choose to consider myself the receiver of miracles and blessings," Carrier said. "By the grace of God, David McAllister failed, but Christ died on the cross and was victorious for all time. Because of that victory, I can forgive."
___That does not mean Carrier is perfect at forgiving, he said. But he does believe his experiences have helped him.
___"I wouldn't say I never struggle with being forgiving," he confessed. "I get as upset as the next guy when I get cut off in traffic. But it has given me a calm with the bigger issues in life."
___It also helps with his students.
___"It gives me a passive nature with the students. It's easier for me to look beyond the surface things and see what is lying beneath. It's also made me a better encourager. Some students may not want to be here, but I can tell them to try to be patient as God works out his plan in their life."
___Although Carrier was able to show his kidnapper the way to salvation, he doesn't believe he has fulfilled his purpose in this life.
___"While I think a lot of that purpose was in being a tool to share the gospel with David McAllister," he said, "I would hope a lot of that purpose is still being lived out in an ongoing ministry to help kids deal with anger and situations they don't understand."
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