Chapter 1 – A Petite Giant Killer
We can do all things through Him [Jesus,]
who strengthens me, Philippians 4: 15
The children of Israel were dealing with a flesh and blood enemy Goliath whose size alone struck fear into the hearts of experienced adult warriors, 1 Samuel 17. The men turned and fled in fear. King David, yet a youth at that time, heard the boasting of the enemy. His faith in God led him to ask the men around him what gifts would he receive if he slew the giant. The men mocked and taunted David, including his own family. When Goliath saw David, he also scorned him because of his youth and size.
However, it is written that David knew and trusted Yahovah, our heavenly father and God. Goliath told David come on so I can kill you. David said I’m coming but I am coming in the name of the Lord whom you have insulted. David ran towards the enemy and killed him with a stone.
It wasn’t the stone. It was David’s faith in God that gave him the victory.
Pilar Garcia’s story is reminiscent of a current day David fighting Goliath. Standing a mere 4’ 11”, her battle against death, her spiritual Goliath, has spanned five decades.
Born in Ecuador, Pilar is now 72.
Pilar wanted to be a nun when she was young. She always believed in God because her aunts and uncles were the first missionaries in Ecuador. They often took her with them on their missions. However, her life would run a different course.
At the age of 22, she was on the plane that was kidnapped and taken to Cuba.
“Money was required by the government to be paid before the planes would be released,” Pilar stated. “An additional price was charged for American citizens.”
However, during the initial flight, she sensed something was wrong when she looked out of the window. She knew from previous trips they should have been flying over the mountains to their next destination to catch another plane to the United States. Instead they were flying over the ocean. She asked the stewardess what was going on. She admitted that they had been hijacked. Then, without warning, the man sitting next to Pilar pulled out a gun. He was one of the hijackers. Over the past few years, Pilar said she had heard that some of the hijackers are now living in the United States.
“I tried to find them on Facebook,” Pilar said. “I couldn’t locate them.”
At the time of the hijacking, Pilar was living in the United States, but she often went back to Ecuador for vacation. When the plane landed in Cuba, they were not allowed to leave the airport. She was not yet married. However, she was ready to fight for her freedom.
A devout Catholic from childhood she knew God would protect her. She was 22 at the time. Some of the younger girls, ages 17 to 18, looked to her for strength. They were in Cuba for almost a week. During that time, they did not have a change of clothes. Pilar showed them how to wash their clothes and especially their underwear in the bathroom. One night they heard a strange sound. It was Pilar who opened the door to confront the possible attacker.
She returned home to the United States.
Death tried to sneak up on Pilar again. Although it was her first pregnancy, she kept trying to tell the doctor that something was wrong in her stomach. They insisted that she was simply homesick. She staunchly maintained her position and kept telling them that was not the problem. Her complaint was ignored. The baby was born in March of 1971. However, the pain in her stomach continued for another three months.
“At times it was so bad I felt like I was dying,” Pilar stated.
Her husband kept insisting that she needed to go to Ecuador to see a doctor. She prepared to leave but she was so sick that she felt she was not going to make it. Then out of the blue, one of the doctors called her and asked her to come to the hospital right away.
“I was in so much pain that the mere touch of the sheets over my body hurt,” Pilar said.
They took her to surgery and opened her up. But then told her that there was nothing they could do. In their opinion, she was going to die after they informed her what was wrong with her stomach.
Her stomach was full of pus. They could not even decide what to do because of the extent of the infection. The doctors gave her 24 hours to live. Pilar said about 40 doctors from teaching colleges came to see her and study her body because they could not figure out why she was still alive. They admitted that they had never seen this type of infection. They said it was a form of gangrene and had spread throughout her entire body. They hooked her up to tubes to drain the infection. Ten 5-gallon bottles later, they still could not figure out what it was or what had caused this type of infection. Pilar said it was the color of yellow egg yolks. She was in the hospital for three months because her gallbladder had also become infected. Every day, for about three months, the doctors would come into her hospital room and tell her that she had perhaps one more day to live.
“I prayed continually and asked God to heal me because I had a new daughter to raise,” Pilar calmly stated.
In other words, she did not pray just for herself so she could just live. She knew the importance of raising her daughter. My ears have heard many testimonies from women over the years. And many are yet so traumatized by the past, they can barely talk. Pilar’s Faith in God was so deep that she might as well have been talking about a kitchen recipe.
A second surgery was performed. The infection was still in her body but not as bad. The tubes, that had been draining the infection, had been in her for such an extended length of time that it hurt to pull them out.
Pilar was told not to have any more children. It was the doctor’s consensus that it was the pregnancy that had caused the infection. Two years later she became pregnant again. The doctors insisted that she have an abortion.
Like David, Pilar stood her ground. She said no. She knew it was a miracle that she was even pregnant. Therefore, she was going to have this baby. It was a costly decision. She broke out in hives all over her entire body.
“I looked like a monster,” Pilar stated.
When it was time for the baby’s birth, she started bleeding extensively.
“I could hear the doctors saying that I was going to die,” she said. “In my mind, I said no, I will not die. I kept praying that God would allow me to live because I had two children now to take care of.”
God heard. She lived. The doctors told her husband to have a vasectomy.
Pilar and her husband had met and married in the United States. He was also from Ecuador. After the second child was born, he had started working for Dole pineapple Company. After getting his bachelor’s degree, they moved back to Ecuador.
Life was normal for about 15 years. During this time, they had established a relationship with a friend who was a doctor. Pilar and her husband were godparents to his children. Suddenly one morning Pilar woke up with a feeling as though something sharp was in her throat.
She thought it was her tonsils. This doctor took her complaint serious and sent her to a cancer doctor. The diagnosis came back. She was in the last stages of throat cancer. And it was in the glands in her throat. They did a biopsy. Rather than rely on anyone, Pilar said she went to the pathologist to get her own report.
“I lied to get it,” Pilar said. “I wanted to know for myself.
She asked the doctor how long she had to live. He stated three weeks. She said what about surgery. The surgeon told her there was no hope. Pilar, the petite Giant Killer, did not take no for an answer. After informing the surgeon that God was her hope and the Lord has the last word, she insisted on having the surgery.
She called a couple of members of her family, of whom one is a deacon, to tell the family to be at her mother’s home that evening. The family came. Pilar called her dining room table the roundtable for family conversations.
She still does this at her home in the senior community in which she lives. Sometimes it is just girl talk. Sometimes it is for bible study groups.
Pilar told the family about the throat cancer. Her pituitary gland was also infected. Stranger still, the doctors said the cancer had started in her ovaries but spread to her throat.
Initially, the family wanted her husband to send her back to the United States. Pilar said no. The doctors had informed her that she needed a period of rest or she would bleed to death during the surgery. She also told her family that the country did not matter.
She explained to the family that if the Lord wanted her to be alive it would be so.
The petite but gentle Giant Killer stood firm.
Unlike King David’s brothers, her family did not mock her. They finally understood because she had raised them to know God. They accepted her explanation. They prayed.
Talking to God was not strange to the family because both Pilar and her husband utilized prayer in every situation whether it was thanking God, or asking for help.
Privately, Pilar said she prayed to the Lord for a message.
“I am going to open my bible,” she said she told God. “Please show me, give me a sign because I still have daughters to raise.”
She opened her Bible. It was the book of Isaiah, chapter 38, where Hezekiah was sick and about to die. God had heard his plea and extended his life for 15 more years. However, there was something more that God had the prophet tell Hezekiah.
Pilar picked up on this divine direction and utilized it to heal her body thousands of years after this biblical miracle with Hezekiah. In other words, God is unchanged in his love and care for those who trust him and believe in him.
Hezekiah’s illness was due to boils. And the prophet Isaiah had told him to make a plaster of figs and lay them on the boils.
Pilar followed suit. The next day after reading the Scripture she went to the Farmer’s market. However, figs were not in season. And in Ecuador, figs are usually used for Passover.
Nevertheless, God was in control. A lady whom she knew from years before called out to her that she had figs. The next step was to prepare them.
People were available who would prepare them for her. But, Pilar wanted to do it herself because it was God’s message specifically to her. She boiled the figs until they were soft like smashed potatoes.
Remember, the cancer had started in her ovaries.
“I laid the plaster on my stomach that morning and left it on all day,” Pilar said. “Then, I waited until my period came.”
After getting ready for the surgery, her friend the doctor said do not let them do a biopsy on the tumors on her ovaries and the glands. At first the surgeon refused to operate. Then for some reason, he came back to Pilar and said that he didn’t know why, but he would do the surgery. She also let him do the biopsy.
“Afterwards, I felt that literally I had a pain in my soul, just as her friend Otto had said,” Pilar said. “I started crying. I didn’t know what to think.”
But God was still in control.
The surgeon who would perform her operation always prayed prior to surgery, and for his patients before operating. After the surgery was completed, the doctor told her there was literally a line inside of her body, almost as though it had been drawn with a pencil. The surgeon told Pilar that he took everything out below the line, including her fallopian tubes, her uterus, and ovaries. After the surgery, all lab tests showed that she no longer needed chemo for cancer. The cancer was gone.
Pilar recovered and raised her daughters.
Pilar returned to the United States. However, she started feeling bad in her stomach area again. The doctors had told her there was nothing wrong. Their diagnosis for her illness was that she was emotionally suffering from the loss of her husband. She flew back to Ecuador.
“Again, I felt so sick,” she said. “It felt like I was going to die, again.”
The doctors did a complete checkup. Her blood pressure was okay. Her sugar levels were okay. They didn’t give up. They decided that an endoscopy was needed to find the source of her pain. She stayed at her brother’s house. He was the only sibling still alive in Ecuador.
The procedure was recorded. The rest of the family was in a viewing room and could see what was happening.
The doctors discovered twenty polyps in her stomach. The recording showed that when the doctor opened up her stomach, the nurse made a face from the stench of the infection. The year was 2012. The doctors could not understand how she had been able to get on a plane and fly to Ecuador. The pressure alone could have caused the polyps to explode. They said it was a miracle that she survived.
Pilar, the petite giant killer, had no problem in telling them how she survived. She emphatically stated that it was the Lord who had kept her. Once she was back in the United States, Pilar tried to show the recording of the procedure to her American doctors. They refused to even look at it.
She stayed in Ecuador for three weeks. They gave her medication for six months because they knew the same medication was not available in the United States. She revisited Ecuador in 2014.
During these times that her life was in jeopardy, her faith never wavered. When asked did she ever wonder why she had to endure so much, and did her family’s faith grow, Pilar responded as follows.
“I have believed since childhood that God loved me,” Pilar stated. “They [the family] watched my faith hold steadfast no matter what the situation was. Now as adults, they tell me my faith taught them to do the same. However, if I were allowed to ask God one question, it would be this. Why do people who are mean and selfish seem to have a life void of pain.”
I understand her question. But, one thing that I can declare as one who grew up without the benefit of instruction by a true godly family. Her family’s dedication to teaching her about God when she was a child made the difference in her trust in God.
Now 72, Pilar is still going strong despite the enemy’s attempt to take her out. More so, her I.P.S. system simply got stronger with each attack.
The knowledge of God is the fertilizer for the I.P.S. system that is within every woman. For those who do not receive this nourishment at an early age, the journey to complete reliance upon the I.P.S. system is more perilous. In fact, sometimes it takes another Damascus Fall to make God’s point clear about its necessity for this battle.
About The Book
We Are One presents an unchanged, endless, truth—women were not created to live in disappointment, disillusionment, and defeat. We Are One is bursting with inspiration and encouragement as each chapter utilizes the raw, true life, experiences of several women who endured personal pain and yet came through empowered and victorious. How? Through the use of a key that a woman never knew she had. We Are One unveils the key. It will heal a woman’s soul, as item powers her to live a life that is not defined by trials and persecution. Women will know the power of a woman’s purposed influence and thus her eternal value.
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About Muriel Gladney
An abusive childhood had led me to become a full-blown atheist by the time I was 16. God introduced Himself when I was 52. This journey to true life is recorded in my book: Mine: An Everlasting Promise of Love, Deliverance, and Wholeness.
Now 76, I have spent the last twenty-four years learning to walk free in the shoes of being a child of God, while also honing my God-given skills as an ambassador and writer for Jesus, author, and speaker. After moving to California, I returned to college at the age of 61. There I received an Associate Degree in Arts with honors, functioned as a reporter and Editor-In-Chief of the college newspaper, along with receiving numerous rewards for writing, such as the 0CCWF Beverly Bush Smith award. I am also published in God Encounters, a book by author James Stuart Bell.
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Thank you for hosting my book, We Are One, as part of the WNL virtual book tour. It is my hope that your followers were inspired to greater faith by the courage of the true stories of the women in this book. Muriel Gladney