Samiha – The story of a Miracle

It’s been 18 months since Coptic Christian Samiha Tawfiq was badly injured in the bomb attack on Cairo’s St. Peter and Paul church, which claimed 27 lives and injured 49. It also took away one side of Samiha’s face.

When the bomb exploded right next to her in church, everyone thought Samiha was dead. But although she lost half of her face she miraculously survived and now testifies of Jesus’s presence throughout her recovery.

Samiha Tawfiq Awad and her husband Qalini prepared to go to church on Sunday December 11, 2016. Qalini wasn’t keen on going that morning, but Samiha encouraged him to join her.

As per tradition in the Coptic church, men sit separate from women, and once they arrived at St. Peter’s, Qalini went to sit in the men’s section and Samiha took her seat in the women’s section.

Just before 10:00 a.m. a man with a bomb ran into the women’s section, and he set it off. The peaceful atmosphere of the church service was switched to total chaos. The explosion was massive. The church was suddenly engulfed in darkness, smoke and screams.

Qalini hurried to the women’s section and started calling for Samiha. He couldn’t find her. The bodies and faces of the women were so damaged that it was hard to distinguish one person from the other. Only hours later he found his beloved wife in the hospital – severely injured and barely recognizable.

The doctors gave the ultimatum that she wouldn’t survive. Qalini was distraught, how could he continue his life without his sweet wife?

A year later, Open Doors teams revisited the couple in their apartment not far from Cairo’s city center.

Qalini smiles from ear to ear: His wife Samiha is sitting next to him, alive and well. He points up, “The doctors might had given up on Samiha, but God had another plan!” Samiha’s face still isn’t what it used to be, she literally lost half of it, so on one side she can’t hear, smell or see. But the side of her face that is still intact glows while she smiles. “They had put me on the list of dead victims of the attack already,” she says. “The doctors thought it was useless to treat me, so they just came to check on me every now and then to see if I was already dead. But I stayed alive.”

No one can explain how Samiha survived, but she did.

Because she stayed alive the doctors started surgery. It was a long way, but Jesus was present with her all the time. “I don’t remember much of the explosion and the first days after it,” she says, “But I remember that I saw Jesus on the ceiling when I was lying on the ground after the explosion.”

Jesus keeps appearing to her throughout her ordeal, even in the hospital. In her unconscious state she mumbled his name. “I would have been willing to die for Jesus,” Samiha says, “but the fact that he kept me alive so miraculously tells me that he wants me to live.”

Qalini says it hasn’t been easy for him to forgive the attacker who brought his family so much pain. “But my faith tells me to forgive. So every time I feel angry, I sit down with my bible and browse to the Sermon on the Mount. There Jesus says we should forgive our enemies. It really helps me to read that part over and over again.”

Samiha herself doesn’t feel anger. “If I would meet the family of the attacker, the only thing I would ask them is: ‘Do you know Jesus?’ I pray they will find the right way.”


Update: Samiha was granted reconstructive surgery in Germany.  Read more here.