A Warren County pastor preached about what happened less than three months after he lost his wife and was badly hurt during a home invasion and fire.

John Alford gave the sermon at Calvary Baptist Church in Roanoke Rapids, telling a story of fear, loss, and, and what he calls a miracle. He described the home invasion and fire that destroyed his house, left him beaten and burned, and took the life of his wife Nancy. Before he spoke about the terrible events of March 9, though, he focused on the day before, which he spent with his wife of 57 years.

“On March the 8th, we had one of the most amazing days,” he recalled, saying he and his wife went shopping and had coffee together.  “We came home and we went to bed that night, never realizing that was the last day she and I would spend together on this earth.”


The next day, police say Kevin Munn and Lester Kearney broke into the Alfords’ Lake Gaston home.

“I was in my bed. I had attempted to get up when I realized there was a person in my bedroom who wasn’t supposed to be there, and in that process I was severely beaten in the face and still bear the scars of what happened, and then I was tied hand and foot,” he said.

He went on to say, “God’s voice spoke to me just as plain, just as simple as I’m speaking to you right now. And do you know what God said for me to do? ‘Get untied. Get untied’.”

He continued: “I chose to get untied. It took about an hour. But I got untied. I still gave the impression I was tied. But I really wasn’t.

Then, he said he heard his wife call for help and he tried to go to her.

“I was greeted by a solid wall of flame coming out of the exercise room,” he told church members.

He couldn’t save Nancy, but he made it out of the house, despite severe injuries.

“When they finally let me look in the mirror, I didn’t even know myself. It was that bad,” he said. “To be able to go home with almost no evidence that the fire had been on my face was absolutely beyond a miracle. It was unbelievable.”

And although he mourns his wife, he accepts what happened and describes their decades together as years of love, devotion, and teamwork.

“Nancy and I were so totally devoted to each other from our marriage in 1960. Her devotion from that day was to me, but God chose to take her home,” he said.

As for his own survival, and healing: “I am living proof that God answers prayers,” he said.