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'My Strength Came from the Lord': Liberated Hamas Hostage Tells of Horrific Conditions

Jimmy Pacheko was taken hostage by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7
Jimmy Pacheko was taken hostage by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7

On October 7, the day Hamas terrorists began their attacks along the Gaza border, Jimmy Pacheko was taken hostage. After more than 50 days as a prisoner of Hamas, he's finally home and he's sharing his story of survival and his gratitude to God for his freedom.

"When I was taken out of the house, I didn't expect them to spare me because I witnessed my employer being killed mercilessly," he said. 

Jimmy lived in a kibbutz where he was a caregiver to an elderly man who was immediately killed by Hamas. In an exclusive interview, Jimmy talked about his harrowing experience.  

"I heard gunfire from another house. I sent a message to my wife back in the Philippines to take care of our children. Hamas asked me if I am a soldier. They set a rifle on automatic and fired beside my ear until the ammo ran out. After that, I heard a buzzing sound in my ears. When our supplies were scarce, they only gave us one pita bread for the whole day. But I didn't eat it in one sitting. I just got a pinch whenever I felt hungry," he said. 

"As time passed, the water supply became salty. I worried because I had a history of kidney illness. When I needed to defecate, they gave me a piece of toilet paper. I didn't use it.  I hid it in my pocket, so I could eat it.  For me it was food. I would take the toilet paper and dab it on the moist walls.  We were about 40 meters below the ground, so it was cold and there was condensation on the walls. When the paper got wet enough, I ate it. It filled my empty stomach as well as quenched my thirst," Jimmy told CBN. 

"They also tasked me to clean seven toilets. I said it's okay because the smell would get worse. During the first and second weeks, I was staying inside a small prison with a toilet right beside me.  I kept thinking and wondering, 'Why would they capture me?' It was driving me crazy. Why would they capture me if I didn't do anything to them?" 

Despite the horrific conditions, Jimmy didn't lose his will to survive.

"I got my strength for my children. I had the strength to eat toilet paper because I needed to survive for my children. I pleaded to God because I was 12 years old when my father died. I prayed, 'Please don't do this to me. Please let me live. Even if I stay here for 10 years, just let me live,'" he explained.

After roughly a month and a half in captivity, Jimmy was included in the first batch of hostages released by Hamas.

"They told us we would be leaving the tunnel where we were held captive.  That's when I started to cry. When I first saw the sun and came out from the tunnel, I just knelt down and thanked the Lord because I saw the sun again, and breathed fresh air." 

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"My strength came from the Lord, and for my children. Now I am more mature and stronger in many respects. I want to stay here and keep working, even after what they did to me. I want to provide for my family because I do not want my children to experience the hardships that I experienced when I was a child. And I would like to thank you all for your prayers." 

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