For weeks Alfred Murillo’s days and nights were filled with horrific nightmares where an enemy attempted to take his life over and over again. The nightmares caused the 56-year-old to moan in fear and attempt to move about while strapped in his hospital bed trying to fight back and escape, but there seemed no beating this smooth-talking enemy and his horde of evil henchmen. Day after day the nightmares grew darker, his imagined deaths more and more terrifying, and Murillo growing weaker and weaker.
In his final nightmare, exhausted, surrounded, and at the point of surrender, suddenly Murillo saw two men on horseback in the distance, guns blazing in their hands, coming to his rescue, driving off his attackers! From a distance, it appeared to Murillo that it was . . ., it was John Wayne and Clint Eastwood? What?
Or was it?
These ministries partner with local churches and other non-profits that target the needs of at-risk families.
“We distribute food to 15,000 families a month, provide clothing, and offer medical care through our network,” Alfred says. “We have a mobile medical unit where we provide optical, behavioral, dental, and medical treatment as well as a pharmacy through Utah Partners for Health.”
Yet even with these types of efforts, which include multiple opportunities to share the gospel, Alfred says his focus is on helping pastors establish their own ministries to the at risk and needy.
“I ask pastors to let me help them build their outreach where they’re at and I’ll help supply what you need,” Alfred says. “I want to help our churches use their buildings for missions work instead just two days a week for church.”
Alfred recalls that on Saturday, July 31, 2021, he was helping load a truck with 50-pound bags of potatoes for distribution and he felt great. On Sunday, he performed a wedding, but says he began feeling tired. By Monday he was not feeling well at all. A home oxygen saturation sensor read his oxygen level at 72 — normal is considered roughly between 95% and 100%. According to OnHealth.com, levels even as high as 80% to 85% can still affect brain function and vision. Anna took him to the hospital with no argument from Alfred.
“On Tuesday the doctor told me if I didn’t go on the ventilator right away, I would die quickly. I was hesitant because of how many had already died on ventilators, but because of the doctor’s warning, we decided to go ahead as they explained they wanted me on the ventilator before I became too weak.”
Anna admits that she and Alfred both had a lot of uncertainty concerning the ventilator, but through prayer, came to a peace about the process — the Lord was in control.
“We have a son who at 4 years old had cancer, a daughter had her appendix burst inside of her, Alfred was seriously ill about 14 years ago and we’ve seen God do miracle after miracle,” Anna says. “I told God I was believing for another one and I held on to that.”
Expecting that he would only be on a ventilator for a few days, Alfred agreed to be placed in an induced coma and the ventilator inserted. It would be 25 days before he fully returned to this world.
DREAM OR VISION?
As Alfred began his battle for life at the McKay-Dee Hospital ICU in Ogden, nightmares, that became his perceived world, began. The ongoing theme of the nightmares was he was being pursued by evil creatures attempting to take his life. He says in his dream he was shot at least nine times, run over by a car, and had multiple other attempts on his life.
“In my dreams, there was a man, dressed in a slick suit, looking very professional and I started talking to him — I realized he was the Enemy,” Alfred says. “But then I heard God say, ‘Don’t talk to him, resist him.’ But me, being the knucklehead that I am, I told God, ‘I got this. I have the power of Your Name! God, I can do this.’”
The nightmares continued, day and night, with Alfred’s life in constant danger both in the physical and dream worlds, until he was to the point of physical and emotional exhaustion.
“The Enemy was trying to put fear in me, and I had battled and struggled, but now I was in a cul-de-sac — trapped and the Enemy was coming,” Alfred recalls. “I was calling out to God, my eyes on my Enemy, who was approaching and ready to take me out. I was at the point where I told myself, ‘I can’t do this anymore; I’m tired and quitting.’ But then, I looked over the heads of my Enemy and there are two guys on horseback riding toward me, shooting at my Enemy. I had watched many westerns growing up as a kid with my grandfather, so at first I thought the guy in front looked like John Wayne, and then the other was Clint Eastwood in his prime — and all those creatures trying to kill me started to take off running!”
But as the victorious horsemen drew close, Alfred made a stunning discovery — the horsemen weren’t Hollywood icons, but his friends, Ogden pastor Shannon Schreyer and his son, Caleb.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED
This is where the “just a scary dream” takes a sharp turn toward reality.
Alfred and Anna know that what they are doing to reach the at-risk in Utah and promote additional outreach by churches is something Satan would love to destroy, making leadership a prime target.
But where was God in all of this? He was there, Alfred says, giving him one simple direction: “Don’t talk to him.” But to Alfred’s shame, he didn’t listen — and trusted in what he thought was best.
It was Aug. 19, Alfred believes, that was the turning point in his nightmares and in his physical recovery, with evidence to prove it. For it was on that day that Shannon Schreyer, lead pastor of God’s Place in Ogden, arrived at the hospital — coming specifically to pray over Alfred on the very day Alfred believes he was about to be overwhelmed by the Enemy in his dream.
Schreyer, a long-time family friend who notes so few people from their area survived when intubated for so long, was granted special permission to enter Alfred’s room as a chaplain. He began to pray: Alfred, I’m speaking to your Spirit man and speaking life, wholeness, alignment, newness. Out of the chains of infirmity I speak life. Live, Alfred, live!
Schreyer spent about 10 minutes praying over Alfred who began to respond, thrashing about in his bed.
“His body was responding to what his Spirit man already knew — that Jesus was big enough to bring him through,” Schreyer says. “But I believe with everything in me that it wasn’t my prayer alone, but the prayers of thousands of people praying for him being poured out and I just happened to be there.”
As Schreyer concluded his prayers, he turned to Anna and said, “I really believe this is a definitive moment — Alfred is going to come out of this very quickly . . . you could feel the Spirit of God moving into his body.” Schreyer was convinced that things were going to be okay from that moment.
As Schreyer prayed, Alfred believes that’s when God sent his two “cowboys” to rescue him in his dream and began to restore Alfred, physically and spiritually.
“Alfred’s body responded to Shannon’s prayer, moving and shaking,” Anna confirms. “You could tell this was a different type of movement from when he was dreaming — it was a response to prayer — and then all the machines started going off.”
That afternoon Alfred’s fever broke and his numbers started to steadily improve — Anna confirming that day was definitely the turning point for him.
THE DREAM CONTINUES
From that moment on, Alfred’s physical condition steadily improved. However, God wasn’t finished speaking into his life. In fact, God spoke quite candidly with the self-reliant minister in a dream that continued for a week.
As Shannon and Caleb road off in pursuit of the creatures, God began to speak to Alfred. “I told you not to talk to him [the Enemy].”
Over the next several days, Alfred says God rebuked him as He spoke to him in his dream. God made it clear to him that as soon as he stopped giving the Enemy any of his time, he left. Alfred explains that his sin was due to focusing on what he needed in order to accomplish God’s plan rather than focusing on God and allowing Him to accomplish what needed to be done.
“I had shifted from one project to the next, always fundraising, always asking God for things and He showed me that my focus was on His hands — what He can give me — rather than what 2 Chronicles 7:14 says: ‘. . . humble yourself and seek my face (relationship).’ I had become like a teenage brat — just wanting things and throwing a fit when I didn’t get them.”
As God continued to reveal Himself, His desires for true relationship, and how Alfred needed to pursue that relationship, Alfred fell to his knees, weeping in repentance.
“Up until this point, in my dream my hands had been tied in front of me,” Alfred says. “But as soon as I repented, my hands were set free — and I woke up. It was Aug. 27th.”
GIVING GOD THE GLORY
Alfred was released from the hospital on Sept. 15. However, during those weeks leading up to his return home, he had to learn to walk, talk, and even eat. He went from stacking sacks of potatoes to what the medical staff referred to as “negative strength,” meaning he didn’t have the strength to even lift his arm.
“After a week of therapy, I could barely lift the TV remote control,” Alfred says with a laugh.
Yet, Alfred points to how God was with him throughout the battle for his physical and spiritual life and how the prayers of countless people — including the Schreyers — helped pull him through.
“We had pastor friends praying in the lobby for me constantly, a pastor friend and his wife flew from Greeley (Colorado) to do a Prayer March around the hospital and then went home, medical staff prayed over me, my family and many friends were always praying for me, and so many more who I don’t even know.”
Anna says that during the weeks she was at Alfred’s side in the hospital, where she played worship music non-stop, she had the opportunity to interact with medical staff.
“One day, I was talking to a doctor and nurse and told them that they don’t realize how many people are praying, not just for Alfred, but for them as well, praying for them specifically,” Anna says. “The nurse walked away, but a few days later she pulled me to the side and said, ‘I needed to tell you thank you. No one has ever told me that before.’ We both cried and I hugged her and told her, ‘I really do pray for you.’”
Although Alfred readily shares what God did in his life during his stay in the hospital, in late February he had an opportunity that he never expected. The hospital asked him, along with another survivor, to come talk to some of their staff about his survival, which, for most of them, was totally unexpected. He was told to expect 20 to 25 people and that as the meeting wasn’t sanctioned, he was free to share his story — whatever he wanted.
When he arrived, Alfred was surprised to learn that the presentation was also being viewed online — a total of nearly 80 members of the medical staff were voluntarily present. The other man went first and finished in 10 minutes, leaving 45 minutes for Alfred to speak — he took full advantage.
By the time he was done telling his story, he had seen many tears, brought laughter as he shared a hilarious dream he had a few days prior to his release, and expressed God’s love for each person attending online and in person. He also shared with all of them how so many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people who were praying for him were also praying for the medical staff.
As the meeting concluded, a number of medical staff approached Alfred, thanking him, expressing their surprise and deep appreciation for the prayers being said on their behalf. Alfred believes God allowed him to plant a seed of faith into those 80 lives.
FOLLOWING GOD’S PLAN
Since his release from the hospital, Alfred’s recovery has been slow, but steady. He has resumed working at the ministries he and Anna oversee and recently was behind a pulpit for the first time since last July.
He says that through the challenges that COVID brought and that God brought him through, he has focused on building his relationship with God, listening to His direction, and trusting in Him to provide for all their needs. He fully believes God spared his life for His purposes.
Anna shares that at the beginning of last year God had given her a word, steadfast. She explains that in the middle of Alfred’s struggle to live, she knew why God gave her that word: to stay firm in their faith and be an encouragement to other people. This year, the word God gave her was abide — abide in and stay grounded in God.
And how’s that all working out for them?
With Alfred’s extended stay in the hospital racking up bills into the multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars and with no health insurance (as the family could not afford it) to offset the impact of those bills, the financial future of the family, and possibly their ministries, seemed in jeopardy.
But on Saturday, Feb. 26, Alfred and Anna opened the bill from the hospital — hundreds of thousands of dollars of charges . . . and zero — that’s Z-E-R-O — dollars owed!
Alfred’s response? “No insurance. No money. And now, no bill! Praise God!”