Fact Check

David Allen Prayer Request

Is missionary David Allen wasting away from an unknown disease?'

Published June 21, 2000


Claim:   Prayers are needed for David Allen, a missionary serving in Thailand who is wasting away from an unknown disease.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2000]

Please take some time to pray and email this to other Christians. It's important to pray for our dear Brothers and Sisters around the world.

Ezekiel David Allen is a young missionary on the Chiang Mai, Thailand mission team. He is critically ill with an unknown parasite and apparently WILL DIE WITHIN TWO MONTHS unless there is an intervention by the Lord.

Please help create a global blanket of prayer for David, Michelle, and their 4 month old daughter, Brianna.

From: David Allen

My condition is serious now. The body is beginning to break down because I have no more fat or nutrient reserves. My diet consists mostly of vegetable broth, Gatorade and saltine crackers. I tried homemade bread a few weeks ago and ended up in the emergency room.

I am in constant pain and have taken pain killers regularly. The severe diarrhea has continued for 7 weeks and I have been in the emergency room 5 times. In the last 3 days there have been sharp pains in my kidneys, so they are running tests to see if my kidneys are infected.

So far, 8 doctors have not been able to diagnose the parasites. One lab in Dallas thought they had a positive diagnosis (a rare parasite called cryptosporidium), but the Public Health Center of Disease Control in Houston said it was an incorrect diagnosis.

They have found 2 foreign agents, but no one has ever seen them before or can identify them. One is a parasite and the other looks more like an amoeba.

One of the effects of the parasites is to prevent my GI tract from absorbing nutrition. The CDC in Atlanta is 3-6 months behind, so they cannot help in time.

My doctors are trying everyone else. They are in contact with one of the top infectious disease doctors in Thailand, and several of the experts here in the states. I believe that the pictures of the parasites are to be
passed around until someone can identity them.

I am not doing well. I feel like I am in a very dark valley right now. I have been praying for so long for help with no response, that I have become discouraged in prayer.

This is a first for me in my life. Michelle and my parents are being a tremendous support for me, but they are having a hard time seeing me suffer so much. My prayers now are very elemental "Father, save me!"

But the pain continues each day and I continue to lose weight.

Please pray not only for my body, but for my spirit. I have not known fear like this before. I don't want to be fearful, and I don't need to be fearful because I am confident in my salvation. I think my fear is related more to the thought of not being with my wife and the new baby. This was the happiest time of my life before I became sick.

David Allen

We are encouraging everyone we know to lift up David and his family before the Lord of Lords.

Please forward this message to those you think will join us in this global chain of prayer.


INTERNATIONAL MISSION BOARD, SBC Southern Africa Regional Office
PO Box A-614, Avondale



Origins:     The crisis addressed by this prayer request for missionary David Allen is long over. According to the August 1998 Chiang Mai Netletter, David's health was greatly improved even as of that date, and he survived his famed illness of 1997 (yes, that's how long this particular entreaty has been around).

In 1997, while on a furlough in Dallas, David Allen was examined by doctors who were unfamiliar with the intestinal parasite he had picked up during his mission work abroad.

They knew what was going wrong, but not how to treat it, so the stricken missionary sent the e-mail quoted above to his team back in Thailand, pleading with them to pray for him. It is this e-mail that continues to circulate to this day.

The missionary has since almost entirely recovered, even though the doctors treating him Stateside never identified the nature of the organism that had felled him. They speculated he might have been infested with a parasite and eggs with a three-month life cycle that finally passed out of his system, accounting for both his illness and subsequent recovery. Mr. Allen, however, credits the turnaround to the many prayers his e-mail inspired folks to send heavenward.

David Allen and his wife, Michelle, are now missionaries in Thailand. They are members of the Preston Road Church of Christ in Dallas, Texas.

Barbara "missionary position paper" Mikkelson

Last updated:   14 June 2010


    Russell, Robin Galiano.   "Well-Intentioned E-Mail Won't Die."

    Dallas Morning News.   9 July 2004.