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March 2, 2005

Faithful claim prayer has brought medical miracles

From: San Antonio Express, TX - Mar 2, 2005

Joe Conger
KENS 5 Eyewitness News

We've all heard of the power of prayer: How some research indicates that sick patients heal more quickly when they've been prayed for. For one local church, it's not just research anymore — it's reality.

If something happens once, it's easily dismissed. Twice? Maybe it is a coincidence.

But what happens when something continues for months affecting dozens of families? Believers Christian Fellowship embrace it as a gift.

"We're seeing a manifestation of the spirit of God. There is an outpouring of God's love here," said Pastor Perry Taylor.

In Smithson Valley, a small community church of about 50 families meets each week in prayer. Taylor says in the last six months, God has started answering back.

"People are receiving healings in mass numbers. It's not just one here, one here. It's just many," Taylor said.

Lauren Taylor was one of the first. The teenager had temporomandibular joint pain or TMJ.

With her jaw locked shut, Lauren's meals consisted of soups and Slim-Fast shakes for more than four months, until a healing prayer literally opened her mouth.

"Instantaneously, my jaw, I felt a looseness that I hadn't felt in two years," Lauren said. "I screamed out, 'I am healed!' I was hunched over crying so hard, I was in awe at what God had done for me."

News spread, as church members began to share stories of physical and spiritual healings with one another.

Kevin Stewart's family says doctors thought the 11 year old had chronic strep throat. Eighteen different antibiotics couldn't get rid of it.

Kevin says it took the touch of God.

"It was like something was in my throat and it just came out. It was awesome. I came in there with a fever, and after she put her hand on my head, I walked out without one," Kevin said.

Or Rebecca Ervin, whose family says the three month old was diagnosed with a heart murmur.

"When we took her in to the cardiologist, they looked and looked and looked, and all they could get was a vibration. No heart murmur. Oh, it's Jesus, the healing power of Jesus," said Carl Ervin, Rebecca's father.

Rebecca's weekly visits with the cardiologist have since been cancelled.

Church members say the healings coincide with the arrival of one woman: Cherie Call.

A believer in the power of prayer, Call says it didn't take long to convince the rest of the flock.

"I think it's the love of Jesus, allowing his love to flow through us. And letting the people know God loves them," said Call, the associate pastor at Believers Christian Fellowship.

Both Call and Pastor Taylor believe the power to heal comes from the holy spirit and is rooted in scripture.

Ava Holder witnessed it first hand. Diagnosed as moderate-to-profoundly deaf, Holder says she suddenly had sounds come alive, after being prayed over.

"I'm scared to tell people sometimes, because I'm afraid they'll look at me crazy," Holder said. "But then I have to remind myself that everybody looked at Jesus crazy, too."

With two busy young boys, Holder now finds herself praying for something she never thought she'd ask for — peace and quiet.

The Believers Christian Fellowship isn't keeping quiet, either.

"I think what happened here is we were in a position where our faith took action. Love and action, if you will, what motivated Jesus was his love, his compassion," pastor Taylor said.

And compassion has passed through this congregation with the touch of a hand and a head bowed in prayer.

© 2005 KENS 5 and the San Antonio Express-News. All rights reserved.