The first household fellowship I attended was coordinated by a beautiful young woman in a wheelchair. I was told she had polio as a child, when she was about four years old, and as she got older, became wheelchair-bound. This amazing woman did not let that keep her back; she held a full-time job, a college degree, and always had a beautiful smile that lit up every room. She owned a handicap-accessible van and had a driver whose wife was her caretaker (she helped with meals, personal hygiene, etc.).
It was about three years after I began attending fellowship and when I had been working at a hospital (which was just about a mile from where the young woman lived), when, on my day off, I was headed back there to meet a few colleagues on our way to a conference. As I was walking into the emergency room (ER), I saw her caretaker walking out with the empty wheelchair. I asked what had happened, where she was, and was speechless when told that she had gone into respiratory failure, was being admitted to the intensive care unit with a prognosis of “poor,” and was not expected to survive. I was stunned; it couldn’t be—not that vibrant, beautiful young lady with the big smile, genuine heart for God, and infectious laugh.
I rushed inside to see her being wheeled on a stretcher; her eyes filled with tears when she saw me. Holding her hand and rubbing her head, my eyes now filled with tears; I know I heard God say to me, “This is why I brought you to this hospital.” I know He said a lot more, but my heart was full, and I couldn’t quite hear it all at that moment.
Now, I might have heard someone else talk about others doing the same thing, I don’t remember that now, but I am positive the following is what I know God told me to do: After calling the minister overseeing the state and informing him of the serious medical situation, I asked permission to call The Way International Headquarters to start twenty-four hours of continuous prayer. Next, I started calling household fellowship coordinators as well as believers I knew and asked them to pass the request for prayer on as soon as possible. I needed volunteers for a 24-7 prayer sit-in/vigil at her bedside (once permission was obtained from the attending physicians, staff, and hospital administrators). I popped in every chance I got while on duty and also while taking my shift as a volunteer when not. Someone who had a portable audiocassette player/boom box gladly offered to let us use it. This was because, as God clearly showed me, she had to have the Word within earshot 24-7—it could be a teaching, a Bible passage, or the Word in song. The verse God brought to my mind was:
He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.
By the end of the first week after she had been admitted, there were visible signs of improvement, but God instructed me to not stop yet. We continued until she was transferred to the rehabilitation unit, and then slowly cut back on the hours as she improved more and more. The day she was discharged was a moment of praise and glory to God for His mighty hand in leading me to that place, that hospital, that day and time. She lived about twenty-four more years before falling asleep. In my heart, I’m convinced God had His hand in the whole thing—He is cool like that—my moving to that city, being introduced to The Way Ministry, taking the class, working at that specific hospital, on the unit where I developed a great working relationship with those specific physicians, as well as my trusting God to show me what He needed me to do at the time.