I was around 30 years old when a friend of mine, a Pastor, invited me to go on a mission trip with him to Colombia. I had been a Christian for years but had never considered going on a mission trip before, but he had said the funds were already available and I should go. I knew the group that was going was a bit more “experiential” than I was and they made me a little nervous, but I was excited about the adventure of visiting a foreign country so I said I would go and serve the team, but don’t expect me to do any of the ministry stuff they did. I would just carry suitcases and guard the coats and purses during ministry time.
On the first night of services, we met in a large church in Bucaramanga, Colombia. There were hundreds in attendance, the crowd spilling out into the street. The worship had been loud and animated and I was sitting as near the back wall of the building as possible while the rest of the mission team was in the front row. Following the worship the speaker got up, a man named Chuck whom I had only just met on the airplane, and he began teaching on healing using what I would later know as John Wimber’s 5 step healing model. I was fascinated and began taking notes on the 5 steps. I had heard a great deal of teaching on healing before. I had attended Oral Roberts University and had seen many videos of Oral in his heyday. I had attended Pentecostal churches for a few years and had seen people pray for the sick. But to my knowledge, I could not remember ever seeing an actual healing occur. And Chuck’s teaching was implying that everybody should be able to pray and expect something to happen. I had never even considered that I might be able to pray for someone like that. I thought that was for some type of Super Christian.
At the end of his message, Chuck said that we would now do a demonstration and he was going to bring up the least experienced person on our team… then I heard him call my name. I was horrified! He called me to the stage… when I got there, he handed me the microphone and spoke into my ear. “Someone here has an elbow that won’t open right. God wants to heal them. Call them up.” Then he left the stage and sat in the front row. So, with trembling words, through the translator, I said that someone had an elbow issue and God wanted to heal them. A woman near the back began to walk toward the stage and I frantically began to try and recall the 5 steps I had just written down.
As she climbed the steps, I could see a knot of some kind on the elbow. The only step I could remember from the teaching was “Step 1 – Ask their name and what’s wrong.” So I started with that. She explained the growth on her elbow and the inability to open it up fully. As she talked, I was trying desperately to remember step 2 when Chuck, from his seat on the front row, shouted, “Just go ahead and heal her.”… like that was all there was to it.
I panicked… all I could remember was what I had seen Oral Roberts do on those old videos. So, I put my hand on the knot and said, “In Jesus' name, be healed!” When I removed my hand, the knot was no longer there. The woman began opening and closing her arm in amazement, but she was no more amazed than I was. I was stunned.
The crowd was equally impacted. People began pouring to the front of the stage for prayer. Chuck quickly organized the mission team to begin ministering, but most of the people wanted in my line because, obviously, I was the healer. As I began praying for people it was as if heaven opened up. Every person I prayed for was healed that night. A deaf person got their hearing when I touched their ears. A baby’s fever broke as I laid my hands on it. A mute was delivered of a demon that I didn’t even fully believe in, but still was able to cast out, and the person left singing. One after another I saw things I had never even imagined, and I was the one it was coming through.
I never experienced another day like that one, where everything I prayed for happened. It was like God pulled back the curtain for an hour or so to show me what was possible. But it had its intended effect. I called my wife late that night back in the U.S. Waking her from a deep sleep I tried to tell her what had happened, all of the miracles. Her sleep-affected brain couldn’t keep up with my excited storytelling. She recalls that all she could make sense of was that I kept repeating, “I know what I’m for! I know what I’m for!”
That was almost 30 years ago. I still know what I’m for.