Story by Verna Stutzman

Oct 2, 2000

Praying for healing

A friend of ours asked us to pray for his wife, since she was having some health problems. He told us, “A few months ago when you prayed for her concerning her job, things turned around quickly and dramatically. You have an anointing to pray.”

I didn’t tell him what happened to us in Sopu village in Papua New Guinea.

It didn’t take long after we arrived in Sopu village in 1987, for the people to figure out that we weren’t Catholic. Even though we couldn’t communicate using language, they realized that when we prayed we didn’t touch our forehead and upper chest, but rather lifted our hands – often placing one of them on the person we were praying for.

Eventually, one family got up enough courage to come and ask us to pray for their sick and dying elderly father. We were very excited about this first invitation to pray for people and we gladly hiked the half-hour uphill that it took to get to his hut. We prayed for him and then made our way back to our house along the narrow winding trails.

The next day, someone came and excitedly reported that James was much better and he was beginning to eat again. “Can you come and pray for him again?” he asked. We agreed. In a few days James was completely restored to health.

After that, people began bringing their babies to us for prayer or inviting us to hike to their huts to pray for people too sick to bring to us. At first many people requested prayer and so inevitably, we became weary of all the hiking in the hot sun to get to the person that needed prayer.

But in one week, the tide turned. People brought us three babies and they all died. In fact, one was dying in my arms as I was praying. I was heartbroken. I cried out to the Lord, “Oh, God, where are you?”

Fewer and fewer people brought their sick ones to us for prayer after that. Finally, the showdown came. There were two sick children and one family took their child to the witch doctor for healing and the other family brought their child to us for prayer. Both children died.

How our hearts ached! “God, we’re willing and obedient to do whatever you ask of us, but we acknowledge that the results belong to you.” Since then God has comforted us that He is still at work among the people of Sopu.

“Yes, Joe*, we will pray for your wife”.

* not his real name