A New River of Life Springs Up in Raleigh, NC
Ever since our beginning in June of 1997, we have had a great hunger for God to bring revival to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. All through the 90’s when we were living in Louisiana, the Holy Spirit had been speaking to my wife, Ina, and me about planting a church here. In February of 1997, while in the office of a pastor friend in Shreveport, Louisiana, the pastor asked me what God was saying to me for the New Year. When I told him I felt it was to plant a church, not knowing what was in my heart, he suggested the Raleigh- Durham area of North Carolina. Two days later another pastor friend called and gave us the same word! We knew then that it was God, so we left Louisiana and began to plant River of Life Church in Raleigh. In 1998, Ina and I and two other couples went to the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship for the first time to investigate for ourselves what was going on there. We had received good reports from two friends in the ministry. Both of these brothers told us two things: stay for at least three days and receive as much soaking prayer as we could. We experienced a wonderful touch of the Holy Spirit, drinking as much as we could of His presence.
The River Changes The Church
A month later, Peter and Heather Jackson came to our church and brought the message of the Father’s Heart to our hungry people. Things began to change. Soaking prayer became a regular part of our services. Our prayer teams would meet 45 minutes before service to soak and saturate each other in the love of the Holy Spirit.
God had given him 7 gold fillings.
One of our couples, Tom and Pat, went back to Toronto early the next year expecting great things in the Lord. Soon after they arrived in Toronto, Ina and I received an excited telephone call from Tom. He had responded to a call for a dental miracle. Although nothing transpired that evening, the next day he discovered God had given him 7 gold fillings where there had only been amalgam ones.
When they returned from TACF, Ina asked them to pray for her. Ina had been a dental hygienist for 27 years and had been skeptical of people receiving “gold fillings.” However, she had been suffering with a root canal problem that had never been successfully treated nor had the attending dentist put a crown on that tooth. Two days after Tom & Pat had prayed for her, she informed me that not only had God healed her root canal but also had put a shiny gold crown on that tooth!
That Sunday, as Tom and Ina shared what God had done, several others received gold fillings through the prayer of faith. One of those who received was Jan, one of our members who had longed for a miracle touch from God. When she went to her dentist, he said, “whoever put that filling in your mouth did a wonderful job!” Since that time we have seen even more dental miracles.
Fire On The Youth
In the spring of 2000, our young people went to the Fresh Wind Conference at TACF and came back with God’s fire in their hearts. As I finished preaching on that Easter Sunday, fifteen “on-fire” teens walked triumphantly into the service with our youth pastors. Even though I had released the congregation to leave after the service, everyone stayed to hear the testimonies of our youth. Tears flowed as they shared, one by one, how God healed them from anger, bitterness and hopelessness. Then the young people began to pray for their parents and the rest of the congregation. As God’s power fell, adults surrendered to the power of God’s presence, falling to the floor. Since that time, the Holy Spirit falls often at the Friday night youth services, renewing and refreshing everyone.
The Healings Continue
In the spring and fall of 2000, Ina and I as well as other members of River of Life congregation, attended the two Healing Conferences at TACF. What we heard and saw greatly stimulated our faith. As a young man serving in a church in New Orleans, I had seen outstanding miracles of healing and deliverance. I had yearned to see those days return to the church. While at the Toronto conferences, we witnessed many healings and miracles. Seeing these produced an anticipation and expectation that God would move in power at our church. And we weren’t disappointed.
One man in our church, Tim, was suffering from what was diagnosed as a significant blockage in one of the arteries of his heart. It looked as if he would need angioplasty. Just before going to the hospital, our members gathered around him and prayed. The next morning, while we were sitting in the waiting room with his wife, his doctor emerged with a puzzled look on his face saying that he could find no arterial blockage!
Another exciting healing that took place involved a group of men who have recently been coming to River of Life Church from an institution in Raleigh called “The Healing Place,” a substance abuse recovery center. One man in the program, Steve, had suffered a partial stroke the previous November. The stroke had affected the full use of his right hand and right foot. As the prayer team reached out to him in love and faith, Steve felt God’s presence in a real way. As he got up from his seat to go to another part of the building, he felt a noticeable change in his stride as well as new feeling in his right hand. Where previously he had only a fraction of feeling in the hand and foot, he has almost fully recovered both feeling and use of his hand and foot.
She was healed of her sinus condition, and her healing remains.
Linda, the mother of one of our members, came one Sunday with a painful arthritic condition in her hip joint. She later testified that when she had stepped out of bed that morning, the Lord had spoken to her that if she would go to her daughter’s church that morning, He would heal her. On that particular Sunday, one of our men, Ken, had testified how the Lord had healed the swelling in his legs that was so bad that he had had to wear special support hose. He had attended a special service in Raleigh that weekend where John Arnott was ministering on healing. Ken received a wonderful healing touch and spoke of it on that Sunday.
As Linda heard of God’s desire to heal the sick, she came forward for prayer. As the prayer team ministered to her, she said, “I felt something travel down my leg and out of my feet.” She declared how her feet “burned” as the healing was being accomplished. Linda is still healed after many months.
Another lady, Valerie, had been suffering from chronic sinus problems. Nothing seemed to help her. As she came for prayer, the prayer team soaked her in prayer. Valerie eventually could not stand and fell to the floor. She was tempted to get up immediately but felt the Holy Spirit prompting her to remain in His rest. When she did get up, she had been healed of her sinus condition, and her healing remains.
My son Matthew had injured his knees in a skiing accident and was never without discomfort. After being saturated in healing prayer, he reports that he has had no more pain!
Healing Crippled Emotions
Not only have we seen evidences of physical healing but some true inner restoration as well. One woman had been sexually abused by her father as a child and had grown up driven by fear to stay awake. She had kept her hand in an ice bucket most of the night so she would not be taken by surprise if her father entered her room. As a result of this childhood trauma, the torment of old memories was deeply etched in her heart. She rarely slept more than several hours a night as an adult. As she came to our church, she absorbed the message of the Father’s loving heart, receiving much soaking prayer. She now walks in God’s peace and enjoys a full night’s rest.
We sense God’s River steadily rising in our church. People are continually lingering in God’s presence to drink in His love. As they receive refreshing, they are telling their friends of God’s gracious outpouring. One new lady recently told us, “I’ve been looking for this for 4 years, since I moved down from Maryland. I’ve missed this. I’m addicted to the River and must have more of God.” We thank God for it all and often say, “Keep coming Holy Spirit!”