Immigrants persist in prayer, and healing follows
LOWVILLE, N.Y. — An intensive-care unit lacked a few key components to heal a critically injured patient until help arrived from an immigrant church in Buffalo.
Beth Steria of Lowville was seriously injured in a Feb. 19 car accident that took the life of her husband, Perry. She was airlifted to a hospital in Syracuse, where it was determined she had broken vertebra, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, broken jaw, a concussion and a collapsed lung.
Steria has no memory of that day and was told afterward it was uncertain if she would live. No one knew if she had suffered brain damage or paralysis.
People across Mennonite Church USA’s New York Mennonite Conference, where Steria serves on the Coordinating Council and as the conference resource advocate, were asked to pray.
Bawi Lian, leader of Buffalo Chin Emmanuel Church — a New York Conference congregation — responded by calling conference minister Gene Miller. Lian said he believed God wanted a group from his Burmese Chin church of nearly 100 people to go to her room to pray for her.
Miller explained Steria’s intensive-care room was small and crowded with medical equipment. Visitors were limited. He encouraged them to pray where they were and then visit her in the hospital at a later time.
The Chin church board met that evening. The board sent a text message to Miller saying they still believed God wanted them to go to Steria’s room to pray for her.
“When I read the text, the Spirit clearly spoke to me to not discourage them any longer, and I gave them the name of the hospital and Beth’s room number,” Miller said.
Ten people from the Chin congregation traveled more than three hours from Buffalo to Syracuse, where hospital staff allowed all of them into Steria’s room. They prayed fervently for her. A remarkable and speedy healing process began.
“February 23 is the first day that I became totally awake,” Steria said. “It was the worst day of my life when I realized I had lost my husband.
“God sent 10 messengers that day to minister to me. They were like angels gathered around my bed, praying for my healing. At that time I didn’t want to live, much less be healed. But I can’t tell you what it meant to me to see these saints praying and assuring me I would be healed. God used their prayers to bring healing to my spirit as well as my body.”
At the New York Conference assembly Oct. 18 in Auburn, Steria publicly thanked those who prayed for her.
“Your generosity and willingness to follow the leading of the Lord is a shining example for me,” she said. “I also want to thank each person across the state for their prayers and I know there were many. Truly, God used them for my healing.”
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