By Chris Meehan
Rus Lyons, one of our missionaries in Evansville, glanced down a narrow Evansville street and noticed a young man trying to remove a flat tire with a broken tire iron. Rus grabbed the iron from the missionaries’ car and went over to help the man, whose name was Reese. Fellow missionary Mary Timler stood in the cold, chatting with Reese’s mother-in-law, Tara.
They pulled and yanked and occasionally jumped on the iron trying to loosen the lug nuts. While they labored, Rus told a few healing stories. Reese said he didn’t go to church and had never seen a miracle.
They eventually got the tire off, and then the whole group went into Tara’s apartment to warm up. They met Reese’s wife Octavia and their son Amaria. Then, after a few minutes, Reese began rubbing his knees and grimacing. Squatting in the street had triggered some serious knee pain, a 10 on the scale of 1 to 10, he said.
Rus offered to pray, and when Reese agreed the group laid their hands on him and prayed for a healing. Afterward, Reese straightened his leg, then bent it. He got up and walked around, and then he tried squatting. “Whoa! . . . Wow!,” he said, looking over at Rus. “Thank you, man! There’s no pain!”
Rus and Mary spoke to them about prayer and invited them to pray privately for 10 minutes. Afterward, Reese said he had realized that he and Octavia had never prayed together.
Mary and Rus began explaining baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues, but Reese mentioned that he was skeptical of the healing services he’d seen on TV.
Laughing, Rus pointed at his knee and said, “But what was that that just happened to somebody’s knee?”
“I know that was real,” Reese said.
Reese, Octavia and Tara each said they’d like to be prayed with to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, but after nearly three hours of work and conversation Mary and Rus had to leave.
When they came back a week later, they found Tara yelling on the phone. She hung up and started waving her arms around menacingly. “If that woman ever comes over here, I’m going to deck her.”
Mary and Rus helped her calm down and talked to her about Jesus’ words about turning the other cheek. “Getting all upset—that’s what the old Tara would do,” she finally said. “I’ve changed. God saw I was going to get angry, so he sent his angels to show up at the right time, bringing the Holy Spirit.”
All three still wanted to be prayed with to be baptized in the Spirit, so Rus and Mary laid hands on each in turn. “I feel a lot better than when you first met me,” Tara said. Reese said he thought the Lord wanted him to apply for a job—he had recently been laid off. “Whenever you are here, I can’t stop smiling,” added Octavia.
The missionaries have been back to visit a third time. “I’m hearing God speak to me all the time,” Octavia said. Reese is beginning to talk about some hard changes he wants to make in his life, and he’s getting good advice–thanks to a missionary friend who has time to give . . . and a working tire iron.