When 17-year-old Marty Mertz (Colorado Springs), volunteered to spend last summer as a counselor at the Allendale summer camp, she knew that back pain might make for some challenging days. She didn’t expect God to take her pain away.
Marty, who grew up in Servant Branch, was diagnosed with a mild case of scoliosis (curvature of the spine) at age 7, but pain became a regular part of her life after a back strain she suffered at Servant Camp in 2010. After that, she had difficulty sitting down and doing some physical activities: “I couldn’t help my friends in Action with the cleaning jobs we do to raise money,” she says.
Marty’s doctor told her that her spine was getting worse, slowly twisting into a C shape. The pain might be with her for the rest of her life.
For her first two weeks in Allendale, Marty played it safe--supervising camp activities rather than participating in them. But when the team gathered in small groups to pray for one another’s needs, she asked them to pray for her back. “I just wish I could touch my toes,” she told them.
Nathan Barrett (Allendale) asked her to bend over and show the others how far she could reach. “Her fingertips came six or eight inches short of her toes,” he says.
After they laid hands on her and prayed, Marty tried again and stretched her hands a few inches farther than before.
The group prayed a second time, then Marty bent over again. “When she reached down, her fingers reached to her toes and she pressed them flat against the floor,” says Nathan.
“It was exciting. We were laughing and cheering and praising God,” adds Sheila Timler (South Bend).
“The Lord did more than I asked,” Marty says. “Not long after, I found myself able to sit in an office chair three hours at a time. I’ve had temporary muscle soreness due to my body adjusting to standing and walking properly, but that’s all.”
Marty shared the story at a Shreveport branch meeting, and afterward Bill Parker, a pediatrician, offered to examine her back. After a quick exam, he told her, “Your back is straight. I can’t find any evidence of scoliosis—and that’s not the kind of thing that just disappears on its own.”
Marty lives with Eric and Mary Faith Hall (Colorado Springs) and works taking care of their children. “Between the Halls, Hrbaceks and the Brophys, there are 14 community kids on the block—so it’s a very physical job, but now I’m able to enjoy activities like that,” she says.