This being my first blog, I wanted to take the time to reiterate that God is still in the miracle working business. I was born during a time of great miracles in the Oneness Pentecostal movement that both sets of grandparents were a part of from the very beginnings of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the early 1900s. I am a first-hand witness to the miraculous. I was healed of a clubbed foot and bowed leg when I was about 18 months old. I have seen many miracles throughout my lifetime. I know that God still heals today.
Pastors John and Faith Williams, Johanna’s Parents
My dad was born dead in the house of a minister, whose wife, “Bessie” walked the floor with him in her arms praying, telling God she would not stop praying until he breathed. She began praying in other tongues and 45 minutes later he began to breathe. Later, at age 17 he would be healed of a hole in his heart at a William Branham meeting where God instantly healed him. He had to be carried into the meeting and after he was prayed for, he ran up and down the steps of the Little Rock, AR convention center. God would use my dad to preach the Gospel around the world and lay hands-on people and they would be healed. God healed him later in life of a great, hurtful trauma he had suffered as a young boy. He would minister to thousands this glorious story of deliverance and healing of the soul.
My mother’s earliest memories were of her in an old mechanic’s garage which her Dad had turned into a church and the wall behind the pulpit was covered, floor to ceiling with wheelchairs, crutches, canes, braces, and other medical supports that were left in the church after the people who owned them were healed. God would later use her also, in the laying on of hands and people were healed.
Both my parents had learned of the healing power of God by being healed themselves and being first-hand witnesses to the power of God in miraculous ways. Their parents, each, had stepped out in faith believing the Word of God where it states that the Holy Spirit gave us power to be witnesses and to lay hands on the sick and they would recover. They had been mentored by people who knew how to pray and touch God to see people healed, saved, set free from demons, and provided for supernaturally.
Pastors CP and Mary Williams, Johanna‘s Grandparents
My paternal grandfather, C. P. Williams attended a Maria Woodworth Etter meeting in Hot Springs, AR where he received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues at 7 years old. He can remember standing beside the stage and watching “Mother” Etter lay her hand on a man who had no eyeballs in his eye sockets, and he showed C. P. and others around him the pea sized eyeballs growing back inside the sockets and by the end of the service his eyeballs were normal size, and he could see perfectly. There were other great miracles he witnessed while there. God used him mightily in the miraculous throughout his ministry and he trained many ministers and missionaries in the ministry of laying on of hands and praying people through to the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
My paternal grandmother, Mary Kraus was sickly and had a weak heart due to having had rheumatic fever as a young girl. There was a wild preacher, Joe Barnett, who had turned his wagon over in the little town street, old wooden pews had tumbled out of his wagon and he had jumped around in the middle of the street praising God and people thought he had lost his mind. What was not known was that someone had given him those pews, and God had told him to put them in his wagon and go. He asked God, “where?” and God told him that He would show him where to stop. Joe had travelled through several small towns and was getting weary when the wagon turned over and the pews and tumbled out. Bro. Barnett knew that this little town was where he was to preach. No preacher would allow him to preach in their church. So, he had set up a brush arbor on a vacant corner lot at the edge of town and began to hold services. My great Aunt Sibyl had pity on him after a week or two and began to attend his meetings as most people were shunning him. When Joe began to preach, God convicted Sibyl’s tender heart and she began to seek Him for the baptism of the Holy Spirit that Joe was preaching about. After attending two more weeks, Sibyl talked her mother, Daisy into going to one of the services. Mary asked to go, and she allowed her to go that one night only due to her weak heart. When Joe gave the altar call, Sibyl went to the altar for about the 14th time and Daisy and Mary for their first. The Holy Spirit filled both Daisy and Mary and they began to speak in other tongues, which bothered Sybil somewhat as she had been seeking so long. Not only was Mary filled, but she was also healed, completely! From then on, she had no more heart weakness. Sybil received the baptism of the Holy Spirit the next night.
Mary began to attend Bro. Opperman’s Bible and Ministerial Training School in Eureka Springs, AR and in 1919 travelled and ministered with Rev. Rex Humbard’s mother, Martha Childers. It was at the Bible school where she met C. P. Williams and they married in 1925. God used them mightily. There is one story of a brush arbor meeting in Mena, AR where people from all around, including the local fire department showed up as a great ball of fire could be seen rising from the brush arbor for 10 miles away. When the people came into the meeting, they saw it was not burning up and they cried out to God and many were saved.
C.P. and Mary Williams would later start the Christian Training Center in Tulsa, OK, that became The Apostolic College, a fully accredited Christian college in Tulsa, well before Oral Roberts University. This college would train and sponsor ministers and missionaries, many who were single women, who would minister all over the United States and in many countries of the World.
Mary almost died twice and had visitations to heaven, and I was there in the room her last day on Earth when she began to move her hand as if she heard music and then she pointed up and looked at me. I smiled and said, “angels” and she smiled and nodded. They had come to finally take her home. Throughout her life she had visions and dreams and was one of the best teachers of the Word of God I have ever witnessed, not only to us grandchildren starting when we were toddlers, but to the most intelligent minds assembled when she was attending Tulsa University and received her master’s degree at age 50.
My maternal grandfather, Stanley R. Hanby was about 9 years old when he saw his mother crying while his dad read the word of God on a Sunday morning. His mother, Emma was ill with stomach issues which this only made it worse. They had been told by the local Methodist preacher they could no longer attend the services. His older sister Ruth limped due to being injured by a runaway wagon that had dragged her over 500 feet at the age of 15 and she could not put her heel all the way down to the grown and had to walk on tip toe with that foot. The reason why they could not attend church as Ruth would fall out onto the floor and make strange sounds when the song “Rock of Ages” was sung by the congregation. The people of the church thought she maybe had a brain injury and they felt extremely uncomfortable with her display, even though each time this occurred she seemed happy and much at peace. Soon after the disassociation with the church, a wagon came swiftly up the long farmhouse driveway and his Uncle Clint told the family to come with him over to Uncle Davy’s house as they had a minister there holding prayer meetings and he said he thought they knew what was wrong with Ruth. When the wagon pulled up in Davy’s front yard and Emma and Ruth stepped onto the grass, both were healed instantly. Emma’s stomach no longer had pain and Ruth’s heel went all the way down to the ground. They went inside where the preacher told them Ruth had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the strange sounds she was making was speaking in other tongues!
By the time Stanley was 16 he was assistant pastor for a local minister who held tent meetings where many were filled with the Spirit and healed. One of those attending was a young woman whose mother had died in childbirth and she had been raised by a neighbor woman who died when she was 10 years old. She was then used as a servant by her adoptive family until she was old enough to leave and get a job selling shoes in Columbus, OH. She heard the music and walked down the block to the corner where a tent was set up. Stanley was playing the saxophone. The song they were singing was,
“Oh, I want to see Him look upon His face,
There to sing forever of His saving grace,
On the streets of glory there to lift my voice,
Cares all past, home at last, ever to rejoice.”
Frances Powell said to herself and to God, “I want to see Him” and went to the altar and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Later she would marry Stanley. She was my maternal grandmother. The day she died she looked up, smiled, and said, “Here I go”, closed her eyes, laid back on her bed and was gone. Stanley was what many called a Home Missionary in the 1940s and 1950s planting churches in OH and upper state New York some of which are still in operation. He also ministered and helped to raise funds for small churches across the United States.
I tell you this to build your faith for what you are believing for. Do you need healing of your body or soul today? Do you need provision or are you praying for a prodigal? Have faith! Be encouraged. Know that it is true. God is the same yesterday, today and forever and He still works miracles!
Father, I lift all who read this up to your throne. I pray for healings, fillings of your Spirit within them and for supernatural provision according to your will, in Jesus Name, Amen!
(I will read all questions and choose one a month to answer in this blog).