by Matt Helland
January 12, 2013
Today is my 34th birthday, and every year when I am back home, I get to hear the dramatic story of my birth retold by my mother. I was born in Chile, South America. The doctors had said I was dying in the womb be taken by Caesarean immediately. The only medical facility in the city that had an incubator was the local regional hospital. Once in, the anaesthetist gave my mother anaesthesia so she wouldn't feel the operation taking place, but unfortunately, they gave her too much anaesthesia. During the procedure, my mother stopped breathing. They bagged her and got her breathing again, but then left her in the hallway all by herself.
My mother is a nurse and knew that it was very possible that she might stop breathing again. The only nurse who came by told her that her infant was going to die. As she lay there, all she could do was pray the twenty-third Psalm, especially where it says, "Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me."
She recalls the feeling of a dark cloud coming down upon her, which she could only describe as a presence of fear and death. She was fighting for her own life and the life of her baby (me). As she prayed, she asked God to have other people pray for her at that moment because she felt she could not make it on her own.
Six months later, a friend of hers who lived in Alaska (remember that we were in Chile) told my mom that on Jan. 12 she was awakened with a sudden urge to pray for my mother and me. She had no idea what was going on, but somehow, this woman knew that we needed prayer, got out and kneeled for prayer beside her bed for about an hour until she felt the burden lift.
The story continues...
After being brought home, my parents had an incredibly sick child. Not everything was all right. The doctors later diagnosed me with Cerebral Palsy and told my parents that I probably would never walk nor talk. Cerebral Palsy is incurable and the doctors prepared my parents for what life would be like taking care of a child with CP. Every day my parents did therapeutic exercises with my little arms and legs, stretching them out and doubling them back again and again several times a day.
My parents always loved me and resigned themselves to the fact that they were probably going to have to care for me for the rest of my life, though they clung to the knowledge that there is power in prayer and God still does miracles today.
One of the people who was praying for me at that time was my Aunt Candy in California. She is a pastor’s wife and had weekly women's prayer meetings every Thursday and they spent that time praying together for my recovery. In fact, they did what the Apostle Paul did in the Bible (Acts 19:11-12) and mailed an anointed prayer cloth (actually a tissue) to my mother in Chile. My mother clipped it onto my pyjamas and one month later, all evidence of the Cerebral Palsy left my little body.
When we returned to the U.S. from Chile shortly before my first birthday, the doctors could not tell that I had ever been afflicted. It was a miracle, or dare I say, "I am a miracle!!
I am so grateful to God for my life and my healing. I am so grateful to my parents and to all our family and friends who continue to love and pray for me. I have now resided since 2006 in Amsterdam, and I cannot tell you how important prayer has been and continues to be in my life. Without it, I would not be where I am now and could not do what I am doing now. So today on my 34th birthday, I want to say thanks to God, my Heavenly Father, my loving parents and family (thanks, Aunt Candy!) and all our friends who even now are praying for me and my family.