Miracles come in all sizes
Steve Friskup of Muleshoe is a cowboy preacher and livestock auctioneer. CNJ file photo
Sister Rose Urban, pastoral associate at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Clovis, believes in miracles.
Urban is hoping to see God heal Father Edward Rivera — an Albuquerque priest who is suffering from cancer — through prayers to Kateri Tekawitha, a Native American woman who died in 1680 and is a candidate for sainthood.
“She needs just one more miracle to be declared a saint in the church, and we are praying for her intercession to cure Father Rivera,” Urban said. “We definitely believe in miracles.”
A lot of people do.
Rev. Frank Sherman of Clovis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church said it’s important to remember that miracles aren’t necessarily spectacular events.
“I think that a lot of so-called psychics try to play on the idea of miracles but I think that miracles come in various shapes and sizes,” Sherman said. “God is at work today and he does this work in various ways, but I don’t think he’s into changing water into wine or parting the Mississippi River, he’s more into changing individual lives.”
Permanent Deacon Bob Pullings of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church teaches Catholic doctrine to adults preparing to enter the church, and said the Catholic doctrine of miracles is sometimes difficult for people to understand. Pullings cautioned that people should not view miracles as a proof of Catholic doctrine but rather believe in miracles because they believe Catholic doctrine.
“There is a story of a man who prayed daily for a miracle so his tooth would stop hurting, but God had already provided a miracle by giving him a dentist,” Pullings said.
Pastor Rodney Shipman of First Assembly of God said his denomination teaches a different view with a strong emphasis that miracles can and do serve as means to bring people to faith in Christ.
“For the Assemblies of God (miracles are) a strong witness and testimony and it helps us reach people,” Shipman said. “We are blessed in the United States with so many doctors, but I believe one of the reasons the Assemblies of God are growing so rapidly in other parts of the world is it brings such a great testimony of how great God is and how much he does love the people.”
Shipman said people shouldn’t avoid doctors but rather view medical science as one way to prove miracles.
“People should not limit God and should believe he is a God who can do anything and everything,” Shipman said. “It is not that God lacks power or ability; if we believe in him there is nothing we cannot do. We are to believe what God can do and watch him come through again and again.”
Dr. Glenn McCoy, a religion professor at Wayland Baptist University in Clovis, said all true miracles center on God.
“So often we as humans make miracles ends within themselves or something to satisfy basic or deep needs that we have. That is not the purpose of miracles,” said McCoy. “The ultimate purpose of any miracle is to glorify God.”
McCoy said physical healings are a good example of a miraculous answer to prayer.
“I think of a physical illness that seems to be fatal or incurable otherwise. Even after the examination of a physician, the physician recognizes that something has radically changed for the better in the health of that person,” McCoy said. “What might appear to be an act of nature to one person, with another person would be perceived as a result of faith.”
However, McCoy said Christianity doesn’t teach that people should neglect medicine to seek miraculous cures.
“God has given us an intellectual capacity and physical strength to do many, many things for ourselves that we ought not to wait upon him to do for us,” McCoy said. “In a sense, his miraculous activities are an extension of our effort in areas that we are simply incapable of accomplishing what needs to be done.”
By Ryan Lengerich
What happened to Timothy Clem more than six years ago was a tragic accident. What has happened since then, his sister said, is a miracle.
On Sept. 1, 1997, Timothy was enjoying an afternoon at Greenbelt Lake outside Clarendon, Texas, near his hometown of Amarillo. His uncle was priming a carburetor with a cup of gasoline when a fire broke out. Instinctively, the uncle tossed the cup in the air and the flaming liquid landed on Timothy, consuming him in flames.
Timothy was 7.
His sister, Jennifer Lowry, was 18 when she saw her younger brother fighting for his life.
“When he caught fire and stopped, dropped and rolled he rolled in dead grass so it just burned more,” Lowry said.
Timothy was flown to a hospital in Lubbock. Lowry said her brother’s high tops were melted and his body badly burned. The fire spared only the skin on his feet, around his wet shorts, on half of his back and his face.
Timothy sustained burns on 77 percent of his body. Lowry said doctors told her mother the boy’s condition was critical.
“They told her when they first saw him that they don’t think he is going to make it but they’ll try their best,” Lowry said.
Timothy said doctors predicted the worse.
“They told me I might die; the only thing I could do was stay in the bed,” he said.
Timothy spent 51 days in the Lubbock hospital. Lowry said she had to wear hospital gloves, hair nets and masks as a precaution against germs when she saw her brother. Family members took turns visiting Timothy from their home in Amarillo.
“We had outrageous phone bills,” Lowry said.
But family members never wavered in their commitment to his recovery, she said.
“There were times when we would shower him, and we would have to climb in there with all of our clothes on and help him — it was crazy, it was sad,” she said.
Timothy quit breathing twice, only to be revived by doctors. Lowry said her mother didn’t know what to do.
“I was like, ‘All you can do, Mom, is pray; it is in God’s hand now. If it is his will ... then he will live,’” Lowry said.
Timothy said her sister would bring him music and toys and visit him every weekend. He loved his sister’s company.
Even as the boy’s condition improved, doctors feared the boy would never walk again.
But less than two months after the accident, Timothy pushed a beeper button to alert his mother who was sleeping across the street at a Ronald McDonald house. Lowry was with her Mom that night and answered the call.
“He said, ‘I want to get up,’ so I looked at him and I was like, ‘Are you sure?’” Lowry said. “It took him a minute to get out of bed, then he stood there for a minute and he told me, ‘I can’t,’ and I said, ‘Yes you can, you’ve made it this far,’ but it hurt so bad.”
Timothy said it was his sister that gave him the strength he needed to stand and walk.
“She was there and she kept telling me, ‘You need to walk, you know,’ and I said OK. So I got up and walked for her,” Timothy said. “I wouldn’t walk for nobody else, it was just wonderful.”
Timothy walked slowly down the hospital hallway, arm-in-arm with his older sister and nurse. As they turned at the hallway’s end, the three looked up to see Timothy’s mother standing at the door, crying.
“She just cried and cried,” Lowry said.
Now a healthy 13-year-old Tucumcari Middle School student, Timothy has fully healed from his most recent surgery in June to repair webbed skin around his underarms. His sister, now a 25-year-old volunteer at the Tucumcari Senior Center, said the experience has made her realize the importance of family.
“I thank God every day for letting him live.”
LILLIAN DUNN AND JOE LILES
By Angela Peacock
TUCUMCARI — Some would say Lillian Dunn and Joe Liles were miracle children.
Now they’re both senior citizens, living at Tucumcari’s Laurel Hills Care Center, where they are regulars at the dominoes table.
“I got ran over when I was 5 years old in Clovis,” said Dunn, who is 80.
“Me and a friend went for ice cream and when we turned the corner a truck hit me. I was unconscious for a long time, but woke up without any problems — so that ... is a miracle.”
Liles, 95, said he’s too old to remember much of his life’s details, with the exception of a trip he made with his mother through their back yard when he was 2.
“I was walking with my mother in our garden,” he said. “She disturbed a rattlesnake and when I walked by it bit me. I was unconscious for about two hours and I swelled up everywhere.
“Since people didn’t go to the hospital much back then the doctor came to visit us out in the country. I still have a scar on the inside of my left foot, but I guess that’s OK ’cause they didn’t think I was going to get well after that bite. ... I guess that’s the only story I know that is like a miracle.”
By Kevin Wilson
In his bestseller “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” Mitch Albom wrote that every end is just a beginning, only we don’t know it at the time.
On Sept. 15, 1984, in Ada, Okla., East Central thought it had the ending on a rout against visiting Eastern New Mexico University. A Kenny Bare touchdown reception had made the score 46-14 over the Greyhounds with 4:03 left in the third quarter.
What everybody found out in the next 19:03 of football was that it wasn’t the end, but instead the beginning to a comeback unbecoming of a team that would finish the season with a .500 record.
A 46-14 lead might be insurmountable for the current incarnation of Greyhound football and its run-heavy offense. That wasn’t the case for these pass-happy Greyhounds, led by NAIA All-America quarterback Kevin Kott and receivers that included Steve Jackson and Derrick Harden.
The 1984 Greyhounds were described by former faculty member Jack Scott as a team that, “threw on every down,” sometimes making games so long that Scott would arrive home from a football game at 11 p.m. and explain to his wife the only place he had been was Greyhound Stadium.
That passing attack was a key to getting back into that game, as Kott completed pass after pass to Jackson and Harden. Jackson and Kott hooked up on a 23-yard score with 1:57 left in the third quarter to start to comeback.
The Greyhounds followed with a 15-yard scoring grab by Derrick Harden, a 12-yard touchdown catch by Harden, a 17-yard reception by Jackson and a 30-yard score by Rodney Griggs to give the Greyhounds a 50-46 lead.
Kott ended up completing 34-of-52 passes for 500 yards and six touchdowns. The Tigers’ offense fizzled against a Greyhound defense that was stacked against the run. The Tigers followed up their final touchdown with a five-play drive, a three-and-out, a turnover on downs, and a failed fake punt to set up the Greyhounds’ final scoring drive.
“I told him if you can stop the running back from scoring you can beat them,” said Scott, who had scouted the Tigers the week before. “That’s just what they did.”
“They were killing us with the run, so we changed the defense,” said Clemon Carter, a defensive back on the team who now works at a utility company in Las Vegas, Nev. “I think we put seven, eight (guys) in the box and kind of stuffed them.”
After Griggs’ reception made the score 50-46, the Tigers still had 3:31 left to avoid the Greyhound heroics. East Central drove down to the ENMU 33, but an interception by Carter ended the threat. Eastern ran out the clock, finishing off a shocking game for all the Tiger fans who stayed expecting a win.
“It was quiet as a churchhouse mouse in the stadium,” Carter said. “I think half of them didn’t even believe (what they saw).”
The Greyhounds went to 2-0 after that game, but finished the season at just 5-5. That end brought new beginnings, as Don Carthel replaced Bill Kelly at coach and the Greyhounds joined the Lone Star Conference the following season. Kott’s 500-yard passing day is still an ENMU record, and the memory of a September miracle in Ada, Okla., is still on the minds of its participants.
“As far as I could remember, nobody gave up,” Carter said. “The attitude stayed positive, especially the defense.”