The congregation on Sunday thanked the Lord for a miracle granted two days before, prayed that a Godly intervention would stop a case of colon cancer and welcomed a new member to the Triumph Learning and Worship Center for Life.
It sounds like a busy Sabbath, but that’s the way things have been going at this small Saraland congregation ever since members noticed a 2-foot tall buckled piece of drywall they say resembles Jesus Christ on the cross.
“I don’t care if it’s a piece of dried Sheetrock,” Pastor Ella Roberts said from the pulpit. “I don’t care if it’s a piece of toast or a potato chip! I care about God! If He can die on a cross and rise in three days, who are we to question His actions?”
The image on the wall appeared 4 feet up the wall after flooding by Hurricane Katrina damaged the church. Members of the congregation say numerous miracles occurred to those who have used the drywall as a prayer tool.
Since a March 21 article in the Press-Register made the image public, more than 1,000 visitors have stopped by, the church has expanded its hours and more seats have been added to accommodate the swelling congregation. Seven people have become members, and the congregation now regularly has visitors from other churches.
Those are just the tangible signs.
Roberts said the 150 or so church members have never been more unified. There’s a feeling of love that continues to inspire many folks who walk in the door, she said.
Not everyone who comes through the door has a grand revelation, Roberts said. Most people express some sign of excitement or praise, though, she said. Some have questioned whether the image is that of the man who Christians believe is the son of God.
“Not everyone will see the image of Jesus,” Roberts said. “There was a time when I wouldn’t either. I wouldn’t recognize someone I didn’t know. You have to have a relationship with God. If you don’t, hopefully this will help start the relationship.”
On Sunday, the 84 people in attendance at the service gave praise for what they say is another miracle that has occurred in the church, which is located in a small retail-style building on Industrial Avenue.
Lessie Welch, of Fairford, walked confidently to the front of the church by herself on Sunday. That’s something she wouldn’t have done without assistance last week.
For 15 years she had been blind. An operation in her right eye two years ago returned some of her vision.
“My doctor said my left eye was gone,” she said. “The doctor said my left eye couldn’t work. But Dr. Jesus didn’t say that.”
On Friday, she put her hands on the wall and instantly felt a sharp pain shoot up her arm. When she opened her eyes, she could see from both, Welch said.
Others who have prayed at the image since it appeared claim to have had ailments remedied, including depression, high blood pressure and kidney disease.
Michael Scott hopes he’ll have a story to tell himself.
The 46-year-old Mobile man has been diagnosed with colon cancer. He said he’s a strong believer in Christ, and he wanted to try praying with the image.
“Everyone has been talking about this wall,” he said. “I’m believing what the pastor said. I’ll be healed.”
He held his hands against the image Sunday and prayed as tears trickled down his cheeks.
Valarie Kidd was one of those praying with him Sunday. She started attending the church after hearing about the image on the wall. When she prayed with the wall, she said a stomach problem that had nagged her for years cleared up. She officially joined the church this weekend.
“Jesus is real,” she said. “The healing from the wall has strengthened my faith.”