Friends wept and cheered as they watched David George "come back" before their eyes. The Houston outreach pastor was just a shadow of his usual bubbly self when he began to speak at Bread of Life Church for the first time since suffering a severe brain injury in a traffic accident. But then, in the course of minutes, he supernaturally began to regain the speech and memory doctors had warned may not fully return even after months.
George's remarkable healing stunned members of the church--and has gone on to have a dramatic impact at scores of other churches across the country and even overseas as people have watched a videotape of his rapid recovery. Healings and other miracles have been reported as congregations witness the miracle on tape.
A former missionary-evangelist who has been on staff at the church for two years, George did not recognize even his own office or members of the congregation when he went back to Bread of Life for the first time after two weeks in the hospital. A head injury in an accident had left him with massive memory loss and slow speech.
Senior pastor Dusty Kemp invited the much-loved, 49-year-old minister up to say a few words as the collection was being taken--and the church's video team captured a healing that took place without specific prayer or the laying on of hands. Looking confused and speaking slowly, the tape shows George haltingly tell the church how he trusts God despite what has happened.
"I'm not asking God to take me out, I'm asking Him to take me through," he said. People applaud as he begins to remember Bible verses and recognize members of the congregation. His speech speeds up, and he remarks that the pain in his back has gone.
"I don't know what's happening," he comments. "I just know one thing: He is here." People begin to file forward to the altar as he invites them to receive prayer. "I would rather go to heaven sick than go to hell well," he says, and asks if anyone wants to receive Christ.
Although the church has experienced an ongoing move of God in the last few years, the transformation astonished Kemp, who said it was "the most phenomenal thing I have ever seen in my life." At the close of the service he expected to see "a vastly improved David George, but I saw my friend totally and completely restored before my eyes."
Two days later, George returned to the hospital to begin what he had been told would be months of daily rehabilitation--only to be pronounced completely well and discharged on the spot.
"It blew them out of the saddle," George said. "Nurses started crying."
Dr. A.R. Griver, medical director of Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Humble, Texas, confirmed that George had suffered "significant memory deficit" in the accident. Although George's overall prognosis had been good, Griver said that "he did make a fairly dramatic recovery, very quickly, in the course of the service." He said that George's recovery was "unusual."
"Faith is a very powerful medicine," Griver added.
Word began to spread about what had happened, and within a month Bread of Life had received more than 1,500 requests for copies of George's healing, including requests from 18 foreign countries. Tim Kelly got hold of a copy of the tape to show at Gateway Fellowship Church of God in Macon, Ga., where members had prayed for George.
"It was phenomenal," he said. "We gave an altar invitation, and there were healings and miracles taking place in our own sanctuary--as a result, I believe, of the faith level being built by seeing [the video]."
At New Hope Church in Duncanville, Texas, pastor David Smith said screening the video resulted in "some significant healings that have literally changed lives."
"One man who had been walking with a cane and had five or six back surgeries...threw his cane down and got touched," Smith reported.
As Bread of Life continues to field requests for copies of the tape, George is back to full-time ministry, which includes overseeing a network of "neighborhood churches" being established in troubled apartment complexes. He has been invited to lead occasional services at the rehabilitation hospital and said that the video was scheduled to be shown to Death Row prisoners in Texas.
"The response we are getting everywhere is the same; the presence of God comes in and touches people's lives," he said. "People are getting saved, miracles of healing are taking place--from watching a video?
"It still boggles my mind," he added. "This isn't about us. It's about Jesus being exalted."