The Order of 
St. Luke the Physician

Lufkin, Texas Chapter  @ St. Cyprian's Church

                                      Miracles in the Hills


“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence commeth my help. My help commeth from the Lord which made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121)

Psalm 121 became especially meaningful for our daughter Holly, her husband Rusty, and their baby Thatcher.  Excited to be first-time homebuyers, they turned to God in prayer for guidance utilizing a cross that has an area in the center which opens and provides a “note holder” for special prayers. Their prayers were answered with a home near Canyon Lake in the Texas Hill Country.    

The special prayer cross received many additional prayer notes during her second pregnancy with Jack Gunnar. This baby was named after Holly’s grandfather and his name would prove to be a true reflection of his strong spirit. In fact, the name “Jack” means successor and “Gunnar” means strong soldier.   


In the fourth month of pregnancy, doctors discovered many physical problems with the baby as they did ultrasounds to determine his condition. The doctors initially were concerned the baby might be born with Down Syndrome or Cystic Fibrosis. They discovered one leg which appeared to be longer than the other and the baby had only one kidney and it was not functioning at a safe level. 

I brought this disturbing list of problems to my OSL group in Lufkin, Texas for prayer. I have been involved in OSL for many years and this was not the first time I had requested healing prayer. I sat in our group’s “hot seat” for my daughter and grandchild. My friends prayed and prophetically declared life and health to the unborn child. 

A few weeks later, the tests revealed that he was negative for both Down Syndrome and Cystic Fibrosis. The doctors also repeated a sonogram and discovered both of his legs measured the same length!   

Week by week, it appeared the one kidney he had was rapidly enlarging which indicated that the fluid was not draining.  Doctors felt the pregnancy would not reach full term and Jack Gunnar would be premature. They were certain he would need a kidney transplant or corrective surgery at birth and the specialists warned us of a strong possibility of brain bleed.

My OSL group prayed faithfully, whether I was present at our weekly meetings or sending them news from Holly’s house, where I often stayed to help. Our OSL leaders’ motto is that we “persistently pray for our children” and they kept up the prayer vigil for Holly and the baby every week. 

     Further into the pregnancy, Holly became very ill. She thought she might even lose the baby. More prayers went up on her behalf.  She was diagnosed with low potassium from which she recovered quickly and the pregnancy was saved!

Holly’s due date was March 28, but Jack Gunnar arrived on February 7, seven weeks early at 5 pounds, 11 ounces.  In order to relieve the fluid pressure from the one kidney, doctors inserted a bypass tube and external drainage bag for urine until baby Gunnar could manage corrective surgery.  He did not need a kidney transplant at birth as predicted!

Within a few hours after the birth of our grandson, I went into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to hold Jack Gunnar for the first time. While rocking him, I observed the Power of God working HIS miracles through the hands of loving and caring health providers throughout the unit. There were babies that weighed less than three pounds receiving this special care. I was reminded of the words from Ron Harris’s song, “In This Very Room,” with the lyrics “there’s quite enough love and quite enough power to chase away any gloom, for Jesus, Lord Jesus is in this very room.”  At that very moment, the walls of the NICU seemed to extend 300 miles east where the OSL Prayer Warriors of Lufkin were lifting Jack Gunnar to the Lord for healing.   

Holly left the hospital four days later, leaving Jack Gunnar behind in the NICU.  Every day she would drive down from the hills to the hospital to nurse Jack Gunnar and be with him. Rusty would come by the hospital to help feed him and gently offer his prayers, which always ended “in the sweetest name I pray.” 

After five weeks in the NICU, Jack Gunnar was released from the hospital and brought home to his two-year-old brother, Thatcher. During the next five months, the doctors monitored Gunnar. In July, it was determined that surgery was required to correct an obstruction in the ureter. 

Prior to the surgical procedure, the doctor explained how he and his team would perform the surgery. At the end of his explanation, he pointed toward heaven and gave God the credit for being with his team and with Jack Gunner. During surgery, the doctor did find a double obstruction at the top of the kidney that he removed and reconnected the ureter.

Jack Gunnar, now six months old, has recovered from surgery.  Little Gunner decided that he no longer needed his nephrostomy tube, and pulled it out himself! Fortunately, the doctor agreed that the tube could stay out as his kidney was functioning as God intended. Weeks before, Holly noticed that he was making many wet diapers and worried that something was wrong, not aware that his body parts were working! After so many months of checking the equipment, Holly was amazed as she happily realized that his wet diapers were normal!   

Holly explained that their prayer cross serves as a prayer altar, a focal point in their home where they can turn to the Lord, knowing that He sees and hears their prayers. Rusty and Holly’s faith has been tested and strengthened. Throughout this ordeal, they have trusted God for the outcome, their faith renewed a million times over. They feel blessed that God chose them to take care of Jack Gunnar.  They know that God has a great plan for him and part of that plan was to bring them, the parents, to a new level in HIM.

From the very start, the prayers for healing for baby Gunnar flowed to the very throne room of heaven. The faithful prayers from family, friends, and co-workers in the San Antonio area, the swamps of Florida, the urban and farm lands of Central Texas and the piney woods of East Texas (including the parishioners of St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church and the members of the Order of St. Luke in Lufkin, Texas) were answered! Praise Be To God




Cathy Blanks, member of Lufkin, Texas, Order of St. Luke

Story published in Jan/Feb, 2010 issue of Sharing Magazine, an Order of St. Luke publication.


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