But prayer was not the only benefit the group had to offer. Robin Rose, a trained oncology nurse at Northwestern University who frequently volunteered on missions to Pine Ridge, agreed to assess Annetta.
“When I saw the wound, it was pretty significant. So I cleaned and dressed it, and told Annetta’s mother where I’d be for the next few days. I was also praying against infection because the wound was wide open.”
At one of the evening services, Belnita led Annetta into the building on crutches. Walking over to Lisa and Robin, she informed them her daughter was struggling.
“I could see that she was pale and lethargic,” Robin told me during a late 2019 interview, but I kept getting pulled away by other duties and wasn’t able to get back to her until the worship started.” By then, however, the fever had spiked.
By then, however, the fever had spiked, and Robin was seriously concerned. Annetta was manifesting all the symptoms of sepsis. If allowed to go unchecked, there was a real risk of major organ failure and even death (septic shock). “So I gathered her in my arms and carried her up to the altar.”
After the ladies prayed and sang over Annetta, she went out. The only question in Robin’s mind was, “Is this Holy Spirit, or is it sepsis?”
She did not have to wonder long.
Keeping an eagle eye on Annetta’s breathing, Robin noticed something was changing. Though the young patient remained unconscious, her color was returning.
“I went to this most beautiful place,” Annetta later recalled. “There was a playground with kids all around. I wanted to stay there, but the people told me it wasn’t my time yet.”
Suddenly coming to, Annetta sat bolt upright. The blissful playground delights gave way to a surrounding chorus of prayer. It wasn’t heaven — and yet, there was a connectedness, a sense of compassionate presence and unfolding miracle.
“My foot was uncovered and there was skin growing over the wound,” Annetta recounted with wonder undiminished by time. “It was healing before my own eyes. I never seen nothing like that in my life!”
Belnita was slack-jawed. “I seen that skin growing back over the deepest part of the cut,” she gushed. “I looked at everybody like, ‘Is this really happening?’”
Robin, with her trained nurse’s eye, found it amazing that the skin grew according to a natural pattern — but in fast forward.
“It began with the subcutaneous tissue, the fatty tissue, appearing like little starbursts — chu, chu, chu! Then, in quick succession, came what we call granulated tissue. It’s a very bloody, pink layer if it is getting good circulation. That’s a sign of healing, and we look for it when we change dressings. Last, we watched as a thin layer of outer skin, the epidermis, formed. It appeared kind of shiny. “I’ve seen healings, Robin added, “but never anything like that!
When the process was completed, Belnita looked at her daughter and asked, “Did that hurt? And she just said, ‘No, mom. It was tickling me!’”
When Belnita got home that night, she had Annetta lift up her foot so her unsaved husband could see it. “Look at this!” she said. “Look what the Lord did!”
Stunned at the sight of his daughter’s foot, whole and without even the hint of a scar, he began to weep. It was one of those moments when the heart wants to speak, but the lips refuse to cooperate.