The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Woman Healed of Cerebral Palsy Through Vision

By Rick Settoon
The 700 Club - At an age when other children were enjoying life's innocent moments, Marlene Klepees had to face its cruelest tortures. Weighing less than two pounds at birth, she developed cerebral palsy, a disorder that left her crippled.

At her public school, it wasn't easy. "I did not have very many playmates," Marlene remembers, "because what could you do or who could you spend the night with?"

This wasn't the only tragedy wrenching young Marlene. When she was only 1 year old, her parents died in a motorcycle accident. She was reared by great-grandparents and later by foster parents.

But at 12 years of age, when some friends brought her to a youth rally, she committed her life to God. Young Marlene thought she'd finally found the father she'd always needed.

"I was His, and He was my Dad -- and that was it forever," she declares. "I just thought that if I was born with cerebral palsy, I must be born with it because God created me that way. I didn't realize He wanted people healed. I didn't realize He wanted good things for everyone, so, at first, I just thought, Well, there's got to be a reason for it. He's smarter than I am."

During her teenage years, Marlene suffered numerous spasms caused by muscular surgery. These attacks were sometimes so violent they left her attendants with broken bones. After one severe spasm, Marlene was left almost totally paralyzed. Her vision, along with the rest of her condition, grew progressively worse.

In December 1980, as a last resort, Marlene was taken from her home in Missouri to the world's finest hospital, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Her former nurse, Nancy White, remembers her condition. "Marlene was a spastic quadriplegic and pretty much depended on other people to provide for her needs. She needed someone to help her get in and out of bed, in and out of her wheelchair, and to help her go to the bathroom. She was pretty much dependent to the point where she really didn't do a lot physically herself."

Dr. Glen White was Marlene's recreational therapist. He witnessed Marlene's extensive treatment and worsening condition. "She didn't have really any control of her head or her neck. Her head was sort of tipped back, and her lips and tongue were kind of swollen and drooling. That is a very tough state to be in. Reviewing team notes and team meetings, the staff was thinking that there wasn't really a lot of hope for recovery."

Being sent to a nursing home was Marlene's greatest fear.

"As best as I could, I just yelled to heaven and I said, 'God, stop!'" Marlene recalls. "In other words, 'Just get out of here,' but He didn't.

"You could just feel God's love and His presence, and it came all around me, and it was really, really warm," she continues. "God showed me in a vision that He was going to heal me. He showed me the inside of a church. The church had light-colored woodwork. The doorknob was a triangular glass-colored doorknob. And then the vision showed me in a rust-colored stretcher and people gathered around praying for me. There was a man in a pinstriped suit. Then God showed me a picture of myself out riding a bike on beautiful green grass, and it said 'March 29th' in just great big bold letters -- that was three weeks away."

But three weeks passed, and nothing happened. Marlene thought she would be healed in Missouri, but on March 28, the day before the date given in her vision, she found herself still in Rochester, still degenerating, still knowing no churches in the area.

She pleaded with God and believed He told her, of all things, to have the nurse look in the Yellow Pages under 'churches' the next morning.

"I just kept saying, 'Yellow Pages' over and over, and she went and got them. I started flipping through them, and it glowed off the page. It said 'Open Bible, Scott Emerson' with a phone number."

"My wife honestly thought the person calling was drunk because the speech was so slurred," says Pastor Scott Emerson of New Life Open Bible Church. "She handed the phone to me, and it was very difficult to understand Marlene. She started asking me lots of questions about what the church believed. She asked about healing -- did we believe in healing? Did we pray for the sick? Have we ever seen a miracle? I answered several minutes' worth of questions. And she said, 'OK, you're the one. You can come see me.' And I thought, 'I can come see you?'"

So a skeptical Scott Emerson answered the call. He arrived at the hospital in a pinstriped suit. Marlene told him he looked identical to the man praying for her in the vision.

"She described how the pews were arranged and remembered the colors within the church," Emerson remembers. "'There were some swinging doors that entered into the sanctuary,' she said. `There are windows with diamond shapes in them,' and there were. She described everything in great detail, never having been in the church. When somebody begins telling you things like that, you take note of it."

Emerson then took Marlene to his church. She had to be strapped in because her body was jerking so wildly.

"She was all scrunched up," says church member Lucille Bernard. "I thought to myself, `My, I didn't realize that it was going to be somebody this bad. Lord, this is going to have to be You.'"

Emerson had never had a miracle take place in his church.

"They gathered around me to pray," Marlene remembers, "and the pastor said, 'I don't know how to pray.' But he asked God to heal me from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. And then they asked if I wanted to stand up on faith."

"Immediately upon lifting her out of the chair, we began to feel strength coming into her legs," says Emerson.

"She took a hold of the back of the pew, and she just leapt," Lucille Bernard recalls.

"My feet hit the floor, and I felt the floor for the first time in my life," Marlene says with a smile.

"Her knees and her toes pointed together, and everything was pointed in," remembers Emerson. "But with each step that she took, they started to straighten out. And as her toes and her knees straightened out, she got stronger and stronger. She took a few steps on her own, and then was literally running around the church."

"Then she started into going on a little bit of a dogtrot around the church," says Lucille. "Finally, she began praising the Lord and going around. And I tell you, you talk about the glory of the Lord -- we just shouted. The presence of the Lord was so real."

It was real enough for another miracle that night for the small congregation of seven.

"My eyes got really warm, and God told me to take off the glasses," Marlene recalls. "And when I did, my vision was perfect."

Lucille was astounded. "All of a sudden, she put her glasses aside. 'I don't need these anymore,' she said, and you could understand her. I was there -- nobody could tell me that was anything but the Lord."

After church, Marlene wanted to do something she'd never been able to do -- hold and eat an ice cream cone. At the ice cream parlor, they saw her therapist.

"I was surprised," Dr. White declares, "because one of those people I saw was Marlene, and she wasn't using a wheelchair. She was walking, and I just couldn't believe it."

Marlene's return to the hospital caused quite a reaction.

"The time from when she had left to when she came back was probably a two-hour period at max," remembers Nurse White. "It was quite a dramatic difference to see her return walking."

The Mayo doctors needed only to discharge Marlene to her home in Missouri.

The hospital records read: 'You returned to the rehabilitation unit that evening walking, something you'd never done since your admission to the unit. And when I saw you back at the clinic some weeks later, you'd improved even more. All signs of previous abnormality were gone. You were able to walk perfectly normal, and your eyesight had improved so much that you did not need to wear spectacles. We were all very thrilled and happy with the outcome of your condition.'"

Marlene's life has been normal for more than 20 years. She's attended Missouri Wesleyan College and has traveled through the Midwest sharing her amazing story. It's much easier to do things now, like arranging flowers in her floral shop -- and, oh, yes, she enjoys riding her bike through the countryside just as she'd seen in her vision years before.

"I was in a desperate situation, and there was no place else to go but to Jesus Christ with my life -- and here I am. I'm healed. I'm normal. There's nothing that I can't do that everyone else does."

"I've always believed in the power of God and I've read the Bible stories," saysEmerson, "but we were seeing a Bible story in action -- something right out of the book of Acts. It was like the lame man that Peter and John said, 'Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ, get up and walk.' And the Bible says, 'The man went walking and leaping and praising God.' We were seeing that happen -- not something 2,000 years ago, but something that day, 1981."

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