Does preaching sermons out in the middle of a jungle sound appealing or frightening to you? What about sharing your testimony on a regular basis to people who have never heard the gospel before? This challenge scared Jessie Breymaier, a junior social work major at Anderson University, before leaving on her two-month adventure to Peru. But she soon realized that, with God, anything is possible.
“During training camp, I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” said Breymaier. “I had never felt comfortable sharing my testimony and honestly didn’t feel like I really had one. Throughout my experiences over the two months, I realized that I was a living testimony for God, and by acting as his disciple, I discovered where joy comes from.”
When Breymaier’s team asked who would give the first sermon to the men and women at a prison, Breymaier’s hand went up first. “That was definitely God raising my hand,” said Breymaier. “I’ve never given a sermon before and I thought there was no way I would be able to give the first one of the trip. As I scrambled to my Bible to find scripture, God automatically led me to the right passage to preach to these people and prepared my heart for something radical.”
Following the subtle prompts she received was the right thing to do, Breymaier said. “Over 80 percent of the people in the prison gave their lives to Christ within the very first week of our trip.”
Breymaier traveled with her team down the Amazon River and stopped at many villages to speak about God and his unconditional love. Little did Breymaier know that at one of the villages, her life would be changed forever.
One day, three members of Breymaier’s team decided to go out and pray. While they were walking aimlessly through the jungle, they came across a secluded house where a crippled man lived. The man could barely move and walked bent over at a 90 degree angle, but he still needed to provide and take care of his family. Breymaier joined the three girls and prayed over the crippled man, asking that he would be healed and able to walk again.
One evening, Breymaier was giving a sermon about how big God is and how people can’t limit what he can do. Using a walking stick, the crippled man made a hard journey to listen to what she had to say. “I couldn’t believe what happened before my eyes,” said Breymaier. “It was amazing that the man even walked to our campsite, let alone go through what was about to happen.” Breymaier and her team prayed over the crippled man’s back and after several long moments, the man started to straighten out his back. “Two of my teammate’s hands were on the man’s back and they could feel his spine straightened out,” said Breymaier. “After that, the man was walking around everywhere! The man accepted Jesus into his life and walked back to his house with his walking stick dragging behind him.”
After witnessing God healing the man’s back, Breymaier discovered how real the Holy Spirit is. “Third world countries need the Holy Spirit,” said Breymaier. “In America, we depend on our own resources and tend to go to God as a last resort. But in those countries, there are so many who are humble and reliant on God because that’s all they have.”
Breymaier witnessed many other miracles on her journey through Peru and shares her stories with her family and friends back home. She is pursuing a degree in social work with a minor in criminal justice, and she hopes to work with sex trafficking victims in the near future.
— Laura Overman is a senior from Anderson, Ind., majoring in communication arts. Overman is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the sixth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.