Johnstown Festival of Hope happened May 20–21, 2016, and featured a pulsating live concert, concessions, local talents & bands, free giveaways and prizes, and a message of hope by international speaker and author Johannes Amritzer, and was designed to rally our Johnstown community together around hope and an exciting future!
Friday, May 20 was held at the War Memorial Arena and saw an estimated 1200+ individuals in attendance to support local talent, enjoy performances by traveling band The Beckoning, Johnstown rapper MicTaylor, and singer Chuk Oduah, and to hear a message of hope by Johannes. In a delivery marked by his lovable Swedish accent and trademark humor, Johannes shared a bit of his past, full of rage and abuse. Everything changed, he remarked, when he encountered the love and forgiveness of Jesus! The message resounded in the 1000+ strong crowd, and nearly 100 people responded at the end of the night to receive forgiveness in Jesus!
The following night saw nearly 1000 individuals gather in spite of rain and inclement weather at Memorial Baptist Church for a “follow-up celebration” featuring more music by The Beckoning and another stirring message from Johannes, culminating in a powerful time of response with several more committing their lives to follow Jesus and several getting baptized in water!
Both nights were marked by what can only be described as verified “miracles,” including at least one instance of a person’s deaf ear being opened, a man abandoning his oxygen tank due to his lungs being healed, a terminal disease moving into the ‘tolerant’ category, several cases of chronic pain being completely eliminated, and more!
The event was hosted by New Hope Community Church, formerly CityReach Johnstown, a local church that ‘believes there is hope in Jesus.’ Lead pastor of the church and visionary for the event Josiah Smith commented, “My team and I are thrilled about what Jesus did at Festival of Hope: hundreds upon hundreds heard the life-changing message of the Gospel and experienced firsthand His love and power in their lives. It is my conviction that although [the 2016 Festival has ended], what happened is actually only the beginning of what God is up to here in Johnstown!”
Pinched Nerve in Neck Healed, Also Irritable Bowel Healed
When her son slammed her against a wall about a year ago, Mary dislocated a bulging disc in her neck, resulting in a painful pinched nerve. She had constant pain and numbness in her arms and hands, which affected her job as a cosmetologist. She would sometimes drop objects suddenly and had a “constant, stabbing pain” in her bicep, as she described it. She went to therapy often but nothing helped. Mary also had an irritable bowel and often dealt with stomach pain. On Friday night of the Festival after receiving prayer, Mary experienced no pain at all for the first time in a long time, and she could cartwheel her arm! She was planning on getting a nerve study but she doesn’t need it now! Also, her stomach was no longer in pain! Praise Jesus!
Weak Legs & Feet Healed
Donald had peripheral neuropathy in his legs and feet, and has had it for “a long time,” in his own words. He had to take medication for this neuropathy and had a lack of feeling in his legs and feet. He also was unable to stand for very long. On Friday night of the Festival, Donald suddenly sensed that his legs were “gradually getting stronger right now!”
Restored Ability to Walk Unsupported
Carol had osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, and a particular disease typified by damaged nerve endings in legs & feet. This left her in high pain for many years (she couldn’t remember the exact date the pain began) and she was unable to walk without support. During Festival of Hope, the Holy Spirit touched her, and she described that she experienced an Acts 2 kind of sensation, where she felt almost “drunk” in the Spirit (see Acts 2:1-15 for a Biblical example of this). Afterward, the pain was completley gone, and she was able to walk quite quickly without support!
Peripheral Neuropathy & Pancreatitis Healed
Alicia had peripheral neuropathy (diagnosed 8-10 years ago) & pancreatitis (diagnosed about 2 years ago), and this resulted in endless, intense pain. She took a pain pill first thing in the morning everyday and had severe pain in her hands, neck, shoulders, and knee — she couldn’t even hold her head up without having a terrible headache! Worst of all, doctors were unable to give her answers to her pain. But on Friday night of the Festival, Alicia encountered the love of Jesus which brought complete healing to her body! She was able to move and kneel without pain, her headache 100% subsided, the constant tension was gone, and there was no more “tightness or tinglies,” as she put it. Praise Jesus for chronic pain, gone!
Shoulder Healed & Pain Completely Gone
Sheila P. was in a car accident (and later a mishap on a horse) and broke her shoulder. For 10 years, she lived in pain, and her daily life was very limited as her hand and arm were unable to move. In her own words, her “shoulder was frozen.” At the Festival of Hope on Saturday evening, Sheila was completely healed! She was able to lift her arm up high and her pain was gone!
Joint Knee Fusion — Healed
Patricia had a joint knee fusion (an attempt to relieve pain where two bones on the end of a joint are fused, eliminating the joint itself), and was thus unable to bend her knee for the past two months since the surgery. Patricia was 100% healed during the Festival and can bend her knee and walk normally!
Oxygen Tank No Longer Needed, Lungs Healed
Mark couldn’t breathe and for 8 months had an oxygen tank connected straight to his lungs. This obviously affected his daily life as he couldn’t go outside and could barely breathe — he struggled even with simple physical activities like walking, as he would lose his breath. During prayer, Jesus healed Mark’s lungs so that the oxygen tank was no longer needed! He was no longer short of breath, could accomplish fast-paced walking up and down stairs without shortness of breath!
Constant Pain Gone
Kim had “sharp, burning, stabbing pain” for 30 years in keloids (raised scars) on her body. Keloids oftentimes form after a surgery or as the body’s natural way of healing an injury, but Kim’s formed naturally and not as a result to injury. The ongoing pain in her body even caused her to lose sleep, as she would be woken by the pain. But during the Festival on Saturday night, the pain was completely gone! Kim remarked, “He’s taken away the pain. I came in with pain, but He’s taken it away.” She still has keloids on her body and is believing for them to completely disappear.
Arthritis & Shoulder Pain Lessened
Royan had bone spurs, arthritis, and pain in his left shoulder “for many years.” The pain would sometimes be so intense that it caused him to cry. As he received prayer during the Festival, he commented that the level of pain in his shoulder significantly decreased!
Spinal Pain Healed
Brian had pain in his spine for the few weeks before Festival of Hope. The pain started seemingly without explanation, and made it difficult for him to move. He said the experience was “miserable.” On Friday night of the Festival, when our team asked him what Jesus did for him, he shouted, “Freedom! Jesus healed my back!”
Back Pain Gone
Sherry had suffered from constant pain in her back for more than 20 years, making it hard for her to move without pain. When she received prayer at the Festival of Hope on Friday night, the back pain went away for the first time since she can remember!
Severe Pain From Numerous Ailments Significantly Decreased
For 25 years, Debbie had “all kinds” of pain from a jaw transplant, neck surgery, back surgery, and spreading pain in her groin and down her back leg. When asked how it affected her, Debbie said, “I wasn’t myself.” Jesus healed Debbie of much of the pain, and she was able to stand and be physically active for a long period of time during the Festival with “only a little pain”!