The crunch of shoes hurrying over the gravel went unnoticed. The congregation was listening to the speaker with rapt attention that couldn’t be shaken. The solitary messenger slipped into the large imposing tent and stood nervously at the back, shifting from foot to foot in an agitated little jig as he contemplated what to do next.
He watched the speaker move across the raised platform at the front with confident fluid movements. Gripping his hat tightly with both his hands Oliver Skinner frantically racked his brains until he spotted a small, slight figure seated to a side of the platform just behind the speaker. The man had warm animated eyes and he followed the speaker with fixed attention. Slipping around the side of the crowd and keeping in the shadows the messenger Oliver managed to get within reach of the platform.
He gazed earnestly at the slight bright-eyed man until he caught his attention and then made a small gesture beckoning to him. The man did a slight double take before quietly slipping off the stage and walking up to Oliver.
“How may I help you sir?” the man asked politely as his eyes deftly sized up the caller.
“Please sir…there’s been an accident..it’s Dr Parrot…she says she’s been attending your meetings…says that the only way she can survive the accident is if you and that gentleman up on the stage come and pray for her” Oliver motioned towards the speaker, Daniel Bordeau with a slight movement of his head.
John Loughborough gazed at Oliver Skinner for a long moment before replying “where is Dr Parrot?” he finally asked
“At my home, not far from here at Piner…I can take you…I have a buggy waiting outside…please sir, we’re afraid she may not live to see daybreak”
Loughborough was silent as he weighed up his options. Finally, he quietly responded “Young man, I’m afraid we can’t dismiss our congregation on such short notice. Many have come from quite a distance and all of them have come with the expectation of having the word of God preached to them…we simply cannot disappoint them”
“Please Sir…she’s hurt real bad…she says a doctor won’t do her any good…she reckons that her only hope is you two tent preachers”
Loughborough shook his head sadly “the best we can do” he said slowly “is to come over first thing tomorrow morning. I’ll bring my wife Mary with me and we’ll come over to the Skinner place as early as we possibly can and we will pray that God will help Dr Parrot to hold on till then”
The next morning as dawn spread over Santa Rosa, John and Mary Loughborough made their way to the Skinner home. When they got there Oliver Skinner met them at the door and ushered them to the small room where Dr Parrot lay. She was pale and barely conscious and Oliver told them that she had required the assistance of four attendant throughout the night.
“What happened?” Mary Loughborough asked as she took in the scene before her.
Oliver Skinner explained that Dr Parrot had come out to visit his mother who had been very ill. After spending a week by her bedside the doctor was satisfied that her patient had recovered and had informed both her and her son that she planned to attend the Seventh-Day Adventist tent meetings being held in Santa Rosa. She had been to a few before she had been called away to help Mrs Skinner.
“I readied one of the horses for her, a real gentle one that is used to ladies but for some reason as soon as the doctor mounted the horse it began to buck violently. She was thrown to the ground and the horse fell right on top of her..fell so hard that it bent the saddle horn out straight” Oliver Skinner shuddered slightly at the memory “we thought she was dead for sure…no one could have survived that kind of an accident but we soon found that she was alive but barely…we asked if we should send for a doctor and but she said no…Like I told you yesterday she said a doctor could do her no good and that if the ministers at the tent prayed for her then she would be healed”
John Loughborough slowly absorbed the situation at hand.
“Anoint me and pray for me” Dr Parrot whispered after Oliver fell silent “I know the Lord will heal me”
Nodding silently John and Mary Loughborough knelt by her bedside and began to pray. When they had finished praying Mary Loughborough went over to the doctor’s side and anointed her. They continued in prayer and after some time, Dr Parrot began to pray with them in a loud voice pleading with the Lord for healing, then suddenly she clapped her hands together and sat up. “I am healed” she declared, slipping out of bed. She then proceeded to get dressed and began to help Mrs Skinner around the home. That evening she rode to the tent meetings in a lumber wagon.
Oliver Skinner had been an atheist up to that day but after Dr Parrot’s miraculous healing he became an enthusiastic witness of the goodness and power of God.