Howell B. Joiner's Debut Book
I was born December 22, 1933 in Loranger, Louisiana into a true Christian home where there was spiritual reading and prayer at the beginning and end of each day. Church attendance consisted of Sunday school and worship services in the morning and then back for evening services. The next trip to church was on Wednesday evening for prayer meeting. This routine of spiritual support was punctuated by frequent revivals, camp meetings and assembly meetings.
My father was a solid man of God, slow to speak, but when he spoke, his words were taken seriously and demanded respect. My mother was a respected minister of the gospel. My first memories are of farm life filled with the above described spiritual environment and topped off by traveling with my mother to revivals and other meetings
It cannot be said that I was not brought up in the proper way. Early in my life I felt strong feelings that I was to go into some form of service for God. The enemy of our souls also started working to convince me that I did not want to do that. Despite several years of trying to serve God, the devil was finally successful in getting me to head down the way of evil. I’ll not go into the details of that trip. The most I will say is that once I started the downward way, it snowballed, and it wasn’t long before he had burned so many bridges behind me that there seemed to be no way to return. As I look back now it is very plain to me that God had His hand on me all along, frequently protecting me from the enemy’s effort to take me into eternity unprepared to meet the judgment. The enemy kept my eyes blinded to the times when God’s mercy reached down to me, and he must have celebrated each time that I ignored God’s mercy.
Nearly fifty years went by without me making any effort to seek refuge in the Savior’s love or ask forgiveness for my sins. On March 6, 2001, I collapsed and was taken to the hospital. After the initial tests, I had to be given three units of blood before they could continue the diagnostic process. It took a few days to complete that process.
After all the tests had been done, the doctors involved called a conference with the surgeon, my family and me. I had already been given the results of the tests but not a plan of treatment. They had shown me pictures taken with a scope of the inside of my stomach which showed my stomach as a bloody mass of cancer. The conference began with the surgeon giving us a report on how bad the cancer was. At this point he said that he would have to take out all my stomach, and this would hopefully remove all the cancer. He then would put a feeding tube in my side to deliver nourishment to me. Also, he would bring my small intestine up and connect it to the esophagus, hoping that it would heal enough until at some point in the future I could take nourishment by mouth. At this point, one of my sons asked him about my chances of recovery. The doctor replied, “His odds of surviving surgery are between 15 and 25 percent. If he can do that and heal enough to start and complete chemo therapy, his odds of recovery would probably rise to 50 percent.”
With my background and knowledge, the greatest feeling of despair, fear and torment began to overwhelm my entire being There I was, after almost fifty yearcs of ignoring all ofc God’s dealings with my soul facing death with nothing to show my Eternal Judge but multitudes of transgressions and sins. The only thing I could see in front of me was the devil’s hell that I had heard about all my life. Needless to say, I began crying out to God for help, but it seemed all the prayers I tried to get through just bounced back. They had my surgery scheduled for March 20, 2001 which was ten days after the conference. His entire time was spent warring with the devil. Satan threw every evil mountain of trouble, distraction and obstacle to prayer into the mix, and after ten days of agony with no relief in sight, the day of surgery arrived. A minister was able to get into the prep room on the morning of surgery, and he prayed for me. His prayer had a touch of encouragement, but nothing had changed in my solemn destiny. Then arrived the hospital staff telling him to leave as they were taking e to surgery. In all my life, never had I taken a trip that weighed as heavy on me as the one down that hall on that stretcher. What was weighing so heavy was his question, “When my body takes the next stretcher ride will I be in it, or will I be in hell???”
As they started in the door at surgery they stopped and said, “Mr. Joiner, this room has not been prepared, and we are going to park you here in ate hall until the room is ready.” My thought was, “Thank God for some more time to pray.” The prayer that I prayed was as follows: “Dear Lord, forgive my many years of transgression and sins. Also forgive me for running from the work you had for me to do as a young man. If you still have something for me to do I am committing to you now that I will do whatever you lead me to do. That being said, the most important thing is, I have to be ready to come home. Save my soul and make me ready by forgiving all my sins.”
Now this is where words do not exist to describe the feelings of peace, love, joy, comfort, and forgiveness that flowed over my entire being both inside and outside. No words in any language can describe how I felt. Shortly after being taken into surgery, an anesthetic was given. All was peaceful as the sleep came upon me. At some point while the surgery was being performed, I became aware of my surroundings. I saw and felt nothing, but I was aware that they were doing surgery on me at that very moment. In fact, I was wondering if the trip to my heavenly home was beginning. Then I heard a clicking sound followed by the sound of a strong, crisp, clear voice making the following announcement, “Howell Joiner is going to be okay.” The announcement was followed by what sounded like all the multitudes of heaven singing and shouting the praises of God. Moments later it all went away, and the next thing I knew it was hours later and the recovery room crew was trying to wake me prior to taking me to a room. I slept the remainder of the day and all night.
The next day the surgeon came in and told me that he did not understand why the scans, pictures and tests had shown the cancer to be so much worse than what he found when he had me opened up. He told me that he had removed only 65% of my stomach and had taken biopsies everywhere so he could see how bad the cancer had spread. Now we would wait for the pathology results.
A few days later he came into the room pulled up a chair and sat down. He said, ”I don’t know how to tell you this. I painted a real dark picture before surgery. I have never seen anything like his. In all the biopsies we have taken we cannot find a single cancer cell. The only cancer cells we found were in the six and one half pound tumor mass and the damaged 65% of the stomach that we removed. Another thing that I have never seen is that for every cancer cell that was in the removed parts, there were two or more natural immune cells holding them captive.”
That afternoon an oncologist came in and explained the process of deciding which medicine to use to fight the type and the location of cancer, and to determine the method of delivering the medicine to the targeted cancer. He said, “In your case I see no reason to give you chemo, radiation or any other kind of treatment, as we have no target.” He suggested that I be tested on a regular schedule in case of any re-occurring cancer. Five weeks later I was back at work and have been going strong ever since. It is very clear to me that God not only saved my soul, He healed my body of cancer. I have taken all the follow-up tests including the five year CAT scan, blood work, and the upper and lower scopes. The results have come back clean and clear with no sign or return of any cancer. I thank God I have had the chance to tell what He has done for me many times and have had the joy of serving Him in many other ways.
Now being healed for over eight years, I consider every day a bonus day, and when I wake in the mornings, the first thing I say is, “Thank you for another bonus day and help me use it to serve you.” There is another point that I want to make before I close this article. In the prayer I prayed on that stretcher in that hospital hall I never once asked God to heal my body. At that point I was not concerned about my body—my soul was my only concern. When I told the Lord that if He still had something for me to do I would do it, I was not expecting to get to. Thank the dear Lord I am still here trying to do everything I can to share the story of my dear Savior, JESUS CHRIST.
Now that you have heard of my miraculous salvation and healing, I want to encourage those that are walking in God’s way to be true and faithful. Those that aren’t need to get on the upward way as soon as possible. The longer and farther you go the downward way, the harder and less likely it is that you will ever return and secure a home in heaven. If that is not done you will be doomed to the place that was prepared for the devil and his angels, the place I barely missed. Only His everlasting love and mercy lifted me out. Let us pray for each other that we will all be saved, and Heaven will be our eternal home.
With much Christian love, Howell B. Joiner
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Page Last Updated: 24 November, 2009
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