Chaplain Mariya praying with another military patient at the time of her experience.
An wondrous experience of former Navy Chaplain and Coronado resident Rev. Dr. Deborah Mariya is featured in the recently published book Miracles & Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Military Chaplains.
Edited by news reporter Nancy B. Kennedy, the book collects 50 unique experiences in the lives of current and former military chaplains.
Chaplain Mariya’s chapter, entitled “A Marine’s Prayer” involves a young Marine’s life-or-death operation for spinal cancer. Rev. Mariya was then serving as chaplain for the cancer ward as well as Protestant Chapel pastor at National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, and for the hospital ship USNS COMFORT.
“It was a demonstration of the miraculous power of prayer,” said Mariya, recalling the incident. “A young Marine—18 or 19 years old—was diagnosed as having a growing tumor in his spine, a tumor that could not be treated by radiation or chemotherapy. The presence of the tumor was verified by all methods—MRIs, CT scans, other techniques. The only treatment that could allow him to survive was a 24 hour surgery that could leave him paralyzed.”
“I got to know him in the weeks prior to the surgery,” remembers Mariya. “On the night before the surgery, I gathered with his family in his hospital room to talk and pray. We prayed like never before, asking God to see him successfully through the long operation that would involve four teams of doctors working in tandem.”
“After a last prayer during the final preparations the next day, the Marine’s family left the hospital for a break—it would be hours until they heard anything about the operation. I went to attend to other hospital business.”
“About an hour into the 24-hour operation, the lead surgeon asked for me to come to the recovery room. I recalled thinking ‘this is a bad sign.’ But when I met the surgeon and the Marine—now awake—the surgeon told us the tumor was gone. The Marine thanked the doctor, but the surgeon shook his head and said, ‘We didn’t do anything. When we got to the spot, it was just gone.’”
“It was unbelievable—the family couldn’t believe they were talking about the right patient. But all the tests now indicated the tumor was indeed gone and there were no more symptoms.”
“I know there are miracles,” smiled Mariya, “because I saw one. Never doubt the power of prayer.”
Released in April, the book is now available from Leafwood Publishers of Abilene, Texas, http://www.leafwoodpublishers.com
or by order from bookstores or Amazon.com.