(Investigator 57, 1997 November)

Go to any Pentecostal church and you'll get testimonies of healing.

The Hindmarsh Assembly of God (Adelaide) has a regular attendance of about forty.

Most individuals I asked have experienced physical or emotional benefits from faith. That included three former alcoholics reformed, strained marriages healed, finances and personal problems improved, and physical ills cured.

"We are victorious," said one speaker addressing the congregation. "We are born again. We are sons and daughters of God.  We are a holy people.  We are a kingdom of priests."

Chats with church members confirmed that remarkable changes happen.

The senior pastor, Robert Pascoe, was an alcoholic thirteen years ago but was cured after his conversion.

David Oakley, lay pastor, also was an alcoholic. "From 16 to 30 my life was drugs, parties and car crashes," he said. "I lived in gutters and under hedges.

"One morning in the Britannia Hotel God spoke to me audibly. He said, ‘If you don't give up drinking you'll be dead in a year.'"

Mr Oakley spent time in three clinics for drug and alcohol dependency and was "saved" the following year.

Ray Jones similarly said, "I was an alcoholic." His marriage was ruined and for 12 years he and his wife separated. Then by faith he was healed of alcoholism and his marriage restored. "I have no desire for drink," he said.

David Macdonald, a railway worker, had stomach acid rising up the esophagus due to a faulty valve. The acid caused ulcers and entered the lungs.  "I had to sleep sitting up," he said.  After prayer the condition subsided and tests showed the valve healed and without scar tissue.

Andrew was stung by a wasp in Vanuatu. "My hand swelled up," he said. "I had prayer for it at a prayer meeting. Then the swelling quickly went down."

Rosie Villani is back temporarily from missionary work in Columbia. She had rheumatism as a teenager for four years until cured, she said, by prayer.  Also: "I didn't do well at school. I was introverted. When someone called me an idiot I believed it."

Ms Villani spoke enthusiastically to the church about her teaching role at a Bible college in Columbia. Clearly she was no longer "introverted". "We are vessels in the hand of God," she said.