COVID-19: Church Has 13 Positive Cases, but Chooses to Focus On Prayer and God's Miracles


Johnny Brady, Senior Pastor of Fellowship of The Nations, has had 13 positive cases of COVID-19 within his church congregation. Through all of the hardship and emotion that comes with loved ones being ill, they choose to focus on the power of prayer and witness God's miracles.

"We had a lot of people who were concerned, a lot of people praying, but when they started seeing God move. . . A lot of these [people] are seeing God in a tangible way that when I pray and I talk to God, that God is listening and he's actually hearing me. I think that really is strengthening their faith in their ministry. They know God's powerful now."

Mentioned Resources:

Fellowship of The Nations

Fellowship of The Nations Facebook Page

Masks for All

Houston Responds COVID-19 Resources


Transcript:

Tommy Rosson:

This is Tommy Rosson with Houston Responds. Thank you so much for joining us today. Today I'm just really blessed to be able to share the story of senior pastor Johnny Brady, who's the senior pastor of Fellowship of The Nations here in the North Channel area of Houston. Thank you for joining us today.


Johnny Brady:

You bet. My pleasure, Tommy.


Tommy Rosson:

So tell us just real quickly a little bit about your church.


Johnny Brady:

Well, we planted the church about 20 years ago and it's just a Jesus church. We're not affiliated with anybody but Jesus. And, we really focus on helping the believer become everything that God's created us to be. And so every member's a minister, every minister has a ministry. It really, my job is to help them be successful in what God called them to do. And so as a result, we've got different ministries. We're Fellowship of The Nation, so we've got a baby nation, kid nation, student nation, all that. But we also got, we have a fighter nation, so we've got a box in ministry. One of the top gyms in the country. Even Evander Holyfield son is, he's working out there, part of that ministry, he turned pro so we've got, he's already at four fights, four and 0 so he's rolling. And then we've got hope nation. We've got freedom nation, a prison ministry. We've got different types of nations that have the Spanish nation. We have our old Spanish service. So that's really what our ministry is about, is helping people to become all the God wants them to be,


Tommy Rosson:

well, you know, you've got a great church and it's exciting to hear that, but you had just a horrible experience over the last month, month and a half where you've had 13 people within your congregation be diagnosed and have to go through COVID-19. Tell us what it's like to be a pastor through that process and a little bit about these congregants who got this disease.


Johnny Brady:

Well, we got slammed. That's all we did. We got slammed. And this is not just people who are in the congregation. Everybody's important. But we're talking about people who are two of my board members and one of the guys who, he and I went to kindergarten together, he was in ICU, so we had three people. The other one was another board member, Tiller McGee and his wife and I, we graduated together. So these are dear friends. And so we just kind of focus mainly on prayer Tommy, that that's what we did. So right when all of them. They went in and it was like immediately they went on the ventilator and then we're like, okay, Jesus, come on. So we started, what the Lord led us to do. We pray every day at noon on my Facebook page and just have people, you know, joining in and you know, how if you've got any needs, whatever.


So that's what we started doing. Even our, I didn't tell you this, even our student pastor's husband got it. I mean, we're talking, it's hitting close to home. My, our financial secretary. I mean, it's just crazy. I was getting these phone calls and like you gotta be kidding me, how are you feeling? Are you going in? You know, so most of them got through it at home. Some of them had to go into the hospital for a little bit and then they left. But these three, two of them are still in the hospital. And so we've just kind of focused on prayer. We're believing God is healing. Here's another miracle. Gail Burhmaster the third one who went in literally took her off the ventilator. They pulled the plug on her, her daughter, you know, said she had power of attorney, you know, that's how they kind of worked out.


Anyway, she said my mom didn't want to be living on a respirator. Took her off and Fred, her husband, you know, he's up all night waiting for the phone call that you know, she's passed. I call the next day and said, how are you holding up man? I just got a phone call. She's breathing on her own. We're like, come on Jesus. I mean, this is amazing. Even after they took her off when they took her off the ventilator and they're also pulled out the feeding tube. And so he noticed she hadn't even been fed for three days. So he had to get that working. I mean, it's miracle. So now she's in a regular room, she's responding and God's powerful. I mean, he's the All-Mighty God. And he's shown us in his last days what he's all about. And so I don't think this global pandemic, I don't think it was an accident.


I think it's God's way of getting our attention and letting us know that I'm not gonna be pleased with all the idols you may be serving. You know, I'll shut down all the sports and all the concerts and everything else that goes along with it. I want to be first in your life, and that's what we've seen. So that's what we've kind of pastored. Yeah.


Tommy Rosson:

So some of these, you know that you talked about those three cases, all of them were in the ICU for a very long period of time. Is that correct?


Johnny Brady:

Oh, absolutely. Yeah. We're talking about, the two that are still in there have been in there over 42 days. So you know, just now the Tillary like two days ago, three days ago, get out of ICU. So, and same with Gail and I mean it's serious. And I want to tell you with Termite, I did a Bible study on, cause the Lord just gave me this word instantly.


It's not what through all the times that Jesus heals somebody, instantly they, they were healed. Right? Well, I mean we didn't know it's all God, right? Yeah. We were praying for Termite because his kidney levels were bad. His liver enzymes were bad. I mean everything was just kind of negative. And I'm telling you the next day as we were praying, she gets a phone call. Cindy, his wife, because she gets a phone call from a nurse and just saying, yeah, well you know, we were talking to him and she goes, what do you mean you're talking to him? She goes, yeah, well they took the ventilator out. I mean, he woke up and he's breathing on his own, took the ventilator out, the feet...we're like, she goes, what? I mean, that's how quick it happens. So when you have God moving like that, it just strengthens your faith. I mean, you're like, okay, this is a real deal, man. God is an awesome God.


Tommy Rosson:

Yeah, that's great. And I'll be honest with you, I'm glad we're talking now, probably been a few weeks ago cause you know, you're definitely seeing that coming through and seeing these, the backside of this is great. Tell us what it's like to go through this emotionally as a pastor to lead a congregation. I'm sure you've been doing a lot more than your noon prayer services.


Johnny Brady:

Yeah, we have. RJ starts out around five o'clock. You know, we do our Bible study time prepared and whatever, but it just, I mean, when you have two of your best friends in the world in ICU and it's not looking good, you get really tense in your prayer this more than, you know, God bless me and I hope you have a good day and no, it's you're in it to win it type thing. And one morning, I mean, it was about 3:15 in the morning and I'm laying there, woke up and it was like as soon as I'd wake up, I'd start praying and I just told the Lord, I said, am I doing something wrong? You know, am I not praying right? Do you know what I mean? Teach me, you know, this is 30 something days in it, you know, teach me, what is it?


Do you know? And so I laid there and this is what I heard from the Lord. Stand and see, just stand and see. It's like instead of all of this, ah, you know, begging God, whatever, there was a point where he just said, stand and see. And that's when God kind of changed, you know, the way we were praying and then I just started thinking, God, I'm just going to watch, you know, and it took the stress. If you don't know, you got your best friend's dying, you know, you feel this pressure and it feels like it's up to you. God fights our battles. God is the one who heals. He hears our prayers and even sends angels. We just did a little mini-series. He sends angels to bring healing. I mean, I didn't even think about that. Tommy. And the Lord brought that to my mind. And all the different times of the angels are being aware. And so what we've done is we've taken our chapter as a church has been Psalm 91. I've encouraged everybody to read that every night. Say it as a prayer, and then we just broke down the different parts of that. And whether it's rest or shelter or promises, angels, He will order His angels to protect you. Right? That one, then you start listening and studying that they're pretty busy.


Tommy Rosson:

Your insight going through this and I don't know that I could come through it with where you're at right now because I just would be so worn out. But the energy you've got that's obviously from God and his protection around you and his strength. How's this affected your church? Not just the 13 people, but just the overall body?


Johnny Brady:

I think it has been very positive. Of course. You know, we had a lot of people who were concerned, a lot of people praying, but when they started seeing God move, I mean, you're talking about, we've got a lot of young Christians. We've got a number of people who have been on the streets, you know, gangs and I mean, we got all the, you know, the whole thing. You know what I'm talking about. A lot of these are seeing God in a tangible way that when I pray and I talk to God, that God is listening and he's actually hearing me, you know, I think that really is strengthening their faith for their ministry. They know God's powerful now. I mean, it's not a question about it. So we can't wait until we get back together. And then all of these get healed and rehab and everything.


Cause we're going to have a testimony service of just the miracles of God. You know, it's what He's doing. We can't heal anybody. Then I think the more you go through something like this, God shows you, once again, you are totally dependent upon him. Totally dependable. There's nothing that we can do. I mean, we can't see the virus. You know, you can't heal anybody, but you're in contact with the One who is, you know, He can do it all. And that's all He wants. We quote so many scriptures, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Do you know? I mean, it's not our strength. It's all His the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us but it's His power. Those are the types of things I think God is wanting us to recognize. It's not about performance. It's not about gifts and talents. It's about My Spirit flowing through you. Do you know? And so it's pure and fine. The church is what it's doing because when you get in situations like that, nothing else matters. I mean, you're really done.


Tommy Rosson:

Yeah. That's such an amazing story. And for so many people to see the interactivity of God in this process and that, you know, our relationship is a two-way street and it God's involved in that relationship and therefore you can depend and rely on His response and His presence and His strength is a great testimony. One of the things you were telling me about and I just think this is just a good, you know, you find the way God has made blessings out of this. You're telling me about one of the people who is in ICU or wasn't ICU and, and the redemption of the relationship with his daughter.


Johnny Brady:

Oh, it's been amazing. This is something that, you know, we do the Daniel fast, you know, every January, a lot of churches do that when we fast for 21 days. And he would come every week. And I mean for years, for like the last nine years. And he would come in and we would pray, have a season of prayer, and then we'd bring everybody together and then we would talk. He would always bring up, I'm praying for God to heal my relationship with my daughter. And I mean, it wasn't him, it was just other circumstances that happened and whatever. But that has been, that's been the prayer for years. During this point when he went into ICU and on a ventilator, I just felt the need to give her a call. But I didn't even know if I still had her number.


The Lord is kind of gave me that little urge, you know, and I'm looking through my phone and I had her number. I mean, I hadn't talked to her in nine years, you know, I mean, it was just, it was a God thing. Anyway, it was, what happens is I texted her and said, Hey, just wanna let you know that your dad was in ICU. You know, I'm praying for you. And you know, just something, she texts back said, thank you so much. I'm not sure who this is, you know, so I told her, you know, and then the next day she sent me this long text saying thank you and then we just kinda hit it off then, you know, God just put it all together. God has put it all together. So we were there when he finally came out, you know, that that second time off the ventilator and God just did incredible work, he gets to see her for the first time in years.


And so I went over there. I had to see that, I had to be in on that one and I'm like, I'll share it with you, man. The one thing that you get out of this is you just bawl like a baby, you know, when you see the movement, God, I mean, I don't know, forget being macho or manly or whatever. Man, when God moves, I'm done. I can't help it. It's just, it is what it is. And then when he rolled out of the hospital his daughter was there, grandbabies, one of them he had never seen. Man, they go there and hugging. I'm a puddle. I was over there boohooing. It just escapes me, man. And God answered prayer. This is a miracle. We would pray over this for years and it's happening. So yeah, God, this is what else share with God not only heals those that particular person in the hospital, but it is so much bigger, you know, ministering to the whole family. That is what's beautiful.


Tommy Rosson:

Wow. And I do want to say, you know, for those listening in, I mean these, most of these cases happened outside of your church with business travel, those kinds of things. And your last Sunday to meet was a Sunday that the churches were not asked to be closed. You were just, you were following the guidelines and going right along. It just happened to explode in your midst.


Johnny Brady:

It did. What we did that last Sunday, we said we want all of our elderly to stay home, all the parents with babies to stay home, you know, and we just had, you know, a nucleus of people there. And I actually had a pretty good crowd, you know, considering all the other ones, were not going to be there. And now 12 of the 13 were at the last service. So needless to say, our church is cleaner than it's been probably in a long time.


Tommy Rosson:

Oh, well you know, you've gone through a circumstance that, you know, every pastor just, you can't imagine what that's like. I mean, you know, your average attendance, I think you said was roughly 500 people. And more than that, I mean, these are, this isn't just, you know, there's a lot of times in churches, there are people you do and you don't know. But this is striking real hard at your inner circle and at the leadership of the church. And so I can't imagine what that was like for you. And I'm so encouraged by your spirit going through all this. Anything else you'd like to add?


Johnny Brady:

Well, to God be all the glory. That's all I can say to God be all the glory. He's the one who's given us the strength to go through this. And he's the one who's healed. Not only those that have been sick but they, even these family members. When we talked about purify your heart make sure everything is okay within the families, even in the families of people who you know and make sure your heart's right and you can pray, make sure everything is, I mean, God has brought a lot of healing. And so, yeah, it's tough when you have, who is that close to you. You know, I mean lifelong friends when they're that close to you that you press in a little bit harder, you really do. Cause they're like family. They're brothers through me. And just incredible right now, honestly, you know, for that period where they were in the ICU and all those ventilators, it was intense. But to have Termite home, to have Tillery out of ICU, a little bit of relief, you know, the pressure was not as heavy. There's a lot of Thanksgiving and praising and everything else. So, so thankful for what God's doing.


Tommy Rosson:

Name a couple of people who are, who still have it that they still need our prayers.


Johnny Brady:

Gilbert Master is one that I share with you that actually taking her off of the live support thing and that she was going to be gone and God's healed. Gail is still in and Tillery McGee is still in. And so if we can just continue to lift those up. Well, as I said, I mean we have over 180 names that are on our prayer list now. Not all are COVID-19. But man, what we're seeing at Tommy is how many people are battling cancer. You know, I mean, our prayer list has really gotten long. I'll say this. And to any other pastor who may be listening, find the time, you know, on a daily basis, get on a Facebook page, whatever. Because we got people, they're not members of our church.


And this, this wasn't about Fellowship of The Nations. This was about the church, the body of Christ. You know, we pray every day. We end our prayer praying for churches and their pastors and we just encourage whoever your pastor is, man, lift him up because we're not in competition with anybody, you know, any of that stupid stuff out there. We are the body of Christ, man God is healing the body and he's got this ready. I think more than ever, you know, you've seen it in your lifetime. You haven't seen it. I haven't seen this thing before. I think Jesus is coming soon. He just getting us ready, which is also pretty exciting.


Tommy Rosson:

Pastor Brady, thank you so much for joining us today. Church leaders. If you want more information about COVID-19, if you want to participate in the Masks for All campaign, or if you'd like more resources like the Faith Leader Insight series, you can go to Houstonresponds.org/covid-19. Thank you for joining us today.


Additional COVID-19 resources for congregations available here.

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