West Allis - This past Christmas was the best one Diane Brulc has had since she can remember.
In stage 4 of a kidney disease and on the brink of kidney dialysis for more than a year, Brulc said her chronic kidney disease is miraculously healed.
And 14-year-old Jasmine Kaap, an athletic eighth-grader at Greenfield Middle School, also rejoiced this Christmas season because the shortness of breath that dogged her during basketball games and turned her lips blue is now gone.
Both say God is the reason why. Both were prayed for by the pastor and members of a new church, the River Church Assembly of God that is turning the former West Allis-West Milwaukee School District administration building into a church.
It was Christmas Eve when Brulc of Brookfield received news from her doctor's office that nearly made her drop the telephone. The nurse told the chronic kidney disease sufferer matter-of-factly that her blood test was normal.
"I've never had a normal reading, ever," Brulc said. "It was always off."
Although another blood test will be taken in March to make sure the December reading wasn't a lab mistake, Brulc said: "I know that I'm healed."
Although her husband, her Bible study leader and others had prayed for her recovery since 2010 when she went into stage 4, she said something happened that Sunday when she and two others came up to the front of the church to be prayed over.
The Rev. Kirk Bougher anointed her head with oil, placed his hand on her head and said firmly, "Be healed."
"I felt a little something," she said, in her back where she had kidney pain. It was like someone touching her, she said, and not at all painful.
"But you don't know what that is," she said, recalling her thoughts as she sat back down that moment.
Brulc said her doctor still has no explanation for the welcome news.
For young Jasmine, the experience was similar in some ways, but different, too.
The pastor's hand was on her head and all hands of the congregation were extended toward her as they prayed for her healing. It was then Jasmine said, "I felt his spirit go through me and felt then and there his spirit healed me."
Whatever happened that day, Jasmine is changed.
"I can breathe again, no struggles," she said. "Before I felt on fire inside and I couldn't cool down. Now I get hot, but I cool down."
And she's changed more than just physically.
"I feel like I need to tell the world about God and that he's here and present in my life," she said jubilantly.
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