News

Professor Terragnoli Witnesses The Miraculous

by Office of Marketing | April 25, 2013

Professor Kathleen Terragnoli '83 has been an absolute prayer warrior on behalf of her niece and nephew-in-law (Elizabeth and Ethan Helm). In fact, she has had the entire VFCC community praying for God’s healing hand to work in the complicated pregnancy of this young couple.
 
God had already performed one miracle in the life of Ethan and Elizabeth Helm – pregnancy. Ethan was a cancer survivor, and he had been told that natural child conception would not be possible as a result of chemotherapy treatment. However, God had different plans in mind, and the Helms received the blessing of pregnancy just one month into their marriage!
 
Unfortunately, the young couple learned of serious complications about midway through the pregnancy – namely, that the baby had several brain abnormalities. Five separate ultrasounds, read by four top-notch perinatologists, revealed the absence of the cavum septum pellucidum (a structure that marks normal development in the front part of the brain). This discovery implied a number of complications, including problems within the agencies of the corpus callosum. According to Professor Terragnoli, “Least case scenario would have been minor motor skills; worst case, he would’ve been wheelchair bound for his whole life.”
 
As Ethan and Elizabeth are both resident doctors at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, they were fully able to research the possible difficulties for their child. The Helms were shaken, but never lacked faith in God. They prayed diligently for God’s creative action in their baby’s brain. They knew that such brain abnormalities could be problematic for their child’s life; furthermore, they realized that the absence of crucial corpus callosum functions could keep them from following God’s calling to become medical missionaries in a foreign setting. Nevertheless, the young couple maintained faith in the Lord’s healing promises.
 
Meanwhile, Professor Terragnoli was busy building a network of prayer all around the world. She connected with VFCC students, faculty, staff, alumni, and more – asking Patriots in every region of the globe to join her in prayer for the miraculous healing of the baby.
 
She says, “I thought to myself, ‘How can I love someone I’ve never seen?’ Then I thought…that is exactly what God did for us.” Terragnoli’s Christ-like love for her niece, nephew-in-law and their child, prompted her to get on her knees and pray. This consumed her thoughts and actions for more than four months!

"We were joined by hundreds (possibly thousands) of believers around the world," says Elizabeth Helm in a recent blog post, "who, with boldness, declared that it would not be more of a miracle for God to heal a brain than to create one in the first place. Repeatedly, I felt God's assurance that our child would be healed. But faith is not a one-time decision; often I relied on the prayers and encouragement of my sisters and brothers in Christ to hold on to God's promise of healing."
 
Then, on March 15th at 7:48 in the evening, God performed a great miracle for the Helm family. Josiah Peter Helm was born at seven pounds, 19½ inches, with a completely functional brain. The post-birth ultrasound on Josiah was entirely normal – revealing no brain complications whatsoever.
 
The Helms felt led to name their baby boy Josiah – which is Hebrew for “whom Yahweh heals” or “healed by Yahweh”. They initially picked this name to reflect the extraordinary conception of the child but it became even more appropriate upon the creative miracle of a fully functioning, normal brain (including both the cavum septum pellucidum and corpus callosum).
 
Elizabeth offered this perspective on the miracle – “Take it from a converted skeptic: the purpose of miracles is to increase praise to our great God. I will never get tired of telling the story of Josiah’s healing, though it is a distant second favorite to an older, far greater story: the Good News of God becoming flesh to redeem us from these failing bodies. Someday we won’t need miracles because we will see the greatest of all miracles clearly and face to face.”
 
“Everyone was just so incredible in praying,” says Terragnoli. “I am totally indebted to everyone that I sent out emails to regularly; they wrote back and said they were praying…My thanks, their [the Helm family] thanks, our thanks to everyone!”