My name is Jan Hilton; my maiden name was Jan Martinez when I was in the fellowship. I married Steve Hilton, who was also a brother in COBU.
When I left COBU I was very bound to the things that I learned there and I didnít feel like a normal Christian. When I went to other churches I felt different than the people there. I spoke to pastors of the churches that I went to and none of them understood what I went through, nor knew how to help me and they seemed to want me to brush it aside, and said to seek God and move on.
I felt frustrated and angry and felt that life was very hard, just to do the normal things. A sister told me that Dave and Cynthia had sought the Lord and that he gave them a gift to help those from COBU that needed help. Steve and I were traveling through from our home in Ohio to Steveís family in Massachusetts and called to see if it would be ok for us to stop in on our way through at their home in NJ.
I knew that Steve and I were in trouble. We were fighting and I felt ill-equipped to deal with the day to day stress of being a wife and mother to two small children. As we were traveling, I still had my doubts and fears that nothing might happen, but my need for relief seemed stronger than my doubts. I was also excited that something good might happen because I knew Jesus was greater than COBU, but so far I couldnít get past a bunch of negative feelings. All the things that I learned in COBU about what a wife should be like and what a husband should be like wasnít part of my reality and left me feeling like I was never doing enough or doing the right thing. I constantly questioned myself, my motives and second guessed every move I made so that I had no peace.
I was happy to see Dave and Cynthia and their baby boy. They made us dinner and they asked if weíd like to pray. We spent the night. The next day it was as if the Lord kept filling my mind with different scriptures, then Cynthia turned, while we were praying and said to me, ďDonít be afraid to speak out the things that I am saying to you.Ē In my heart I knew that only the Lord knew that he was speaking to me, so when Cynthia said that, it was a confirmation to my heart that the Lord was with her, though I didnít say anything at the time.
Dave explained the blessing of the oil and asked if weíd like to receive it. When I received the oil blessing I felt very unworthy and it seemed that all my pain was bubbling up and all I could do was weep. I felt as though I was safe to let some of the things binding me come to the surface. I remember seeing God like Stewart, harsh and unforgiving and constantly holding me to a standard I couldnít keep, yet when Dave poured the oil on my head the Lord spoke comfortingly to me and I began to see that God was kind and it was a beginning for me. It was a definite turning point for my whole family.
The Lord spoke to us that the pain we had, also poured down on our children and that they too needed to have a blessing of the oil. It was summertime and my son was constantly challenging and my feelings were that if my kids could have some blessing, that that was fine with me, and might make my life a little easier.
When my son Steven was prayed for and Dave poured a lot of oil on his head, he seemed to change before our eyes. He began to giggle and laugh and seemed to enjoy all the attention. I had never seen him as calm as he was after he was prayed for that day.
For Steve and I, it was a chance to seek the Lord together and it seemed as though a lot of my angst and stress was alleviated at that time. When we left, I felt as though a little light came into the door of my heart. Looking back, I know I still had problems, but I realized I got a certain amount of relief that I didnít know I could have and I was grateful for it and looked forward to praying with them again.
Over the years, whenever I would call Dave and Cynthia they always took time to listen to whatever was going on that I needed to talk about, no matter how long I needed to talk they always listened and asked if Iíd like them to pray with me on the phone or if I wanted them to pray on their own for me. I always knew that if I would ask them to pray for me they would, but when Iíd pray with them on the phone, usually the Lord would use their prophetic gift and the Lord himself would go to exactly what was stressing me and I would get lifted up right then, on the phone. This was a great comfort to me and always helped me to feel that there was someone who cared about my faith and well being.
Moving forward Iíd like share a specific blessing that was incredible to me. I was burdened for many, many years by a stress that seemed to cripple me. It was a stronghold over my heart that I never expected to get any relief from.
I was visiting a sister in the South and Dave and Cynthia planned to stop by the same weekend I was there. There were just myself, Cynthia and two other sisters and we decided to pray together.
At the time, one of the sisters had only been out of COBU for a short time and we began to pray for her.
Then Cynthia wanted everyone to pray for me. Cynthia came to me and embraced me and I began to cry. I had a lot of stress over my parenting of my son. I always felt that when he was little I was too harsh, because of the influence of the fellowship on what parents should be like. I would see other mothers with their children and always beat myself up that I hadnít been gentler with my son in his formative years. I felt like it was a bad movie, that always had a bad ending, that I couldnít change. When Cynthia embraced me, the Lord spoke to me: "that he was taking out of my ear the condemning voice and that he threw it into the depths of the sea, where no one could ever touch it again. He said, "that the enemy rubbed this negative message into my face every morning, noon, and night and constantly taunted me, but that he could no longer use this against me and that I was free from it!"
I was totally filled with joy and was so grateful, that something that burdened my heart and mind was suddenly completely gone!
This was huge to me and I hadnít spoken to Cynthia about this stress and yet the Lord, through her gift, seemed to not only see it, but was able to reach inside and take it from me.
It was one of the most extraordinary experiences of being blessed that Iíve ever had in my life.
At one point my husband felt that his faith was lacking and he wanted to receive the oil blessing again and Dave and Cynthia drove all the way to our home in Ohio and gave him the oil blessing.
It lifted Steve up so much, that although he was never interested in going to COBU reunions before, now he felt moved to go to a reunion and hoped to see other brothers and sisters lifted up and blessed, as we had been, and he was also looking for more blessing for himself, something that in the past he didnít feel moved to do.
So we drove to the 2007 reunion in York, PA and were glad to take part in seeing about 11 brothers and sisters blessed with the oil blessing and prayers.
Steve and I prayed with and for each one who wanted to receive it.
It gave us a lot of joy to see each one get blessed.
I was so lifted up that I felt like I was glowing!
I felt as though nothing could hurt my heart or my faith.
I wandered over to say hello to a brother and sister I hadnít seen in a long time, but instead of the joy I had just been a part of, they began to accuse me of hurting a sister I had been close to for many years. I had no idea what they were talking about, but I felt like I was getting worked over, accused of not calling and suddenly I got a splitting headache.
It definitely was like a blast from the past, like my experience in the fellowship, when God would comfort you and all of a sudden someone would say something to you that crushed you. It felt like a blow from the enemy.
When I told Steve what happened, he wanted to confront them, but Dave and Cynthia said just to leave it and that they would pray for me when we got back to the hotel and not to fear.
I felt so distressed.
Back at the hotel, everyone laid hands on me and prayed for me and Dave poured oil over my head and God lifted up the hurt of my heart.
If youíve ever seen the movie, 'The Lord of the Rings', when Frodo got stabbed by the Ring Wraiths knife and it seemed to be a crippling wound, thatís the only example I can think of, that visually describes the hurt that I felt by the brother and sister, who were accusing me of 'wrong doing' and 'of hurting someone.' I felt like they cursed me, after I had just been used to be a blessing, and the contrast was like night and day!
God used the brothers and sisters who prayed for me to lift me up, but I learned that I need to be watchful over my heart, not to let those who donít have peace to oppress me.
The Lord had counseled Cynthia to write a daily prayer of things he wanted her to seek him about each day, and one of the things he showed her to do was to pray for anyone who ever received the oil blessing, through their ministry, so these 11 brothers and sisters names were added to the ones she and Dave already had been praying for, and they lift each of us up in prayer, by name, everyday! And even a bunch who they told about the oil blessing, but didn't want to do it yet! I got a copy of her prayer, so I could pray for each one too! I especially like to pray for those 11 though, because I was there and was a part of them getting a blessing. Cynthia's said her prayer so many times that she knows all of the many names by heart! That amazes me! She even prays for the ones who rejected her, and her family and their ministry!
I am very thankful and grateful for Godís love for me and the comfort he has used many times through Dave, Cynthia, Tod and their ministry over the years to bless me and my family.
God Bless you,