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An Interview with Marlene Klepees and Scott Emerson.
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President Randall Bach interviews Marlene Klepees and Scott Emerson in the national office video studio.

President Randall Bach interviews Marlene Klepees and Scott Emerson in the national office video studio.

Marlene Klepees was dynamically healed of cerebral palsy nearly 36 years ago (see the May 1982 issue of the Message). Her story has been televised on the Christian Broadcasting Network to millions of people. We wanted to catch up with her and the pastor who prayed for her healing, Scott Emerson, pastor of New Life Open Bible Church in Chippewa, Wisconsin. President Randall Bach interviewed them both as they were reunited for the first time since her healing.

Cover-300wRandall: You had a rough go of it. You weighed only two pounds at birth and you developed cerebral palsy. Then you lost your parents in an accident when you were only one year old. Tell us how you became a Christian at age eleven.

I was invited to a Youth for Christ meeting where they showed a Billy Graham film that helped me recognize my need for Christ. Afterwards a speaker asked if anyone wanted to accept the Lord into their heart and I did. It was obvious the leaders didn’t know if I knew what was happening, but I definitely did, and the Father knew what was going on. He came into my life that night and it changed the value of my life on earth. When Christ comes into your life your value changes.

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Randall: You shared that you thought that cerebral palsy was God’s “assignment” for your life.

Marlene: My theology was not accurate. I didn’t assume there was an active enemy at all. I thought that everything that happened was ultimately God’s plan, so I thought that He created me with cerebral palsy. I didn’t even look at it as a negative; I just thought that He would use it because He would identify Himself in me through suffering.

At age 17, I realized that things happen in your life that might not be His will. I was living out in the country so there wasn’t anyone for me to talk with about the Lord. I didn’t think I would ever have a job, ever be married, or do any of the normal things. My value was Him, but suddenly I was isolated.

This was one of the greatest learning seasons in my life. I realized that He says, “All things work together for good,” not “all things are planned by Him.” I figured out that He literally says the enemy comes to “steal and kill and destroy” and He (Jesus) came to give life and more abundantly (John 10:10). Not everything that happened was His will. That realization changed everything. It changed what I saw – recognizing who He was and what He was doing.

Randall: Doctors tried everything and finally sent you to the renowned Mayo Clinic. Was this like the last hope for you?

Marlene: Yeah, they couldn’t get the seizure activity slowed down so they had taken me to Mayo. The good part is that they realized I was more conscious than they thought I was in Missouri. I knew what was happening. I had partial movement of my eyes and partial movement of my mouth. I had been there three months on a rehab floor, and they were getting ready to send me back to Missouri to a total care nursing home. The Father kept telling me (I heard the voice internally, almost audibly),
“I love you and I am going to take care of it.”

I had still not grasped that just because man says something is going to happen doesn’t mean it will. When I learned they planned to send me to a nursing home, I became angry. I am not proud of this part of my testimony, but I don’t want you to think I was an innocent person timidly waiting for God. I thought, I am now 19 and this is how God is going to leave me. In the middle of my anger noise came out of my mouth. People might not have understood me, but God did. As I was yelling at Him, His presence hit my room and my attitude changed instantly. I wasn’t mad anymore. He showed me a picture of me outside riding a bike on beautiful, green grass, but I start out in a wheelchair. He also showed me a church with red carpet and light-colored woodwork. Then He showed me the words “March 29” in bright, bold letters, and that date was three weeks away.

Randall: So you are ticked off at God, and God lovingly wrapped you in His arms and gave you a picture of what was going to take place. Was it a dream or a vision?

Marlene: I would say it was a vision. It was not something I was used to, but I knew that it was God. There was no question that His presence was in my room, and I was very used to His presence. I was used to having Him come and hug me and bring peace to me. I didn’t know a lot of verses – that when He prays, He prays for us to prosper and be in good health just as our soul prospers. I didn’t know He wanted everyone healed, that Jesus went to the cross and was brutally beaten so we could have healing. So the vision meant to me that He wanted me to be healed.

I had decided in my mind how the vision would come to pass, but none of the things I thought would happen did. And the 28th came and I was still lying there in Rochester. My family had gone back home. There wasn’t anyone to take me to a church [where because of the vision I thought I would be healed]. I believed He could heal me, but I didn’t know how He would get me to the church. I thought I had goofed up, that God’s plan wasn’t going to happen, and I started repenting. In that repenting season His voice just goes, “Hush.”

In my stillness I could receive from Him. He said, “In the morning have the nurse get the yellow pages. I will give you the name of the church and the person that is to pray for you.”

When the nurse came in to prepare me for the day I tried to say “yellow pages” and kept pointing to the yellow pages. She went and got them. When she opened them up to the churches, two lines seemed to jump off the page. She read “Open Bible” and “Scott Emerson” – and then she just left the room. Finally she came back about 12:30 and dialed the number. She reached the pastor and put the receiver to my mouth. It had the appearance he was not understanding everything I was saying, and then the nurse told him my room number, and it was over. We just waited for something to happen.

Finally Pastor Scott showed up in my room. As I described the details of my vision, Scott said, “That’s my church, that’s the carpet, that’s the inside of the church,” but it seemed to take forever for them to decide we were going. The nurse, who was obviously a Christian, started making phone calls to get permission to take me out. She even got someone to take her shift in case she needed to take me. Finally, they received authorization for Scott to load me in his car.

Marlene is reunited with Scott Emerson, the pastor who prayed for her healing.

Marlene is reunited with Scott Emerson, the pastor who prayed for her healing.

Randall: Scott, did you have some kind of witness from the Lord?

Scott: I know God heals and I’ve seen God heal but I didn’t want to take the word of Marlene. I wanted to hear what God wanted me to do so I was putting it before the Lord. By the end of the visit, I said, “Let’s get you to church. We have service tonight and we’ll pray for you.” I became convinced we were going to see a miracle.

Randall: So they brought you to the church. Scott read appropriate Scriptures and announced they were going to pray for you.

Marlene: I remember him saying something like, “I have never prayed for someone like this before.” Then he started praying that God would heal me from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. He asked me if by faith I wanted to stand to my feet. I did, and they stood me up. At this point my knees were bent inward. My body never stopped shaking. I couldn’t swallow a lot of my own saliva. When they stood me up and my feet hit the floor, I could actually feel the floor. I took a few steps with them holding on to me. Then they let go of me. We took a few laps around the room and every step got better and better. Everyone was rejoicing with me. Pastor Scott announced we were going to sing. Until then I didn’t feel any sensation. But at that point my eyes got really warm. I heard the Father say to take off my glasses. As I threw them off, I realized my vision was healed!

Randall: You toured the church and then went back to the hospital?

Scott: We went to an ice cream shop first. I had a sermon (he laughs), but what could I do now after this? We had had church! Everyone ordered a sundae except Marlene. She wanted a cone and then sat playing with it. She said, “I’ve never held one of these before.”

When we returned to the clinic a charge nurse saw Marlene walk in and he literally dropped the telephone. Marlene had been telling everyone, “I’m going to be healed. I’m going to ride a bicycle,” but they hadn’t taken her seriously. Soon a group of professionals had gathered around Marlene and she told them what God had done. One lady said, “I’ve seen it, but I refuse to believe it. We’ll see what this is like in the morning.” Everybody else was rejoicing.

Marlene is open to any opportunity to share her testimony and pray for others.

Marlene is open to any opportunity to share her testimony and pray for others.

Marlene: After Pastor Scott left, all the nurses and staff gathered in my room trying to see what all I could do. My doctor heard the story and asked if I would stay until Tuesday morning so they could run some tests. The doctors also had a conference on Tuesday. When I walked in the conference room I was out of my comfort zone because (tears well up as she speaks) everyone stood and started applauding. They asked me about my vision, meaning my eyes. I thought they meant the vision God gave me so I started telling them my story. They asked all kinds of questions. As the conference ended, one of the doctors actually stood up and yelled, “Praise the Lord!” No one was disrespectful. God is just amazing. He is so good.

Randall: I’ve looked at the CBN report and read the doctor’s transcripts: “You returned to the rehabilitation unit that evening walking, something you’d never done since your admission to the unit. And when I saw you back at the clinic some weeks later, you’d improved even more. All signs of previous abnormality were gone. You were able to walk perfectly normal, and your eyesight had improved so much that you did not need to wear spectacles. We were all thrilled with the outcome.” But that was 35 years ago. I saw you walk in here today. God’s work has stuck. What has happened since?

Marlene Klepees at her floral shop, Heaven’s Scent

Marlene Klepees at her floral shop, Heaven’s Scent

Marlene: I am blessed. I get to travel extensively and I run a flower shop so I’m busy. I get to see lots of healings. It’s my personal belief that Jesus’ scars cause our healing. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him. With His stripes we are healed. That very day when I left the ice cream shop, I saw someone else in a wheelchair. I knew I didn’t deserve healing more than anyone else. Healing is not a reward for anything. Everything that comes through the cross is a gift. Salvation is a gift. All of it is for all of us. No longer does what someone has, how long they’ve had it, or the intensity intimidate me because [healing] is based on the merit of what Jesus did. Because of that I see all kinds of things. Not everyone I pray for gets healed. But I know it’s God’s will, just like it’s His will that everyone be born again. Not everyone is, but it is His will.

Matthew 9:6 (NKJV) says the reason God heals is so that all men may know He “has power on earth to forgive sins.” He uses healing as His manifestation on the earth so that we would recognize His authority and submit our lives to Him. He uses sickness to heal, to display His glory. All of us have opportunity. His grace has appeared to all men.

“Freely” you have received. Freely means without restriction, without restraint. People who have not yet thought about being born again are healed so that Jesus can manifest His authority because He wants them to be children of God. That’s what this is about.

Randall: This 30-plus year testimony continues to unfold. This video is still seen around the world.

Scott: I can tell when it is being played because our phone starts to ring. This coming Sunday a family is coming from Texas to have their son prayed for. I encouraged them that they can be prayed for right in their own neighborhood. There is no virtue with me; it’s the power of God. But they want to make this journey, so we’ll get to meet them in person.

Marlene: I hardly go through a weekend service or week without someone being healed of something: autism, ALS. It’s about the merit of Jesus, not our merit.

Randall: Your testimony is the vehicle that releases faith.

Marlene: There is authority in testimony.

Randall: You are available then to come tell your story?

Marlene: Oh yes!

Scott: I gladly answer calls and will talk and pray with people. Shortly after Marlene’s healing I was at the Mayo Clinic to visit someone. As I was walking down a corridor I heard a couple ladies talking. One said, “Did you hear what happened here?” and they started telling Marlene’s story. They were discussing whether or not it was real and I said, “I was there!”

You can reach Marlene Klepees at: or (417) 732-1334

You can reach Pastor Scott at:
New Life Open Bible Church,
Chippewa Falls, WI
(715) 832-0043

See the Full Interview with Marlene and Scott here:

See the Full Interview with Pastor Scott here:

See the original CBN video from The 700 Club HERE

About The Author

Open Bible's Publication Since 1920

Since 1920, Message of the Open Bible has been a medium to celebrate all the wonderful things God is doing through His people in Open Bible Churches – from personal testimonies, to news-related stories, to inspirational articles by quality authors.