Helen Downing

  • Divine Healing
  • Playing for the meetings
  • Spared during an auto accident
  • Meeting the Branhams
  • A Man of Humility and Sincerity

Divine Healing

I first heard Brother Branham in 1947.  He was in Jonesboro, Arkansas, at Richard T. Reed’s church, and the services were being broadcast over the radio.  He was preaching Divine healing and I told my mother about him.  She became very interested and said, “I’ll call him.” She called and got Brother Branham on the phone, which was so unusual that undoubtedly it was just God working.  He invited us over to the meetings, so we drove to Jonesboro.

We believed in Divine healing, and even though there were other healing evangelists out there, none of them could compare to Brother Branham.  His campaigns drew enormous crowds, and so many were getting healed.  We stayed a few days in Jonesboro, and we were very impressed. We learned that Brother Branham also preached at his hometown in Jeffersonville, Indiana, so Mother and I decided to drive up to be in a service there as well.  We attended a Wednesday night prayer meeting and there were only a few people present, since it was in the middle of winter and it was very cold.  There was a potbellied stove in the Tabernacle that sat on the right side of the sanctuary, towards the front, and Brother Branham asked everyone to sit around the stove while he taught the message.  We were so glad to get to hear him in his own hometown.

At that time, Brother Branham’s secretary was Sister Cox, and she would write and let me know where his meetings were being held.  Mother and I would go to as many as we could.  We enjoyed them so much, and we realized that he was different than any of the other evangelists or healing ministers that we had heard.  He was so humble and sincere.  We knew God was using Brother Branham in such an unusual way.

Playing for the meetings

In 1953, Richard Reed called me and said that once again Brother Branham was going to be at his church, Bible Hour Tabernacle, and he wanted me to come and play the piano for him.  Vera, my sister, went also and played the vibraharp at that meeting, which lasted five or six days. Through the years, I was privileged to play in several of Brother Branham’s meetings.

I was also healed several times.  One time I was in the prayer line and he took hold of my hand and said, “You have what you think you have, but the Lord has healed you.” I had been thinking I had TB, but I was healed and never had any more symptoms after that. We enjoyed all the meetings so much.  We knew that there was something about him that was so different, and we were so blessed when we sat under his teaching ministry too.

When he went into the teaching ministry, we knew it was so unusual and believed every word he said.  We knew he was a prophet of God for this generation; we understood that right off.  He came to call out a Bride, and we thank the Lord that we are privileged to be in that number today.

Spared during an auto accident

In July of 1963, Mother and I were on our way to Jeffersonville and had just passed Paris, Tennessee, when all of a sudden, I don’t know why, the car began to swerve over into the other lane.  There were cars coming towards me, and I remember saying, “Oh Jesus,” and our car suddenly turned back the other way and went down a real steep incline.  When we came to a stop, I wasn’t hurt at all, but the roughness of the ride had caused Mother’s chest to hurt a bit.  I said, “Mother, I’ll climb back up to the highway and see if I can stop someone.”

I went up on the highway and prayed, “Lord, give us somebody that will stop,” and the very first car stopped.  It was a man and I told him about the accident and asked if he would take us back to Paris.  He asked where the car was, because he couldn’t see it, and I said, “It’s down in the woods and Mother is in there.”

He helped get Mother into his car, then drove us to one of the service stations in Paris.  The manager wanted to know if we were injured, which we said we were not, but he called the police and a squad car was sent out to check our car.  They called back to him and asked, “No one was injured?” He said, “No, they are sitting here.” The officer said, “I don’t know how they ever got out of this.”

I called Brother Billy Paul to tell him about Mother, because she was not feeling well, and he said, “Sister Helen, I’ll go right over to Daddy’s house and have him pray for your mother, and then I’ll call you back.” It was the middle of the night, but he went and woke Brother Branham and told him about the accident, and he immediately went to prayer.  He told Billy Paul, “Tell them I believe she’ll be all right.”

When Billy Paul called and told me, I said, “Wonderful. Now Mother, you’re all right, so let’s just go on.” We caught a train at one o’clock in the morning and went on to Jeffersonville. Later that morning Brother Branham spoke on the subject Why Cry, Speak!, and he related how that we had been in an accident and how God had spared us.  Morris, my brother, sang “Down From His Glory” that morning, and Brother Branham remarked that the song was sure to have meant more to him that morning than it had the day before, because the God of Heaven had spared his darling mother and sister.

We were all so encouraged by those services. The Lord was so good to us.  We learned a few days later that our car was totaled.

Meeting the Branhams

We became acquainted with the whole Branham family, and many times we would go out and eat together.  I loved visiting with Sister Branham.  She was such a lovely person, and I thought the world of her.

Once, Mother and I were visiting with Sister Branham when Brother Branham came in from a hunting trip.  I had been having problems with my eyes, a weakness, and when I would get a cold they would almost go closed.  Mother wanted to ask Brother Branham about my youngest brother, Richard, who was desiring to marry, even though he was still very young.  It worried her so much. As he walked in the back door, Brother Branham said, “You know, if I had my life to live over again, I would marry young, and preach the Gospel.” He told that right off, the first thing!  Mother hadn’t even had a chance to ask him, but he answered her question right off, so he knew what she was thinking.  He prayed for my eyes, and I wasn’t healed instantly, but I received my healing gradually.  After a few months, my eyes were completely well.

A Man of Humility and Sincerity

Brother Branham was so humble and sincere that you felt unworthy at times to be around him, knowing how great his ministry was and his calling.  He filled a spot that we were longing for.  We learned to love him and his family so much, and knew that they loved us.  It’s hard to describe him, but we knew he was the one for the hour, no doubt.