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‘A ministry without walls’

Posted: August 19, 2010 2:04 p.m.
Updated: August 19, 2010 2:24 p.m.

Members of the Fresh Fire Intercession Ministry pray during their congregation’s weekly meeting, which takes place Mondays at 11:30 a.m. at the Embassy Suites in Valencia.

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Dr. Sheryl Reaves sold her home and 4,000-acre property and headed west.

She left behind a ministry that transformed the lives of dozens of women who have faced emotional, sexual, physical or spiritual abuse.

A year and half after she picked up her two kids and moved from the East Coast to California, she lost her pharmaceutical job to layoffs.

But she never doubted she was meant to move. Reaves knew she had a command to follow.

“The Lord told me to sell my home and move west,” she said. “(God) has a massive mandate that he wants me to fulfill.”

Reaves launched Fresh Fire Intercession Ministries.

“Our main goal is concentrated on prayer,” said Reaves, the group’s pastor. “We pray for people and the community in whatever need that is required, and every week, we are seeing and hearing testimonies of the healing that has taken place or miracle the Lord has done.”

For the last several months, ministry participants have met at Embassy Suites in Valencia. They are not saving up a building fund, nor do they ever expect to have their own building.

“It’s a ministry without walls,” Reaves said. 

Wherever she goes
Reaves, of Valencia, has been involved in ministry for 20 years.

Reaves started a recovery program for women during her time of ministry in North Carolina and New York.

The program took the women through a 9-week process of healing and empowerment through the Bible, Reaves said.

“We’ve seen women whose lives were on the brink of suicide,” she said. “They said they’d gone to many therapists. They said they didn’t find relief until they came to the recovery program.”

Reaves said she takes her prayer ministry with her wherever she goes.

She also leads a Morning Rhema Teleconference Prayer on Monday and Wednesday mornings, which reaches a national audience as well as some in countries abroad.

“Whatever I do, it’s always focused on prayer,” she said. “This is my anointing. I operate as a prophetess — one that will speak and declare the word of the Lord.”

Ministry without walls
Reaves likens Fresh Fire’s nondenominational ministry without walls to Jesus and his apostles ministries.

“(Jesus) taught in the temple on occasions but his ministry was outside of the walls of the church building,” she said. “He healed, delivered, spoke prophetically, taught and people flocked to him.”

As a ministry without walls, Fresh Fire has been praying for the community of SCV and surrounding areas, Reaves said.

The apostles, in the book of Acts in the Bible, followed that same example, meeting in homes in the streets, Reaves said.

From June 28 to Aug. 2, ministry members carpooled together and circled areas of the SCV.

“(We were) praying for the government, church, family arts, education, media (and) businesses of SCV,” she said. “It was similar to the Jericho march in the Bible.”

They called it the “Jericho Ride.”

“The ministry is basically in the streets outside the four walls of the church as a way of bringing all people from all walks of society together in praise to God,” Reaves said.

Healing with prayer
Many participants in the ministry come from different churches around the valley and beyond.

Marlene Brown is one of them. Brown said she often sends out prayer requests through e-mail, asking those who are part of Fresh Fire to pray for her. She recently asked the Fresh Fire community to pray for her brother following a horrific collision.

“My brother had a very bad accident in which he was thrown from a car, went down a ravine; it was really horrific,” said Brown, of Valencia. “I came to the ministry, and even though they didn’t know (my brother) very well, they really took it to heart and prayed for him.”

Her brother survived and is “doing just fine now,” Brown said. It was an outcome that Brown attributed to prayer.

Brown is far from alone in testifying to miracles and answered prayers believed to have come out of Fresh Fire community.

Regina Hines, of Stevenson Ranch, said Reaves had prophesied that Hines would receive some “due monies” in the mail.
Hines said in the following three weeks that she received three unexpected checks from organizations, such as her home owners association, in the mail.

“A lot of good things have been happening for me,” Hines said.

One of Greg Allen Johnson’s first experiences with Fresh Fire was at a recent “shut-in.”

“You just literally pray, sing, worship all night ’til morning,” he said. “I’ve never done it.”

Johnson is typically in bed by 8:30 or 9 p.m., so to stay up all night was a miracle, he said lightheartedly.

“Your body wants to sleep but when you deny it that and concentrate on praying and seeking God, the Holy Spirit, then it’s just a great spiritual experience,” he said.

Praying on Sept. 11
On Sept. 11, Fresh Fire will spearhead a Patriotic Prayer Day at Central Park in Saugus. Reaves hopes grieving families, loved ones of fallen servicemen and women, and the community will be encouraged, comforted and lifted up.

Fresh Fire has invited dozens of congregations in the SCV.

“Our main thing is that churches in the SCV come together and unite together in cooperation,”

Throughout the day there will be singing, dancing, prayer, salutes, speeches from local dignitaries, pastors and entertainers.

“It’s going to be a great day of prayer, empowerment, entertainment and lives being changed,” she said. “I’m just stepping out in faith, reaching who we can reach.”

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