She Proclaims, ‘He Is Still Giving Miracles’
By NICKIE CARTER, Special To The J-H
Photo By NICKIE CARTER
Blackshear First Baptist 9astor, the Rev. Dr. Bill Young, stands with Donna Burke and her twin children, Archy and Mary-Madeline Burke.
BLACKSHEAR — God is still blessing His people with miracles, an attentive fellowship at Blackshear First Baptist Church learned Sunday night.
“Special,” is how many folks would describe blessed mother Donna Burke’s praise testimony as she described the terror of realizing that her son was drowning and how her spirit was transformed by the Holy Spirit into peace and courage as he miraculously survived.
Church pastor, the Rev. Dr. Bill Young, in presenting Burke, said, “Weeks ago, Donna made me aware of the miraculous work of God. She has a powerful story and we pray for her anointing of the Holy Spirit as she gives her testimony. Remember, never stop sharing your greatness and goodness from God, always share. God is working through us and still doing miracles.”
Describing a parent’s “worst nightmare,” Burke, calmly and in control because of “… the Holy Spirit’s blessing,” said, “Archy was at the bottom of a relative’s pool in Blackshear, as they swam on Mother’s Day. As a mother, I was always watching, always listening. I was talking to my cousin and the pool was on my right side. Then, there was a dead calm. All stopped. It was so quiet, too quiet. It took me 30 seconds to sense that something was wrong. I asked my daughter Mary-Madeline, about her twin brother, then told my cousin ‘I think he is in the pool!”’
She continued her description of the events that afternoon: “I heard a voice and then with spiritual vision, I saw my son in a fetal position at the bottom of the pool. I knew that it was God’s voice. My cousin Amanda, jumped in the pool and came up fast with him. He was lifeless! I grabbed him and asked anyone if they knew CPR. I took the course years ago and I started doing what I remembered, and water poured out of my Archy as my prayers kept coming, ‘God don’t take my son.’
“My cousin Lamar helped as Archy gasped for air. When the officers arrived, they rushed him to Pierce County High School where they told me he would be first life-flighted to Shand’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla.
“While I was traveling to Jacksonville, I received a call that the plan had changed, that he will be going to Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital. Knowing that I am blessed with a Christian family, my prayer warriors, I know that the Holy Spirit drove me in my car to Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital. Usually I always get lost in big towns, but I drove straight there; no wrong turns. It was the Holy Spirit that drove me. The doctor told me that if we had been one minute later finding Archy, there would have been a different story.”
Still uplifted with peace and calm, the mother described Archy’s recovery, three days in intensive care unit and on the forth day going home.
“God healed him,” she said. “Today he is normal, a very active little boy, just like he has always been. No brain damage. My family and I were on the second row of First Baptist Church the following Sunday.
“Drownings are silent and quiet. I have studied up on drowning since this incident. This has changed our lives, this miracle that happened. I have flashbacks, but I thank my God for saving my son. I look at the world in a whole different way as I have more faith and I give God all the glory. Miracles still happen! I appreciate all your prayers.”
Burke stressed that “God is in control. You have to let God work miracles through you. He can’t perform miracles if we don’t move. Since a child I have always believed in miracles, but tonight I will talk about what changed my life.”
She expressed pride that her son, Archy Felton Shuman, is named for several family ministers. And when she joined this church in 2007, she joined her aunt and uncle the Rev. Joe and Shirley Thigpen, well-known First Baptist members in worship and fellowship.
“Shirley is my mother’s sister,” she said. “I accepted Christ as a young child and was baptized at the age of 12.”
Archy’s grandparents are Felton and Linda Burke, of St. Simons Island and Jesup, and Bertie Mae Shuman and the late Rev. Archie Shuman, of Blackshear. His great-grandparents were the late Rev. A. J. and Mary Rozier, great-great grandparents, the late Archie and Ruth Winn, of Patterson, and the late Rev. Felton and Madeline Burke Sr., of Waycross.
“I named my twins Archy and Mary-Madeline for family members,” Burke said.
They were dedicated when infants at Blackshear First Baptist Church. Their father is William Shuman, of Blackshear.
In closing, Young commented, “Ms. Burke was in that calm and peace of the Holy Spirit. Read in Job 42, verse 2….’I know that thou canst do everything and that no thought can be withholden from thee.’ Job and his friends never knew why he went through what he did, but he became closer to God.’’
Nickie Carter, a former Journal-Herald staff writer between 1958 and 1996, is today a freelance writer/reporter. She is a member of Blackshear First Baptist Church.