One frequent attender to the pancake church in Uppsala, Sweden, is Fresas. Full of energy and with a big smile on his face, he eagerly chat with people, play ping pong with them, and make them some pancakes. His real name is Daniel, but everyone call him Fresas (spanish for “Strawberries”). One guy described him as “the perfect evangelist”, and I really understand what he meant: Fresas knows the entire youth population of Uppsala (well, at least many of ‘em), he connects to and talks with people very easily, and he can present the Gospel of Jesus in a simple, powerful way, often including some of his own experiences of the Living God. He can tell of both healings and visions that he’s had.
One story that he’s been telling people over and over again is the first healing he experienced. Here’s how it goes. Several years ago, Fresas did believe in God, but he was very sceptical towards that healing stuff that some Christians spoke about. But once some friends in a church he attended asked him if they could pray for his back, in which he had had severe pain now and then as long as he could remember. A bit reluctant, he said yes. He got really chocked when the pain instantly left.
However, the next day, the pain came back. “What the h**l?!” was his instant comment. Was the healing fake after all? Then why did the pain disappear when they prayed? Very confused, he returned to the church next sunday and told the people that had prayed for him what had happened. They wanted to pray for him again, and finally he let them do it. Instantly the pain disappeared.
Now, Fresas was really confused. His confusion tuned into frustration and anger when the pain returned the next day, just as the week before! “Seriously, what is this? Either God exist or he doesn’t!” After this, Fresas’ faith became very cold, but he still called himself a Christian.
Some years later, he got involved in the pancake church. On a prayer meeting they organized, he was asked if there was something they could pray for. At that time the pain in his back was very severe, and after hesitating a long time, he finally told the others the whole story. One of the girls then said that they would check the length of his legs. Not understanding why, he put forward his legs, and it turned out that his right leg was 2 centimeters (almost an inch) shorter than his right. “Let’s pray that it grows out!” the girl said. Now Fresas was convinced that these people were nuts. But he said to God “OK, I give you one last chance.”
When they started to pray for him, his armed started to shake. Chocked, he tried to hold it still with his other arm. It continued to shake. Now he was really frightened, wondering what was going on. Suddenly he felt that someone was pulling his right leg. He opened his eyes to see who it was, but there was no one who did so. Instead, he saw his leg grow out by itself. The girl that had initiated the prayer saw it too, and she got so chocked that she yelled and backed off. Then all realized what had happened and asked Fresas to stand up. Suddenly he discovered that all his life he had been a little bit leaning, but now he could stand and walk perfectly straight. Several years later his legs are still at the same length, and the back pain is gone.
There are probably several hundreds that have heard this story on the streets of Uppsala, each time told by a very excited and engaged story-teller. Last friday when we were out with the pancake church, he told it for a small group of people, me being present. Then he continued with some healings that God had performed through his prayers. Once, two girls came to him and asked him if he was the guy whose leg grew out. He said yup. One of the girls explained that she was a runner and loved to run, but now she had an abrasion on her foot which was so painful that she could hardly walk. Fresas had actually seen how she was limping. He prayed an 20-second prayer for her, and when he said “amen” she winced. “What did you do? It’s gone!” Fresas got excited. “Seriously?” “Yes! I can’t feel it anymore!” She started to jump and walk around. “It’s gone! It’s gone!”
Then he told us of some treasure hunts he had been part of. Once, he saw, with his inner vision, a guy with a blue jacket sitting on a bench when they were praying. When they got out, that was one of the first persons they met. Another time, he saw a girl in her late teens with a black hood that was freasing. When they went out, he saw her IRL.
When he was telling us about his experiences, one of the guys that were listening asked: “Have you seen God?” Fresas explained that it was pictures from God that he had seen, not God Himself. But then he said: “Well, actually… I experienced something very cool some years ago…” We were all ears. He told us about a night when he had got off the bus and was walking to his house. He loves looking at stars, so he had his head bent upwards. Suddenly, he saw an ellipse of light up there among the stars. Having no idea of what it was, he stopped and focused his sight on it. He saw that it became bigger and bigger. Actually, it came closer and closer. Before he even began thinking of escaping, this halo from above smashed right into him. He fell down on the ground.
“Wait a minute, Fresas – what is it your saying?” I said. “I’m just telling you what happened!” he answered. He didn’t get hurt or something, on the contrary, he became overflowing with joy. “I couldn’t sleep that night”, he said with a smile.
He stood silent for some seconds thinking, then he said “Another time… – man, if you thought that was strange, listen to this. Another time when I was out in the garden, I suddenly couldn’t feel my body. I had no idea what was happening, I just couldn’t feel it. Then it was like my spirit left my body. I saw how I left it and went upward, and suddenly I stood on white clouds.”
“Whaat?!” I exclaimed. “Fresas, are you a prophet or something?” We all laughed. “So you saw - with your physical eyes - that you were standing on white clouds?” I asked. “Yeah, it was crazy! And at about 50 meters (160 feet) away, I saw a great feast. And I just really wanted to be there, but I got the feeling that it was not time yet. Then – swoosh – I went back into my body. I was like ‘What… was… that?’”
I stood with my mouth open. Medieval mystics and famous healing evangelists have these kind of experiences. Not my buddy Fresas. “When I tell people this,” he later said, “some are like ‘you’re just lying’. And yeah, I wish I was. This is spooky stuff!” But then he explained that sometimes when he had some doubts, he always thought on these experineces. “And then I become full of joy!” he said and started to sing This little light of mine.
I later asked him if he had some other healing to share, and he told me that he had had severe problems with his jaw. From time to time he could hardly close it. Once when it had dislocated some Christians prayed for him. “They just had their fingertops gently on the sides of my head, but suddenly the jaw popped back into place like if someone pushed it. I haven’t had any problems with it since.”
He was silent for some seconds and then said “I need to tell people this. People need to hear about it! Write it down, Micael!”
“I will”, I said.
/Micael Grenholm, Uppsala, Sweden