FLORENCE, KYEric Gonyon is an administrative assistant to Rodney Howard-Browne when the revival team is on the road. Eric was not raised in church but the words of a man who witnessed to him for five years finally took hold one day.
Eric Gonyon was an E-2 in the Navy and made about $11,000 a year. When he left the Navy he did very well in the business he had chosen. He met his sweetheart, Jennifer, who was an organist at the Lutheran church in West Palm Beach, Florida. "We were together in business and we were doing very well. I finally accepted Christ in my life and proposed to Jennifer to be married. As we went to get our blood tests and had planned the wedding with all the invitations going out, we received the most horrible news a young couple in love could receive. "Erics blood test came back as HIV positive. We both approached Jennifers parents and told them the news." Jennifers mother advised her not to marry Eric, but Jennifer made a decision to marry because of the deep love she felt for Eric. She felt as if God had given her the perfect person to love; she didnt want to look for another person. Somehow, she knew, God could take care of any situation.
Healed In A Luthern Church
Erics wife was one of the greatest assets to the business they were in. Her ability in marketing and Erics ability to sell brought the two amazing wealth. The problem of Erics being HIV positive was still there and every so often Eric would go for a T-cell count. When the T-cell count gets too low full blown AIDS begins to take its toll on a persons life. Eric maintained a normal level of T-cells and experienced no outward signs of being HIV positive. Eric said, "It was amazing how God moved in my life. I couldnt figure it out why I would find out that I am HIV positive a week after I accepted Christ into my life.
"I didnt know a whole lot about the Bible. At our church, it was announced that we were going to have a healing service according to James 5:13-15: Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. I didnt even know healing was in the Bible. When you have an incurable disease, all you have is God. As the priest came forward I felt the heat on the oil as he anointed me and prayed over me in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. As the warm oil touched my skin I could feel something happen inside of me.
"I went to the doctor that week and asked him to retest me for HIV. When he asked me why, I told him that God had healed me. At first he hesitated at doing it but I pressed him to do the test. It takes about two weeks to get the results from the test. I returned to the doctors in two weeks to receive the news that my test showed me to be HIV negative. The test verified there was no sign of AIDS. The doctor said it must be a mistake but I was so happy I told him God had healed me. One of the secretaries out front agreed with me about the healing and then I told the doctor to do the test again to be absolutely sure. We received that test back and found out again that I was HIV negative and then a third test finally revealed that I was absolutely free from being HIV positive. This happened in a Lutheran Church and thats why I have a respect for all denominations. God honored His word in this church and I am very grateful that Jesus healed me. We began to get really hungry for God and while God showed Himself in our church, we felt it necessary to find another church. After visiting several churches, we found a Word church and learned about the Word of God. I had never learned much about tithing. I would give ten dollars in a service and if the preacher was really good I would give 20 dollars. We were making lots of money in our business and I was tipping God in the offering plate. Our church taught on tithing and we began to give. Its amazing what happened as our business almost doubled over the next few months. God was proving to us that His word is true. God was moving extremely fast in our lives. I went to this Word church for a long time and was never slain in the spirit or really felt a touch of God.
"One thing about my wife, she always asks for prayer no matter what service she is attending. Jennifer and I had been through a lot together and God was tremendously blessing us in our business. We moved to a neighborhood in West Palm Beach, Florida, which was so exclusive that many of the homes had a runway in their backyards and the residents would fly back and forth to work and park their planes in garages near their houses. We had everything we wanted until God threw down another challenge. My life changed after we attended a Rodney Howard-Browne meeting in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Jennifer attended meetings all the time because we had plenty of free time. One day she called me from Lake Charles, Louisiana. She was laughing and I couldnt make any sense out of her, but I did understand that she wanted me to come to this meeting with this evangelist. I took the next plane out and was in the meeting. Rodney called me out and as he pointed toward me, the power of God hit me and I was bent over. We have never been the same and God began to deal with me about going to Bible School. I really didnt want to go so I began to write all the reasons why I should and I shouldnt go to Bible School. All of a sudden the power of God hit me and I began to look at the paper. First I started to weep and then I started to cry and then I couldnt stop laughing. God gave me my answer and with that we sold all that we had and went into the ministry." Eric and Jennifer serve as ministry assistants to Rodney Howard-Browne in revival when he travels.