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A group of youth from Queensland, Australia has caught the attention of Australian national news: people are getting healed by the power of Jesus.
Culture Shifters, a youth group from Bridgeman Christian Outreach Centre near Brisbane, have been praying for people and seeing pain disappearing, the deaf hearing and broken bones healed. They regularly do outreaches on the streets of their town.
Many news reports have criticized Culture Shifters, communication worries that 13 year olds are talking to strangers and praying for them.
Grant and Emma Shaw, the youth pastors of Culture Shifters, have released an official statement in response to the reports. Emma states that the group is comprised of young people aged 14 to 18, and when they go out to pray for people, adult leaders always accompany minors. Furthermore, they are encouraged to only talk to people near to their age, and “many of these kids are supported by their parents ... their parents are constantly encouraging them in this.”
Grant emphasizes that healing is not the sole purpose of Culture Shifters: “We are passionate about seeing a young generation grab a culture of love and stopping for the one, and looking to meet needs,” instead of a culture of alcoholism and drug abuse. He describes how they aim to meet people’s needs, whether it be in money, food, housing, or sickness: “When they tell us that they are sick, we offer to pray for them. And if they say yes, we pray for them for about ten seconds and Jesus and heals them.”
In one video broadcast from 15th April 2012, Grant prays for a reporter to be healed of blindness in one eye. The reporter is skeptical at first, but describes a potential healing of 30%.
Some articles have suggested that praying for healing is dangerous, as people are less likely to seek medical attention. But Culture Shifters are eager to set the record straight, Grant says, “We encourage everyone to go and see a doctor [when they are sick] ... If you believe you’ve received healing, make sure you go back to your doctor. Never go off medication [before going to your doctor]. Always listen to your GP.”
In response to media attention, they have set up Miracles Australia, a site where people can upload their testimonies, including medical confirmation of healing from doctors and physicians. This is a way for them to highlight that people all over Australia are seeing Jesus heal, not just in Bridgeman Downs.
The Shaws seem undeterred by the media attention, and eager to go on live TV to answer questions and talk more about God’s transformation of people’s lives.