Congregation Extols Power of Prayer Faith Healing Church Puts Stock in Miracles
Sanchez, Robert, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Robert Sanchez Daily Herald Staff Writer
Lupe Isunza felt no fear when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer several years ago.
She was confident that God would heal her.
"My doctor was in shock because I didn't cry, panic or anything," the 42-year-old Streamwood woman said.
As a longtime member of World Overcomers, a faith healing church in Carol Stream, Isunza has seen people go into a service in a wheelchair and walk out unassisted.
She has seen fellow church members survive terminal illnesses.
And sitting in the doctor's office, she was convinced prayer would help her more than surgery or chemotherapy.
Today, Isunza said the cancer isn't in remission.
"It's gone," she said without hesitation. "It disappeared like it never happened."
World Overcomers Pastor Jim DiPalma said such testimonials aren't hard to find at the church on County Farm Road.
But DiPalma stressed he's not responsible for the miracles that members say happen at the church on a regular basis.
"It's not in the touch of the pastor," DiPalma said. "It's in the touch of the Master.
"I can't heal anybody," he said. "It's God that does the healing."
The 41-year-old New York native describes himself as a conduit through which God heals people.
A third-generation Christian, DiPalma said he discovered the gift when he was 17 years old. That was when he realized sick people he prayed for got better.
Through the years, DiPalma formally studied theology, was a youth pastor and an assistant pastor.
Before founding World Overcomers Church with his wife, Joni, in 1993, DiPalma traveled the world doing faith healing services.
World Overcomers, which had its first location in Streamwood, has quickly grown from three to 400 members. The church is in the process of building more classrooms and enlarging its sanctuary.
During a recent Wednesday night service, the sanctuary was packed with standing parishioners singing to a live band, clapping their hands and dancing in the aisles. A group of young girls were waiving pompoms.
"This is praise," said Tina Suriano, as the 58-year-old Wheaton woman moved to the music in the background. "And when the praise goes up, the blessings come down. …