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Imagine being confined to your home for 10 years—and to your bed for most of that time. Imagine watching as your body slowly shuts down, forcing you, on your best days, to crawl to simply get a drink of water. Imagine yourself being cared for by your young child—a child who is wary of coming home and opening the door for fear he may find you dead.
Nellie Koleva doesn’t have to imagine these things. She lived them.
Nellie Was Born in Bulgaria to a Christian family as communism was taking hold of the country. Bulgaria became a place where atheism dominated and it was illegal to have a Bible. After nearly dying from meningitis in high school, Nellie became born again. Under communist rule, though, her entire family was persecuted for their Christianity.
The persecution worsened when Nellie married. Her father-inlaw, a political leader, had tried to organize people to vote against communism. He was eventually put in a concentration camp, tortured, and killed. Because of the family association, Nellie’s husband was prohibited from working. So among other things, the family was going hungry.
“The communists had marks on both my parents,” explained Kally Hristov, Nellie’s youngest son. “They had a pretty rough life at that point already.”
The Nightmare Begins
It wasn’t until Nellie’s oldest son was 8, however, that the real nightmare began.
“I felt some strange weakness in my body—in my feet and hands,” Nellie remembered. “I was unusually cold, I got double vision, and then I collapsed in the street from work.”
After undergoing a series of tests at the hospital, she had a diagnosis—multiple sclerosis. An autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, MS, as it is commonly referred to, has no natural cure.
“This diagnosis meant I would become severely crippled and would endure a slow death,” Nellie explained.
Because MS affects people in stages, Nellie did her best to live her life. Six years after the diagnosis, her second son, Kally, was born. Not long after that, her entire body began to shut down from the effects of the disease. She became paralyzed, and when Kally was 3, she was no longer able to leave their 10th story home.
Nellie was facing hell on earth. The medicines she took weakened her immune system, and she developed a blood infection and fever. Her body had been poisoned, and there was nothing doctors could do. They sent her home to die.
All hope seemed lost, but Nellie cried out to the Lord for more life to raise her sons. She was miraculously healed of the deadly infection, but the MS remained. She was still paralyzed and stuck in bed.
“I was dying,” Nellie remembered soberly. “The hardest thing was that my heart was affected and almost stopped beating many times. Kally was a little boy and I could hear him crying, ‘Jesus, I need my mommy. Give my mom’s life back.’
“I was taught that God gives us sickness to teach us a lesson,” she said. “So if I prayed to be healed, I’d be praying against God’s will.” For this reason, Nellie didn’t want to talk about divine healing for the MS. It only confused her. She believed that if God wanted to heal her, He would.
One Anointed Book
In the midst of Nellie’s illness, her apartment somehow became a smuggling point for Bibles and Christian books and tapes. These materials portrayed a different Christianity than the one Nellie and her family were familiar with.
And then someone placed a translated copy of Kenneth E. Hagin’s book The Believer’s Authority into Nellie’s hand.
“There was nothing about healing that I could see, so I started reading,” Nellie recalled. “And I realized that this book was sent from the Holy Spirit to me.”
The first thing Nellie saw were the prayers in Ephesians and how they had helped Brother Hagin. She began praying them over herself every day. As she prayed, revelation began to come. She saw things in the Bible that she hadn’t seen before.
One day she came across John 10:10, which says that Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came to give abundant life. Because she was not living an abundant life, Nellie began complaining and crying to the Lord.
However, when she stopped and read the verse again, she finally saw it! She saw that Jesus died and bore her sickness so she could have peace and health. She saw that the MS didn’t come from God, but from the devil.
"I realized that this book was sent from The Holy Spirit to me."
Instantly, Nellie’s outlook changed. Instead of planning for death, she began to see herself well. Though people thought she was going crazy, and though nothing had changed outwardly, she knew in her heart that she was healed.
On May 5, 1987, as she lay on her bed praying, Nellie felt someone standing next to her. It was Jesus, and as He laid His hand on her head, she felt the anointing.
“It was like warm oil pouring over me—inside and out,” Nellie described. “I felt Him heal every paralyzed and dead cell in my body. Everything was made new, healthy, and strong. I rose from the bed, knelt, and raised my hands to the Lord. I couldn’t raise them before, but now they stayed lifted up!”
After 17 years of living with MS, Nellie experienced a new beginning. Though she had to stand on her faith to rebuild her strength and atrophied muscles, no one could deny that she had been healed. Doctors and friends who had been strong communists were saved when they saw her well.
Today, with God’s help, Nellie has traveled around the world telling her story. “I live to declare the works of God,” she exclaimed. “That’s the reason I’m alive. Faith works! Just look what one anointed book can do!”