RUMFORD — Mary Ann Schlear knows well the power of prayer: It brought four “angels” last month to repair her severely debilitated family homestead.

The roof needed replacing, and plumbing and the floor in the bathroom were gone. And, she and her daughter, Alana, who is in her mid-30s, had no hot water — let alone running water — for years.

The worst of that has been repaired, thanks to the compassion of a Messianic group in Arundel and a Messianic pastor and his ordained wife in Mexico.

“That’s the miracle,” Schlear said Friday of the work that began during an ice storm on Dec. 21 and was completed the next day.

“It was incredible just to see it really happening, because it looked like nothing was ever going to happen and we were going to have to move,” she said.

In September, Schlear answered an ad in a local newspaper that asked people who believed in God and needed help to call a number listed in the ad.

Messianic pastor the Rev. Carl Cutting and his wife, Gail, ran the ad to teach people about the Messianic religion.

Missionaries in Africa for 15 years, they moved to Mexico in 2008 and began holding Messianic meetings in their house on Roxbury Road (Route 17).

“We believe in the Messiah, we follow the Scripture, we keep the feasts and do what the Scripture says to do,” Carl Cutting said.

Soon, Schlear and her daughter began attending meetings.

By Nov. 7, things had gotten so bad at the Schlear house that Mary Ann called her friend Roger Whitehouse of Riverside Realty in Mexico and asked him to list it on the market. He did, and tried to find them another place they could afford.

Mary Ann worked any job she could get, including flagging for construction and living out of her car to make ends meet.

Conditions at the house worsened. Rainwater seeping through the roof blew out ceilings and filled a 53-gallon trash can twice each storm, Schlear said.

Financially destitute, she couldn’t find help, she said, which is why she prayed that the house would be sold. Alana, however, wanted to stay.

“I said, ‘That’s fine to stay here, but you better pray in a miracle,'” Schlear said.

“And I said, ‘I’ll be praying right along with you, because it will have to go in one direction or the other. We need men, money and materials and I don’t see anything forthcoming.'”

Then Schlear’s car broke down. The Cuttings gave them a ride home and saw their deplorable living conditions, Carl said.

He called Heide Schoenbrod of the Messianic Shiloh Farm in Arundel.

“I told them, ‘These people are needy, they’re believers, and they need some help. Would you help them?'” Carl Cutting said.

They asked what he needed. He told them he had a list of building materials totaling $950 and asked them to take up a collection for Mary Ann and Alana. They raised the money and sent Barry Woodcraft of Guilford, Wyatt Ward of Albany and Mike Sorrento of Sebago to help Carl do the work.

The men arrived at the Schlear house and began the work, surprising Mary Ann. On Dec. 22, she called Whitehouse.

“I said, ‘Roger, Alana got her prayer answered! There’s a miracle going on right now and they’re working on my house!'” Mary Ann said.

Whitehouse drove up to witness the deed. Carl and crew replaced both dormer roofs, patched and painted the living room and ceiling, replaced the plumbing and bathroom floor and installed a new toilet.

“This was the true meaning of Christmas to me,” Whitehouse said. “They, in my opinion, were like true disciples of Christ. A miracle in Rumford!”

He removed the house from the market.

Carl Cutting, however, doesn’t see it as a miracle.

“This is what the church is supposed to do,” he said. “The Lord told us to go out and preach the Gospel, but he also told us to help our brothers and sisters in need and feed the poor, the hungry and heal the sick. We just did it because the need was there.”

More work needs to be done and the Schlears need a vehicle so Mary Ann can return to work, but for now, she’s thankful that total strangers answered her daughter’s prayers.

“In two days’ time, they fixed the worst part of the repair work that had to be done; they put faucets in and they got hot water running. Oh, it’s wonderful!” she said.

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