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Deliverance abounding
Pastor overcomes childhood, lifetime challenges to minister
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Empowering the family for the future is one of the goals of Set Free Healing Deliverance Church located at 1487 Mount Zion Road in Oxford. The Prophetess Olivia Holmes, pastor of SFHD Church, learned to have a heart for ministry and the community by watching her mother’s example.

The only biological child with 27 adoptive siblings, she was taught by her mother that love has no boundaries. A local community project provided toys at Christmas for all the children in her home.

She was born with a birth defect and scoliosis, a condition that causes abnormal curvature of the spine, and throughout her childhood and life she struggled with health issues. Holmes had a problem with communication and couldn’t speak complete sentences or thoughts. Her mother, a prayer warrior, took Holmes to prayer meetings and healing services. When she faced surgery at age 13 to enable her to use her right hand, she feared she would not come out alive. As the anesthesiologist prepared her for the operation, she recalled hearing the Lord’s voice of assurance confirming she would survive and go forth in the ministry.

Holmes persevered and worked through her challenges, learning how to speak and going through rehabilitation therapy to gain use of her hand. She eventually joined the church and choir, was baptized and played the tambourine.

The Chicago native traveled with her mother to do local mission work, and she learned hands-on ministry by cooking, cleaning and visiting the nursing homes.

Prayer became a critical part of her own life when Holmes’ four-year-old daughter went missing for a year. Distraught, Holmes would find peace as she went into her prayer closet every day. When her daughter was found, she sought help for her through counseling. Drawing from her experiences, Holmes started an organization called, "Let’s Talk About the Family, Inc." LTATF is a diversified nonprofit organization that specializes in reaching, repairing and strengthening families that have been affected by negative social life. She taught life skills and parenting classes at housing projects.

In 1987, Holmes took classes in Information Science at Central YMCA Community College in Chicago. She received a degree in Bible Study and Christian Education from Beulah Heights Bible College in 1993. She studied Pastoral Care and earned a theology degree from the International Theological Center. Holmes completed her doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 2004.

In 1982, Holmes started a business called Homeowner Research. She canvassed the community for people who were losing their homes. She worked to help seniors who were victims of bad mortgages.

Holmes served on the Welfare Reform Committee, worked health fairs, helped families pro bono, worked with the GED program and spoke in Atlanta high schools, encouraging students to excel.

Set Free Healing and Deliverance Church recently partnered with Georgia Rivers Salva, General Manager of WGUN Inc. and the Farmers Bank to present a community event held at the Newton Center of DeKalb Technical College on Oct. 25. People sought help with foreclosures, establishing checking accounts and reverse mortgages. Speakers included Niki Burston, Cassandra Barber, Willie James, Parker Wade, William Allen, Yolando "Cookie" King and Elmo Barnes.

SFHD Church offers weekly services to include a healing, deliverance and worship service on Sunday at 11 a.m. followed by a Bible study and demonology class at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. A leadership class is offered Thursday at 7 p.m. Faithful members gather for a special prayer and shut-in service Friday evening.

"From midnight Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday, we go into the church and lay prostrate before the Lord, and as the spirit moves us, we pray," said Prophetess Holmes. "We talk about what the Lord has put on our heart, quote scripture, have testimony and pray again until deliverance comes. I am a deliverance ministry that works in exorcism and casting out demons and praying for miracles and healing. We have seen blind eyes opened and people with tumors healed."

Set Free Healing and Deliverance Church encourages community programs and sends their members to go into the community to sponsor five women, men or children and work toward meeting their needs — whether it is housing, jobs, or putting their families back together.

For the past 35 years, Holmes has hosted an annual toy drive. She will begin to take applications for this year’s toy drive Dec. 1 to Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and approved families will be given the toys on Dec. 20. Future events include a job fair in May 2009.

Holmes is employed by Heartland Hospice Services as a bereavement coordinator. She and her husband James S. Holmes have three children and 10 grandchildren.

For more information on Set Free Healing Deliverance Church or "Let’s Talk About the Family," contact Prophetess Holmes at (770) 786-8372 or e-mail or tune in to WGUN 1010 AM to hear her daily show.