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Emilio Is a Living Testimony of the Power of Prayer

Story & Photos By: Ramón Hernández

The return of Emilio Navaira less than three years after his almost fatal accident is a miracle.

The minute his fans found out that he and some band members had been hospitalized, they started to pray, form prayer groups and by the next evening thousands conducted candle light vigils in several cities.

Latin Connection correspondent Madeline Lozano, who was part of the thousands of people at Alamodome vividly recalls that evening.

“The whole parking lot was full. There was a small makeshift stage from where Jonny Ramírez emceed and Javier Galván served as lead prayer warrior as David Lee Garza, Ram Herrera, Jay Pérez and other artists gave their heartfelt testimonies as their voices cracked with emotion as they described Emilio as a fighter and asked God to perform a healing.

“Raulito and Emilio’s sons choked up on their words as they spoke, prayed and thanked fans for showing up,” Lozano continued.

“People just kept coming up and not alone, but with their entire families. It felt like when 9-11 occurred and everyone united. It was as though at least they were together if something were to happen.

“There were times when it was quiet and one could feel the coming together, the emotion and the quiet prayers of the people, which seem to be saying, ‘God, we can’t afford to lose another artist.’ Imagine what it would do to Tejano music?”

In addition people prayed at home and at other prayer services; and God heard everyone’s prayers. Realistically, it would take others many more years to reach the point where Emilio is presently at.

The 47-year-old singer initiated his comeback trail by popping up during Clay Walker’s June performance in San Antonio. On Sunday, July 11, after his brother Raulito performed “Bajo De Tu Sombra” (“Under Your Shadow”) – also voted “Song of the Year” – Emilio surprised an unsuspecting Tejano Music Awards audience by joining his little brother onstage for a short rendition of “Cómo Le Hare.”

Three days later, Emilio and two of his sons, Emilio IV and Diego; plus Raulito and his son Rodrigo gave Jonny Ramírez of Tejano 107 the exclusivity of the first radio interview since the accident.

“I miss all you guys and I’m excited,” were Emilio’s opening words. “I’m nervous, like a new kid.”

Ramírez commented on his fantastic progress then, referring to the awards show, added, “Leave it to a Mexican to run onstage.”

“It felt great,” Emilio said of the impromptu appearance. “I get nervous a lot, but I thank God.”

“Are you ready to do a full set? Are you ready to go back on stage,” Ramírez asked in reference to his upcoming gig in Poteet.

“I may be there two to three hours,” Emilio responded. “I just hope to God to do it all.”

Then Emilio revealed what this writer already knew, but was not allowed to release or expose, until now.

“I get lost with the timing, with the songs. I remember the Dave Lee tunes better and it’s going to take time. Sometimes, if I don’t know a song, I have to make up the words.”

Asked how he stayed in shape, Emilio said he was cycling and running three miles a day. Then shifting the conversation to Raulito, he said, “I’m proud of Raulito and I have to get him back with me … we miss each other.”

Then Ramírez talked about the time when he heard the first version of “Bajo De Tu Sombra” and how happy he was that Raulito took his advice and also congratulated him on the tune winning “Song of the Year.”

“Rather than rush it out, I redid the whole thing and the award really goes out to my brother because he inspired me,” Raulito said. “And in regard to my brother being here today, my mom tells me to give thanks to all the prayers because that’s what saved Emilio’s life.”

Last Sunday, Emilio and Raulito did a 40-minute set during the fundraiser for the Óscar Montemayor Family in Poteet, Texas and Emilio never once glanced down at the lyrics that were placed behind the monitor speakers in case he forgot the lyrics to any song.

“Sometimes I have to read the words and I hate doing that. I freak out,” Emilio said.

One must realize that what took 47 years to learn, he’s trying to relearn in three years, but it’s as a KXTN listener e-mailed,” The Lord has already forgiven you for the past and you are a great testimony. Amen.

Raulito fans feel for him because they fear he may be overshadowed by the shift in attention to his older brother. However, they need not worry because Raulito is now a star in his own right. So much so, that he has a long string of sponsors and has landed his own television show on the Fox network, more on that in a future article.