1 SPORTS CAR
I had a chance to go for a joyride in a MG sports car. It felt so exciting. We were mostly young people at the annual church camp, way out in the boonies, somewhere south of Salisbury, Rhodesia. It was the Rhodes and Founders long weekend. I was doing compulsory military training at the Air Force base in Gwelo at the time. The camp needed some more milk and bread, so one guy borrowed another guy’s sports car for the trip. We went to some country store, and I remember seeing three big glass bottles of milk in the car.
As we started back, a fear came over me, and I reminded him that we had valuable cargo on board. I was twenty years old, and he was about nineteen. He was driving recklessly. He overtook a car on a curve on the dirt road, which he shouldn’t have done, and misjudged the direct steering of the sports car. We went off to the left side of the road, then, he must have panicked, and pulled the steering wheel to the right. Everything happened so fast, and the next moment I was lying on the ground next to the car. He was kept in the car by the steering wheel.
I got up to check on him, but my back was so sore that I went and lay down again. I remember seeing lots of little black children standing around looking at me. I remember an ambulance coming and I was loaded up into it. Later, I heard that the people in the car behind us had told the church people that we rolled about six times. I could have been dead.
They took x-rays of my body, and the doctor told me I had a cracked spine. So I asked him if he could fix it, but he shook his head and said:”No.” That is not very encouraging when the doctor in the top hospital in the country tells you that he cannot fix you. They put a wooden board under the mattress and I was not allowed to move. I was in a bed by the window of a dormitory of about twenty or thirty beds. The nurse would open the window early in the morning, and it was so cold. It was winter. They put a suppository up my bum to make my stomach work. I had to go toilet lying down. That was awkward.
3 MY GUITAR
Somebody smuggled my guitar in to the hospital, and I was told that if the matron saw it, she would confiscate it. They said she was an “old battleaxe.” Of course, I couldn’t move, but someone would have to get the guitar out and put it on me. I remember my girlfriend visiting me almost every day. That was very nice of her, and it must have cut into her busy schedule. I remember my uncle visiting me and I sang a song about “these old bones are gonna rise again.”
One day the cleaner was cleaning under my bed and put the guitar in the passage. I could see the matron coming, and I called to him to put the guitar back, but he didn’t heed my call. I thought I would never see my guitar again. The matron came closer and closer, and I dreaded the result. Then she said: “Oh, a banjo!” Then she wanted me to sing and play for her! What a surprise! She became my biggest fan! When the Air Force men came with a wheelchair to take me away, she was running behind me calling out: “Sing me one more song!” Bless her heart.
4 RADIO AND SONGS
In our country we only had one English radio station. Everything was on that one station. They had the radio playing over the hospital speakers at certain times. In the afternoons they sometimes had request programmes, where people sent messages and requested songs. I remember hearing my name on the radio! A message came over the air for me to recover, and it was from the UAFC YP in Gwelo. That was such a surprise and a blessing. The young people of a church in Gwelo were thinking of me. That was so kind of them.
One day I remember hearing the Beatles singing a song about a “Paperback writer.” Wow. I really enjoyed hearing that song and their wonderful harmony.
There was this one particular song that was on my heart when I was in the hospital. It is a song I heard Jim Reeves singing on a record. “God be with you till we meet again.” I checked on the YouTube today, and noticed that he sang only two verses of the song that has four verses. However, on the last verse of the songs it says these words: “Smite death’s threatening wave before you.”
I never heard anything from my parents at that time. I guess I had no fixed address. I sometimes wondered what they were thinking about me. Later on I heard the background story. Before the long weekend, my mother had a vision of me and some of the young people of our church. We were at a beach in South Africa. She saw a big wave come over us, and when the wave pulled back, I was no longer in the picture. Then she figured that I was about to die. So she prayed for me. They call it interceding. So, maybe my mother’s prayers helped me from dying in that accident. She shared her dream with the three girls at the college in Bulawayo, and with my sisters. Those three college girls and my oldest sister were at that same camp where I got hurt. So it seems like sometimes God warns people ahead of time when danger is in their future. I know I felt that “fear” in the car as we left the country store. I don’t think anyone ever wore seat belts in those days, and I don’t even know if cars were rigged for them back in 1966.
5 WALKING AGAIN
After about ten or more days, the doctor gave me the good news that I was allowed to walk again. I wanted to go to the toilet on my own! I climbed out of bed, and tried to walk. As I was falling, I managed to grab on the bed next to me. That was a shock to me. I had to shuffle very slowly grabbing on various beds until I could make it to the toilet. After that I was okay. I spent time at the Air Force hospital in Salisbury, and in Gwelo, until I was able to get back to my normal security job. Every so often they flew me back to the doctor in Salisbury. So I had some nice rides in the old Dakota planes, back and forth until I was deemed as recovered. I used to have to touch my toes until the day came that I felt no more pain. So, I thought I was healed. I was wrong!
6 RUGBY ACCIDENT
I thought I was healed, but one day I got wrecked during a rugby game. I went dilly for a couple of days. I don’t know if it was something to do with the spine or not. I guess I shouldn’t have played that rough game after having a cracked spine. The doctor in Bulawayo said it was concussion. I notice now as I watch rugby on the YouTube that every now and then they take players off the field if they think they have been concussed. I don’t remember them ever doing that when I played rugby.
7 SINGING AND PLAYING GUITAR
After my rugby accident, I quit my job and went out singing and playing the guitar for Jesus. I went to South Africa, and by God’s grace, things went well for me there. One weekend in 1972, I was singing at a church conference somewhere south of Johannesburg, and the pain came back into my spine. I thought that if I had a good night’s sleep everything would be okay. I was wrong. Every day the pain got worse. I was singing every night in a different city, and lugging two amplifiers and two big speaker boxes with me. There were two twelve inch speakers in each box.
8 LOTS OF PAIN
I was in so much pain, that I thought I would spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. I remember one morning trying to get out of bed. I threw the sheet and blankets off, rolled on my stomach, and got one leg at a time off the bed until I was in a kneeling position. Then I would slowly try and bring myself up. I would move a few inches and stop until the pain subsides, and another few inches, etc. It took about ten minutes just to get out of bed. I didn’t take any pain tablets, because I always want to know if something is wrong.
9 PARK MEETING
A business men’s group asked me to sing at a park in northern Johannesburg on the Pentecost weekend. I drove about a hundred miles to pick up my girlfriend in Middelburg, then about another hundred miles to get to the park. They had a speaker there from Australia. I think his name was Len Jones. He asked us a question: “How many of you have faith that you are saved?” I raised my hand. I had received Jesus as my Saviour when I was a little boy, so I had faith that I was saved. My mother told me that it was on their wedding anniversary that I went to the front of the church to receive Jesus as my Saviour, when I was eight years old.
Then he said something that shocked me. He said it was the same faith that heals me. I thought that to get saved, you needed faith the size of a grain of sand, but to get healed, you needed faith the size of a mountain, and I didn’t have that big a faith. Then he quoted from Isaiah 53 verse 5: “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed.” He said that when the Roman soldiers lashed Jesus’ back, that was for our healing, and when he died on the cross, that was to forgive our sins. It is all in the same atonement.
So if I have faith that I am saved, I have enough faith to get healed. It felt like he brought the mountain down to my level. Then he challenged us. He said: “Raise your hands and say: With the stripes of Jesus, I am healed.” So I did that, and instantly, all the pain left my spine! That was one of the greatest days of my life. I had just made a long playing record, and Hennie Schoeman and his band that backed me was there. I asked them to back me, and sold about 50 records. God blessed me spiritually, physically and financially. My girlfriend I took to the meeting later became my wife! Thank you, Jesus. The record was called: “It’s gotta be love.”
10 THE PAIN CAME BACK
The next morning, I got out of bed like normal – no pain in my back, but in the afternoon when I was driving my car, the pain came back. When that happened, I remembered a lady that told us how she got healed, and I said: “Get thee behind me Satan, with the stripes of Jesus I am healed!” The pain left instantly. The devil is a thief, and he was trying to steal my healing. The pain came back every day for about three months, but when I rebuked the devil, the pain left instantly. Every one of us is in a battle. The devil is the enemy. Jesus said: “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
11 NAME CHANGES
Some of the names have changed since I was in various places in Africa. Rhodesia is now called Zimbabwe. Salisbury is now called Harare. Gwelo is now called Gweru.
I remember reading somewhere on the internet of how Pastor Len Jones went to William Branham’s meetings in America and all the miracles that happened there.
13 A song
About a year after my healing I wrote a song called:
and put it on a small record in 1973. I did a “home” recording of it in my old age, and it is on the YouTube.