My ministry in a certain church came to an end and I was forced to make a choice. I chose to try to get myself a home before returning to full time ministry, I was blessed with an excellent job in an institution caring for the developmentally delayed. The pay was good and the people were good people to work with. I was employed as accountant but because of difficulties I took on the responsibility of production manager as well. I was very happy.
At Christmastime my wife went to Sydney to be a relief caretaker in a missions office as she had often done before. I planned to join her on Christmas day and over the next few days. My little production team had completed an export order for woolen dusters and earned themselves a break until New Years day.
The day before Christmas our office staff went for lunch at a Chinese restaurant and I was free after lunch. I had mowed the lawn and made arrangements with my neighbor, then gone inside to clean up and get on my way to the big smoke. I was gripped with strong stomach pains and had regurgitated all I had eaten that day. After cleaning myself up I went to the hospital emergency department to get my stomach pumped out. "Food poisoning" I thought.
I was examined at the hospital and given painkillers and left to wait for the results of tests that had been done. After waiting for what seemed to be hours I got up and went to the nurse at reception.
"Thank you nurse, I feel a lot better now. So I think I'll get on my way, it takes about 5 hours you know." I informed her.
"You're not going anywhere until we know what's wrong with you." She said.
"But my wife is expecting me and I'm already late she will be worried. Please hurry it up."
The doctor was recalled and had me admitted to intensive care for more tests. I protested and asked them to contact my wife urgently and let her know I was in hospital.
Suddenly, from being hale and hearty I had become someone at deaths door. I was a month in intensive care in that hospital and another month in intensive care in Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, while three operations were carried out shortening my small intestine. (They tell me it never grows back.). The specialist that did the third operation in Sydney told my wife, "We've done all we can for him now, only prayer can help any further."
During this time, my wife and I could only see the storm we were experiencing, we both asked God many times what was happening and could not really see any future. All over Australia people of many denominations were praying for me and I'm still here more than 18 years later. To God be the glory.
These two months in intensive care are long tale with many twists and turns but finally I returned to recuperate in my home hospital.
The Director of nursing was there to welcome me back from the dead for she had never thought to see me again. The many prayers that were said for me had been answered. I stayed in hospital another month while they made sure I had returned to normal. While I was in the hospital I was visited by people from many denominations that said they enjoyed talking about the Bible with me.
A young nurse, who told me she was a Baptist, said to me, "When I was specialing you in intensive care I asked you, "What do you think will happen? You answered, 'It doesn't really matter for if I die I am ready to go to heaven, yet if God determines to let me live He will have something more for me to do down here.' You're still here so I think you have more to do." Yes still here years later.
I never did return to work but have ministered at home and in India during the past years one day God will let me go home.
Bill Stevenson is a volunteer Pastor with 50 years + experience in missions and ministry. He has witnessed God save and heal many miraculously during this time and often been supported by faith alone.