On the first night of the recent Kingdom Come SA conference in Johannesburg many people confirmed by a show of hands that God had healed them as people around them laid hands on them and prayed.
Several people got to stand upfront and share their healing testimonies. One of them — Deborah Green — especially caught my attention because she was so visibly excited and emotional about what the Lord had just done for her teenage son back home in Amanzimtoti as she stood proxy for him while a friend laid hands on her and prayed.
I arranged to interview Deborah the next day. This is her story.
Speech an drama teacher Deborah and film producer husband Richard Green have four children. The first two, were born two years apart. For years they tried to have another child. Many times she asked God to take away her deep longing for another child that was like a burning physical pain to her. After 10 years the couple decided to stop trying.
A year later she unexpectedly had a third child, Liam. Deborah and Richard decided that because Liam was 14 years younger than his brother and 12 years younger than his sister, they should have another child to keep him company.
Two years after Liam was born she gave birth to another son, Rogan, who is now 15 years old.
“If I had had Liam when I wanted to have him 10 years earlier, we wouldn’t have had Rogan. I would have had my tubes tied. I believe that God’s plan was for Rogan and that He engineered the gap so that Rogan would be there,” she said.
The family moved from Gauteng to KwaZulu-Natal when Rogan was four and a half. All was well until December 13 of that year, by which time Rogan was five. On that day he banged his head in a freak accident at Water World in Durban and spent a night under observation in hospital.
Three head injuries
On December 11 the next year, and December 13 the following year Rogan again had accidents in which he banged his head in the same place. During each of the three incidents a swelling like an egg appeared on his forehead, and each time he spent a night in hospital.
But it was only some time later, while doing some filing, that Deborah noticed that the three accidents, during Rogan’s 5th, 6th, and 7th years, were all during the same period in December — two of them on the same date and the other just two days apart.
“I said there is something wrong here [with the recurring pattern of the head injuries] and prayed to break it off. There were no more accidents after that and I thought it had stopped,” she said.
But from Rogan’s Grade 2 year learning problems started. In the years that followed he had to be repeatedly assessed and was found to be behind in comprehension, reading, and spelling, which negatively affected all of his schoolwork.
During Grade 5 he was put on medication prescribed by their doctor. But Deborah took him off the medicine because of negative side effects. That year she also enrolled Rogan in a reading programme where she became friends with a Christian reading therapist who introduced her to Sozo — a Christian inner healing ministry. Deborah took a reluctant Rogan through Sozo sessions but his problems continued.
By Grade 7 Rogan believed he was stupid and had disengaged from the learning process. He had many sessions with a remedial teacher who helped him re-engage with learning. He hated school and would cry himself to sleep on Sunday nights at the prospect of going to school the next day. A teacher said he was so far behind that he needed to go to a special school — something which Deborah resisted because of concerns he would get into the wrong company.
But in high school — where he was put into the lowest academic classes — he got into the wrong company anyway.
“His life was going downhill fast and I was getting desperate and called out to God for help,” said Deborah. As her husband is not a Christian — “temporarily unsaved” as she puts it — she felt she was facing the crisis alone.
“The Lord has been so kind and gracious and has got us through it,” she said.
Something has shifted
“Rogan is now in Grade 10 and something shifted from the beginning of this year. He started the year in a completely different mindset.
“Previously getting him to do homework and exam revision has been a war zone affecting the whole household. He did his homework from the beginning of this year and told me he has decided he wants to do architecture. His subject marks are not good except for technical drawing for which he gets 98%.”
She said there has also been a spiritual shift in Rogan. As the only churchgoing parent she said it had been tough encouraging their children to follow Jesus and she had eventually resorted to “bullying” them to go to church with her.
Despite the obstacles she has pressed on with her faith and is currently one of three Sozo counsellors in Amanzimtoti — something that came out of her struggle with Rogan’s learning problems. They will shortly be opening a Children’s Sozo ministry. Ultimately she plans to launch an Educational Sozo ministry — something that God gave her a powerful vision for while she was watching a teaching by Educational Sozo pioneer Jeffrey Barsch.
When an opportunity arose to join a group of people from her town going to the Kingdom Come SA conference in Johannesburg in mid February this year, she resolved to go despite financial hurdles.
“I fasted before the conference. I have never been so focused on a fast before,”she said.
“I admire Graham Cooke’s [prophet and author] relationship with the Lord, and before my fast I said ‘Lord I want you to unravel me with your kindness like you do Graham Cooke.’ ”
Another focus of her fast was to find a new depth and passion for God’s word, she said.
On the first night of the conference, during a session led by revivalist pastor and author Bill Johnson, she experienced God healing her body. She had broken a kneecap during a fall in December and still could not climb steps or kneel.
When a member of the ministry team assisting at the service had a word of knowledge about knee injuries she got a friend to pray for her knee.
The ministry team leader then encouraged those who had received prayer to try to do something they couldn’t do before. She tried kneeling and ended up joyfully kneeling and standing three times.
Deborah said she was overwhelmed at her healing and felt that God was unraveling her with His kindness.
More to come
But there was more to come. Johnson then called on people with head injuries from trauma to get somebody to pray for them.
Deborah said she felt a great urgency to pray for Rogan. She asked a friend if she should stand proxy for Rogan and her friend said she was uncertain and she dropped it.
Then Johnson spoke again about head injuries. She turned to another friend and said: “I am standing proxy for Rogan right now. Take the band off my head and pray for him.”
After her friend prayed she sms’d Rogan and said she had just prayed for him and wanted to know if he felt any different.
“He texted back: ‘No, not really.’ Then I said to him: ‘Put your hands around your head and then lift them off as if you have taken a band off.’
“Then I waited and waited and waited. And then he texted”: ‘Now what?’ And I replied: ‘Well, do something you couldn’t do before.’ And then there was this gap and I said: ‘Read something’ ”
Their sms conversation continued and Rogan agreed to read from True Grit, a book his mother had bought for him.
Deborah waited. And then Rogan texted back: ”I can read. True Grit is easier to read. I can read faster.”
She texted back: “Jesus has healed you.’
Overwhelmed with gratitude towards God, and shaking with emotion, Deborah made her way forward and shared a testimony about her son’s reading breakthrough.
Only after she had shared her testimony did she notice what else he had sms’d to her. “God told me to read my bible and that verse stood out. Psalm 71.”
She replied that she would read the verse later and typed: “Thank You Lord for restoration”.
By the time she got back to her seat Rogan had texted “Amen” and an excerpt from Psalm 71 “…For those who wanted to harm me have been put to shame and confusion“. He had also misspelled the word “have” and corrected it. And he had followed up with: “Good night. I am going to bed now”.
Deborah was truly unraveled by God’s love at this time. And in awe that her son, who did not know the bible well, had been given a scripture, found his bible, found Psalm 71, found and shared a relevant verse, and quickly typed a series of short messages with uncharacteristically correct spelling.
About her high emotional state on the night of the double healings she said: “What mother would not be when God unravels you with his kindness by blessing your child with restoration? How could I not? I received exactly what I fasted for.”
I phoned Deborah yesterday to find out how things were with Rogan and she said he was a very positive young man, who now not only wanted to become an architect but wanted one day to design, build and run a chain of hotels. His reading confidence level had shot up, she said.