This was a headache of mammoth proportions! On the 20th May 1982, I was at home in bed. Pam, my wife, had gone to town and I was alone with our 15 month-old baby. As the morning wore on, the headache grew even worse, until suddenly I felt something snap in my head. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew it was serious.
Knowing I needed help, I called out to God. There were a number of things not right in my life so I promised, ‘If I get through this problem, I’ll straighten them out.’ At this point I became concerned for the baby, who was on my bed. I managed to get hold of her by the leg, put her onto the floor, and drag her down the landing to the back room, where I locked her in. I then crawled back to my bedroom, got to the window, and called out to my neighbours, who were outside at the time, for help.
An ambulance took me to hospital. I was examined, and had a lumbar puncture. The diagnosis was a brain haemorrhage. In the end it turned out to be a burst artery. I was transferred to the regional hospital, where the specialist arranged for a CAT scan. I had an angiogram the next morning, and woke up nine hours later in the recovery room after surgery. Then I lapsed into a coma. The prognosis was poor.
I was put onto a life support machine. As the clock ticked on I slipped into a deeper and deeper coma. Evidently I was in that coma for days with no change, except that the specialist told my wife I did not have fully fixed or dilated pupils. Pam did not understand the medical terms so asked a cousin of hers, who was a nursing sister. She said that basically I was on the brink of death. The cousin asked Pam if she had ever heard of the healing power of God. She told Pam about a couple of miracles she had seen, and gave her a telephone number.
That night Pam rang the number and spoke to a man, Al Ryan, who was the President of the local chapter of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International. When she told him the problem there was a moment’s silence. Then Al said, ‘Mrs. Dunphy, your husband will recover.’ Somehow Pam knew, deep down, that his words were true.
Al then asked for three days of prayer and fasting. Pam’s cousin contacted as many people as she could, requesting their prayer support. It was put out on the local radio’s Christian programme, and prayer groups around the country were contacted. That Sunday evening all of my family gathered to pray for me. The family members were all Catholics, but this kind of meeting was new to them. It was a last resort! What Pam did not know at that time was that all my family had actually gathered to say their goodbye to me. My brother had even come over from England.
The night after the prayer meeting, Pam and her cousin came to visit. They noticed a slight change in my condition. Evidently when they spoke to me, my eyelids fluttered. The cousin went out and spoke with the people monitoring my condition, and asked if there had been any change. They replied that there had not been. Two hours after they left the hospital contacted them. I was conscious. I knew where I was, what had happened to me and even my name!
That evening however, I developed bacterial pneumonia. I had a tracheotomy in an effort to clear my lungs. Coming out of surgery I slipped back into a coma.
Al Ryan, from the FGBFMI, had not given up. He came into the hospital, toting a big Bible. He and Pam came into the Intensive Care Unit, where he prayed for me. He put his hands on me and began praying. He prayed quietly for a few minutes, and then began to pray for healing. As he did, Pam could feel heat coming from within my chest, and my eyelids began to flicker just as they had done on the previous Sunday. Then I heard Al say, ‘You know who’s here, don’t you?’ I nodded my head, and he gave a prayer of thanksgiving. I put my hands together and endeavoured to mouth the words Al prayed.
Of course I was aware of very little of what went on during that time, as far as the hospital and surroundings were concerned. What I do know is that during the second coma I had a sensation of my spirit leaving my body. I felt drawn to a light at the end of a long tunnel. To my left I saw a white horse in full gallop. Then I came to a tunnel to the right. I stopped in front of it and heard a voice. It asked me three questions about my love for my wife and children, after which it went on to say that love was the key to the kingdom. It also said I would have to come back to Earth. I then returned to my body and regained consciousness.
The following day I was awake and alert. Three days later when the chest specialist returned, he was delighted to see me up from my bed and walking about. Two weeks later I was released from hospital.
Out of gratitude, Pam started attending prayer meetings regularly. At first I went along too, but soon began to feel like an exhibit. After a while I stopped going. They did not give up on me though. They continued to pray for me. Nine months later I asked my wife to get a baby sitter so that I could come with her to the prayer meeting that night.
About a year later, we went to a Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship Convention. On the Saturday evening I went to the front and asked one of the men to pray for me. I committed my life to Jesus Christ that night.
As he continued to pray for me, I reached into my pocket, took out my cigarettes, threw them on the floor, and stamped on them. I had tried unsuccessfully to stop smoking before. Since that time I have not touched a cigarette. The urge to smoke went completely.
Before this experience, my whole life was in a mess. If God had not stepped in, Pam and I would surely have separated. In the period after my miraculous healing and my commitment to Jesus, God began dealing with my problems one by one. From that time I have experienced God’s help and guidance in all areas of my life, particularly in the fulfilling of a dream I had of opening a Christian book shop in my spare time. God has wonderfully enabled that to happen, and I am able to give Bibles away free to new people in our prayer group. God has changed our lives in so many ways. He is truly a wonderful and loving Father.