Iíd like to tell you a story.
In 1985, in the dark and murky days before Vineyard in the UK, St Paul's in Kingston-on-Thames, the church which we were attending, was blessed with a curate, Peter.
He was just lovely. He came with a beautiful wife and two adorable children and very quickly became a highly valued member of the church and a good friend. Musical, intelligent, funny, hardworking, loving, a great guy.
But on January 29th 1986 at 1.30 in the morning he suffered an asthma attack and his heart stopped ...when the ambulance arrived it was started again but his heart failed a second time and wasnít started again until Pete reached the hospital.
At hospital Pete was put on a ventilator and was under sedation for 7 days, and it was said that there was also a possibility he had suffered brain damage and would never regain consciousness.
Day 10 and Pete was brought off the ventilator but remained unconscious.
Day 12 Pete opened his eyes and smiled. He had a tracheotomy and so breathed through his throat. But he was awake
Throughout that time as a church we prayed and prayed, and then prayed a bit more, hanging on every medical bulletin gleaning hopeful signs that Peter would recover....completely.
I wrote in a diary I kept at the time "It's heartbreaking, and I canít think of anything in my whole life that I've found so sad"
Sadly the lack of oxygen Peter suffered in those minutes he was dead damaged the motor areas of his brain and left him permanently disabled, unable to walk, with reduced motor skills in his arms and hands, and talking with great difficulty.
Pete was in hospital for some time but eventually made it home to be with his family. And we somehow got used to Pete's disability and the years rolled by.
But Jan, his wife found it increasingly hard to cope, and Pete and Jan separated and divorced, very amicably, some 9 years later.
They had been married 17 years. And believe me, both as a church and as friends, we felt we had failed them.
Pete is now at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in Putney just round the corner.
And Pete is here today. Hallo Pete. ..Jumper....beard....set of wheels.
The reason for telling you this story is to introduce Pete to you and for you to know a bit of his history. It is hard to hear Pete; inside he's still very much the same as he's always been. A small team of people bring Pete to church nearly every week.
I do still believe that God could heal Pete. But I know too, hard as it is to accept, that Pete has a ministry to us all just as he is.
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