A touching testimony found in ‘Faith Cometh’, The SCOAN’s magazine. Truly, our lives are in God’s hands… Read with devotion and let faith cometh!
With everything the world could offer, ‘a dream house, well paid jobs, a holiday flat, a game farm with animals – the whole package’ on the outside, it seemed as if the young couple from Pretoria, South Africa lacked nothing. Inwardly, however, Peter and Gene Van Zyl were lonely, restless and searching. For them, life was an ongoing search for something more substantial and fulfilling, as their successful restaurant entrepreneurship, regular parties, social gatherings and wild and spontaneous lifestyle left nothing but emptiness.
Reflecting on his past lifestyle, Peter said: “We were in a pitiful situation. We started off on the wrong foundations. We came from a background where the one with the most money and the nicest girlfriend wins at the end of the day. So our past was full of alcohol, drugs, and unfaithfulness. We came from a life of idolatry. I idolised everything in my life – my businesses and my possessions; I was very materialistic. We lacked substantial truth and were deceived by all kinds of lies”. Speaking of their former activities, Gene said: “It was basically based on going from one party to the next; there was nothing of God, nothing of stability, nothing to look forward to except going from one drink party to another – and as the years went on, our condition was only getting worse. All the parties, all the people and all the work responsibilities caused a lot of havoc in our lives”. Peter summed up his situation, saying, “I was a bomb waiting and looking for a place to explode”.
A downward spiral of events left the young couple’s marriage on the brink of disaster and Peter’s health in dire straits. Time seemed to be running out on them as stability waned. In Peter’s own words, “When everything starts falling apart around you and you don’t have Jesus, then you don’t have hope. There is no hope”.
Knowing that there must be more to life, curiosity and a promise to accompany his friend diagnosed with terminal cancer led Peter to The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations in August, 2006. Previously sceptical and unapproachable concerning spiritual matters, the radical and practical truth that Peter witnessed at The SCOAN, brought him to his knees in repentance before his Creator. Speaking of his first trip, he said: “I saw the truth and the light and that changed me. Within two days, I was sold out for Jesus and everything about The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations”. During the Sunday service broadcast live on Emmanuel TV, on the instruction of Prophet T.B. Joshua, the whole congregation and viewers worldwide stretched their hands to pray for the salvation of Peter and his two friends. Struggling to describe the incredible moment, Peter said: “There is no way to explain it. I don’t know if you can imagine… it feels like everything you ever based your values on just disappeared. So, there was an absolute feeling of nil, zero but it is a good feeling. It feels as if nothing, nothing will stop you now – you will throw everything away”.
Peter returned home a changed man and on seeing that the transformation in the life of her husband was genuine, Gene later agreed to join him on another trip to The SCOAN. Initially sceptical, Gene was convinced by the power of God she saw in the life of Prophet T.B. Joshua. She had come to Nigeria tempted to even give up on her marriage, but after receiving a message of prophecy about the root cause of their marital problems, Gene accepted the Truth and was set free.
Since Peter and Gene have surrendered their lives to Jesus at The SCOAN, their marriage has been restored. Peter has been healed of a serious neck injury and they have joined the family of Emmanuel TV as ‘partners in purpose’ in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world. Peter, affectionately known as ‘Big Brother’ by The SCOAN family and his wife, Gene, have a powerful testimony to share, proving that their lives are truly in God’s hands.
Faith Cometh spoke with them to find out their incredible story.
Gene explained: “I woke up one Monday morning with a funny feeling that something bad was going to happen. Peter was out at the time with his colleagues and they were going to drive back at night, so I was worried about them. That day, my phone rang and it was The SCOAN looking for ‘Big Brother’; I told them that he was on the farm. I tried to call him but he was out of signal. Then suddenly the phone rang and it was The Synagogue again. I told them, “I couldn’t get through to him but have left a message that he should contact you as soon as possible”. Then they told me, “Hold on for the prophet”. I was astounded – he had never phoned me before! Suddenly, I heard the prophet say, “Hello!” I was so excited and so completely overwhelmed that I didn’t actually know what I said to him! I was just saying, “God bless you”. He asked me how I was and told me he wanted to come to South Africa and that he would see us. I was very excited. I actually think I put down the phone before him – I was so excited!
“The next morning, I woke up with the same ‘bad feeling’ again. I work at an estate agency. We go to houses, show people around and take pictures. That day, the house I went to was still under construction. On getting there… I can’t remember much except telling the owner, “I am not going to take photos because your house is not complete”. And I recall him saying, “Are you scared of heights?” I said, “No”. When I woke up, I was in hospital. I thought, “Wow, when I wake up, I must tell my husband about this funny dream!” ‘Big Brother’ can tell the rest of the story…”
“Well, it was a normal day. I didn’t even know that the prophet had phoned my wife the previous day. I was in my office when I got a phone call from her boss who, crying on the phone, said, “Gene fell off a building and there is a lot of blood!” That was the call. She gave me the address and then she was too hysterical to talk. I put down the phone and rushed to the address; it was near our home. As I left the house, I grabbed a bottle of anointing oil which the prophet had given me. When I got there, I saw a team of builders standing in the street looking up in a state of shock. The manager ran to me and said, “Are you the husband?” I said, “Yes”. He started sobbing, “I am sorry for building this place. I should have never built it – there must be a curse on this place!” I said, “Where is she?” He said, “She is just around the house there”.
“As I walked around, I was praying and started to realise how serious it was, judging from the reactions of the people that saw what happened. When I came around the house, I saw her; she was lying on her back, unconscious, with a really big pool of blood next to her head. Literally, it looked like her skull had burst open. She had fallen headfirst off the balcony of the building onto concrete tiles.
“I fell on my knees next to her and started praying. As I prayed, I took some oil and began anointing her. The ambulance was on the way – that I knew, having confirmed with our doctor on the way there. So I couldn’t do anything but just pray – my wife lying next to me with blood everywhere. Then my phone rang. It was about 10 minutes after arriving there. I picked up the phone and it was Prophet T.B. Joshua – straight, not ‘hold on for the man of God’. He said, “Hello! Don’t worry. This I saw three days ago. That’s why I phoned her yesterday. Did you know I phoned her? This is what I saw three days ago – I have been praying for her for three days. She fell, she fell”. I said, “Yes, she fell”. He said, “It is not unto death; don’t worry, she’ll be fine. Don’t worry. I will phone you”.
“I can’t tell you what was going through my mind at that moment. I believe God for the best, but in circumstances like that, you tend to panic. As I was on my knees there, I was really feeling the stress – so it was grace for that moment that the prophet phoned. From that moment, I knew that she wouldn’t die. The ambulance came and she was taken to hospital. Before I got to the hospital, representatives of The SCOAN were with me there. For that whole week in the hospital, someone from The SCOAN was with us, encouraging us and praying with us. It was wonderful!
“When we got to the hospital, they immediately had to do a CR scan to see if there was brain damage or whether the nerves were injured. After the scan result was out, everything was fine but she had broken both her wrists very badly. There were shattered bones everywhere.
“That evening, the prophet phoned again and said that we shouldn’t worry and that we don’t need to operate – that God would heal her. I said, “Ok”. So, she was lying down with her arms above her head, completely bandaged, and drifting in and out of consciousness because of the severe concussion in her head. I knew my wife’s family were on their way and the prophet said not to operate. The next morning, the doctor said we must have an emergency operation. I said, “No, you can’t”. He said, “Excuse me?” I said, “No, you can’t”. He said, “Why not?” I said, “I want to pray about it”. So he flipped completely! He threw the scan up and said, “You can take her to another hospital if my prognosis is not good enough!” I said, “Fine, just give me the forms I need to sign and I will take her to another hospital”. Then he went off and cooled himself down. He came back and said: “No, you don’t have to check her out. What do you want to do?” I said, “I just want to pray for a few days and seek God for guidance on what to do”. He wanted to have an emergency operation but agreed to reschedule for three days later.
“Then, my mother and father in-law wanted to know why we weren’t operating. They didn’t understand and were starting to panic. Family and friends started giving me a lot of pressure. Also, doctors phoned me and said that the bone was so badly shattered that she could get an infection and die if they didn’t operate quickly. I was praying and believing God but there was a lot of pressure and I was feeling the heavy strain. That night, the prophet phoned again.
“Without telling him anything, he said, “Hello! Well, I see the family and doctors are giving you a lot of trouble”. I emphatically said, “Yes!” He said, “Ok, operate, don’t operate – it doesn’t matter, but come to Lagos”. Gene had told me clearly, “If the prophet says don’t operate, we won’t do it”. So I said, “Listen, the prophet said you can operate”. So, she decided to operate, because there was a huge amount of pressure.
“We did the operation – that was two days after the fall, and a week later, we came to Lagos. The doctor said that the operation on the right arm was very successful, but we would have to do another operation on the left one. When we got to Lagos, the man of God greeted Gene, took her hand and said, “Sorry. You know you didn’t need to operate. God would have healed you”. He said that this was an unchangeable event. He saw it and prayed about it, but it was unchangeable”.
Gene continued: “I still had a lot of pain in my arm and was very restricted in its movement. At the prayer line, the prophet prayed for me and later that evening, the pain suddenly began subsiding. I brushed my teeth, which I hadn’t been able to do before and began to use my arm freely. It was then I actually appreciated to what extent the pain had gone! I never took pain tablets again and the pain completely left! The day we were to leave, we met the prophet and he said that we could take the cast off. When we got home, we went again for a scan. The doctor looked at my hands and was quite confused. He kept lifting up my left and right hand, trying to see the difference. I asked him, “Is it better than what you hoped for?” He said, “Yes, it is. What did you guys do?” I said “Well, we prayed about it”.