The testimony of Celine John-Kennedy shared recently in Orlu Diocese is another reminder that the dividing line between our world and eternity is very thin. Indeed, God is using every available opportunity to alert us to the need to always serve Him in all sincerity and transparency, as every hidden activity undertaken by any person will eventually be exposed, and the minutest blemish will cost men and women eternity in God’s kingdom.
Celine John-Kennedy is the wife of Pastor John-Kennedy David, the pastor overseeing the Watchman Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement, Umuaka District in Orlu Diocese, Imo State.
She was sick and had gone to the hospital where she was examined by the doctor who also prescribed some drugs for her, and asked her to go. While at home that evening, a spectacular thing happened. Before her husband and some brethren, her spirit departed from her body, and what she experienced and saw after that is better narrated by her. When Charismatic Signs visited her at home in January (2012), she was still awed by her experience, and grateful to God for granting her another opportunity to return to finish her work in the Lord’s Vineyard. Also speaking to Charismatic Signs, Pastor John-Kennedy said that for several hours, his wife’s body remained “as cold as ice.” This is how he narrated what happened: “I boiled hot water and put her legs inside it but there was no effect whatsoever. Her body was as cold as ice up to the neck. If you placed her head on a seat, it would fall helplessly,” he said. Let’s now hear the testimony as narrated by Sister Celine during a special service at the Watchman Fellowship Centre, Umuaka, on October 25, 2011:
THIS incident happened on the 9th of September, 2011. On that fateful day, I died but later came back to life. When I began this Christian race, I was 20 years old. That was when God called me to serve Him. It happened that I was in a dream one day, and I saw myself in our compound. Suddenly, a python appeared, but as I advanced to see it clearly, it turned into a man and began to pursue me. I ran and when I got to a bend, I saw another man approaching, so I ran to him for protection, and held on to him. Then the other man ran past us and stood at a distance pointing at me. But I stood firmly behind the other man and began singing a song in the vernacular which when translated would appear thus:
I will go to heaven, I will go to heaven.
Whatever the devil likes, let him do.
I will go to heaven.
Having escaped from the devil, Jesus now took me as His own. And I have served Him since then. Now recently, I became sick. I bought some drugs and took, but the sickness persisted. During this time, too, I saw a revelation where some flood came and was carrying my clothes away. I was really worried by that revelation. When the sickness continued for about two or three days, I was taken to the hospital. There the doctor examined me and checked my Blood Pressure (BP). It was 136/76. So he prescribed some drugs for me and asked me to go. At that time, the youths were having a programme in the church and I attended. When a sister saw me there and asked whether I was okay, I told her how it was with me, that I wasn’t feeling fine. She then proceeded to share a revelation she had seen about me the previous day. According to her, she saw my husband remarrying. She said she had prayed about it but counseled that more prayers were required.
At home that night, after my meal, I took the drugs I brought from the hospital. I then shared with my husband the dream I had and the one the sister told me she too had. He replied that it was a dream concerning death. He then asked me if I wanted to die and I said no. He now asked that we pray and reject the death. So, we began to pray. The prayer may have lasted up to 20 minutes, before I noticed that I couldn’t get myself again. But my husband was still praying with his eyes closed, while I was dying gradually. I felt like sitting down. In fact, he hadn’t even finished praying before I sat down. He asked how I was feeling, and I told him that my mind was going out. The experience intensified. He asked about the drugs I had taken. I told him that it was the doctor that prescribed them after which the nurses gave them to me. Immediately, I began to remind myself that the Bible said that even if we took poison, it would not hurt us. So, even if what I took were the wrong drugs or that I had taken an overdose, God would still save me.
My condition became worse. Instantly, a sister was invited to pass the night with us. That was between 9 and 10pm. She immediately brought a coconut and broke it, so I could take its water to neutralize the effects of the drugs, if that was the problem. By then, I was gradually losing consciousness. My body began to change seriously. I hardly saw things around me anymore. I drank the coconut water thinking my body would return to normal. After sometime, my head cooled a bit, but shortly after, my mind went off again. I was going off and on. My husband and the others began to call the doctor on phone describing my situation to him. He said the drugs I took were strong and demanded to know if I ate anything before taking them. Later they squeezed bitter leaf in water for me to drink the juice. When my husband called a brother to tell him what was happening, he advised that I be given a mixture of malt drink and milk. While they were arranging that, my teeth were firmly clenched. According to them, they had to use a spoon to force open my teeth.
Incidentally, this thing happened on a day the Church was organizing a Youth Programme. My husband and the other pastors were supposed to pass the night in the Church that day, but the Spirit of God led him to come home that night. And God used him as an instrument that day. This means that there is nothing that happens that God does not have foreknowledge of. God is omniscient. My husband continued praying for me. Even though I was unable to tell him the areas he should direct his prayers, the Spirit of God was in control, leading and guiding him as if he was with me in the spirit realm. This continued until I regained consciousness and began to sing:
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul…
That was the point I returned to the earth before moving out again. Usually, each time I left my body, my husband would be praying and calling me, demanding that I respond to his call. This happened for several hours. Then at a certain stage, I saw that the heavens have been opened to me and I saw a very thick cloud, thicker than this church pillar. I was made to understand that God lived in it. My husband was still beside me but immediately a being came to my right side and started communicating with me.
Because my husband and children were busy praying and also calling me, I was being distracted from concentrating on what was happening on the other side, because I could still hear what they were saying. That very day I saw great things with my eyes. All the things we are told about God and His abode are true. I don’t know why God translated me to the other side and brought me back. Maybe it is for your own good or for my own good. When these things were going on, that person by my side noticed that I was still being distracted by the things happening on earth. So, he said he would now transfer me to the Spirit of God. At that point, God became very real to me. Indeed, there is a body, soul and spirit in every human being. Immediately the Spirit of God appeared, the situation changed. If you go there, you will no longer have the will or power of your own. You will no more have control over yourself even if you were a tiger. If you want to talk, unless you are permitted or given the power to do so, you will not be able. So as soon as I stood there, my soul came out of me and attached itself to that spirit and the spirit carried me away. As if my husband understood what was going on, he immediately began to call me. He was asking me whether I could talk, but I was not able to tell him that I no longer had the power to talk. The power had been taken from me. As they kept praying and calling me, I was moving away in the spirit until I went off completely and no longer knew what was happening on earth.
According to my husband, my entire body became cold from my feet to my neck. It was only my neck that was still showing a very slight sign of life. The spirit carried me and I didn’t have any distractions again from the earth. I was totally cut off. We began to move. Then everything that ever happened in my life began to be played back like a film. But suddenly, I began to hear again the crying and prayers of my husband and the other people. I also remember that I started confessing that I shall not die. The Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. After sometime, I stopped and said to the Spirit leading me: But you said that I would go back in an hour’s time? I said that because of the crying and prayers I had begun to hear again. Then He said to me that it was not yet time and we moved on again. Then the next thing I saw displayed before me was how I had lived my life from the day I became knowledgeable to that very day that this thing was happening, that is, Friday, 9th September, 2011. It was displayed on a wall and I saw exactly how I had lived my life, at every stage.
My brethren, if you are here and you are having a double mind or serving God hypocritically, this testimony is for you and also for me. That day, I understood that every hidden thing will be exposed before God. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. On your own day, every truth about you will be laid bare before you. The Bible says that anyone that maketh a lie will not see heaven. In fact, it became very clear to me that one cannot cover even a small lie. Then we continued. I kept seeing how I had lived my life and the kind of heart I had carried while serving God how pure and free from idols it was. As we went on, everything appeared like the clock ticking away. There I was being screened, and I was considering within me whether there was any hidden or unconfessed sin in me. Everything about me was shown to me. NOTHING WAS HIDDEN! We got to a particular point in my life and the angel accompanying me said: At this point, you faced a temptation. So, what happened? I replied that yes, I was tempted, but I overcame. And he said, yes, you overcame.
As I looked around, I did not see any devil, darkness, or any person or being at all, but I knew all the while even as I talked that a Spirit was by my left. The Bible talks about the accuser of brethren. Yes, he did not give up. He wanted me to make negative confessions. And if I had yielded, may be, I would not have been able to come back.
A time came and I felt the end had come, that my return to the earth would no longer be possible. On that day, my son, Gift, was with his fellow youths at the youth programme in the church. Suddenly, I was able to talk and I asked my husband to call Gift for me. What I had in mind was to see him for the last time before I am finally taken away. My husband sensed what was going on in my mind and began to rebuke me saying, why are you asking for Gift? Then I became calm again, and the pictures of everything that ever happened in my life started appearing before me again. Then we got to a point and the devil came to my side and asked me: What about those sins you committed with your eyes? Then I answered that I had confessed them to God and He had forgiven me, and that the blood of Jesus had washed me clean. When this question was asked, everywhere became calm. The Spirit with me neither said anything nor tried to assist me with any answer. But immediately I answered this question, something like a strong breeze carried the devil away and I did not sense his presence again. That day, it became clear to me that even at the point of death, Jesus will not disappoint you. But the Bible says that your sins will find you out. That day, I knew that God is indeed the Truth. I was screened thoroughly to see if there were any sins in me. It was not that I had not sinned but I had confessed my sins and forsaken them and the blood of Jesus had cleansed me and so I had no sin again. The Spirit continued to lead me through the journey of my life, how I had lived my life to that very day this incident took place.
Then, we got to the 3rd stage. Indeed, there is life in the word of God. We are told to always study and meditate on it, and even memorize it, and, in fact, chew it like the way people chew kola nut. But many of us find this very difficult to do. It was that day that I understood that the amount of the word of God in you will speak for you on that day. As soon as I got there, every word of God I ever knew, every word of God I ever had in mind came out to intervene for me. I don’t know how to explain this. When somebody dies, the person will still be with his senses. I was with my senses just as it was on earth. Some people say that when anyone dies that the person will no longer be able to know what is happening around him. It is not true. If you go there, whatever you ever did you will know them. Your senses will come back to you, unless God decides to take them away from you. All the word of God you ever heard will resurface in your memory. You can’t cover any thing. God is the only Hand that can cover the sun.
So, all the word of God in me began to speak for me. After all that, I found myself at a Y-Junction. I was told that one road led to heaven while the other led back to the earth. If I chose the one leading into heaven, then I would no longer be able to return to my body. Some people may not be given the opportunity to choose, but in my own case, I found grace in God’s sight and I was asked to make a choice. Actually, I had a desire to go into heaven and see how the place looked like, but at the same time I wanted to return to the earth. So, I reasoned within myself that if I entered heaven, I might not be given the opportunity to return to the earth again. And I found that I kept confessing that I shall not die. And as I made the confession once again, the Spirit of God carried me and dropped me on the earth and held me by the hand and told me to go and testify to mankind that there is nothing hidden that will not be made known. He said that I should tell everyone that whatever evil that was done in the secret will be exposed and it will damn the doer on the last day. So if you are hypocritical in your service to God, you are doing yourself and not God.
Then, all of a sudden, where I saw myself was at our Fellowship Centre, by then the Spirit had left me. That was where I landed. Then I began to trace my way back to the house where my body lay. According to Sis Ijeoma who was with them at the house, my mouth suddenly began to move and I began to smile in the physical. What happened was that in the spirit, I was very happy and my heart had been transformed. God became more real to me. I continued to come home. At the gate, I said to them: I am coming back! So they were alarmed and exclaimed that I had started talking. So, gradually, I began to regain consciousness, as I reentered my body. That was between 3.00am and 4.00am. And my husband continued praying for me. And during the morning devotion that day, they wanted to be sure I was really back, and so they asked me to sing. So, God restored me back to life, and here am I today.
Praise the Lord!”