Personal Stories: Rosemary Kitto's story
My Old Life Before The Accident Or The One After, No Contest
An amazing story of how a young lady, paralysed in a road accident, found faith through a book written by a European pastor who understood severe suffering. At the institutions where she lived, together with other residents she worshipped God, often without the approval of those in charge. When at last she achieved her independence the transition from institution to her own bungalow was not at all easy. On her passage through life she has met and been helped by some wonderful people.
As a child I loved Jesus very much, but as I grew older other things became more important. I had a good job in the city, but it was a path that was leading me away from God.
In 1972, at the age of 20, I had a blow out in the front tyre of the car which caused it to roll. I broke my neck, was paralysed from the chest down and confined to a wheelchair. The next year was spent in Stoke Mandeville Hospital. To start with, I was very angry with everyone and especially God. However I met some wonderful Christian nurses and they gradually turned my life around.
I read a book called ‘Tortured for Christ’ written by a Romanian pastor who had suffered so much for his faith. It had a profound effect and I committed my life to Jesus. I became very involved with a Scottish Pentecostal Church where the teaching was wonderful. They understood and taught the holiness of God among other things. It was wonderful grounding for a young Christian.
In 1973 I was baptised in The Spirit. I knew I was going to have hands laid on at the meeting next day, and was lying awake in the wee hours, in a hospital ward, asking the Lord if it was real and He answered by baptising me in The Spirit there and then. Soon after that, I was baptised in water.
The time came to leave hospital and so at the tender age of 21 I went to live at ‘The British Home and Hospital for the Incurables’, an old, tall, red bricked building. As I went through the gates, I remember thinking, ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here!’
In fact, the next three years were very good. I was in a separate unit for young people and we had our own rooms and as much freedom as we wanted. I was involved with the same Scottish church in a London house group. It was a time of learning and growing.
I had heard there was a place in Lancing for younger physically handicapped so went and had a look. I loathed the place on sight, it wasn’t a patch on the other home, but knew that The Lord wanted me there. I met Ray Butler who was our unofficial pastor. We started a Christian Fellowship and The Lord blessed it from day one.
It was very lively and all the local churches were involved. The Priests, Ministers and Pastors were all happy to come and be that week’s speaker. People were saved, born again, baptised in water and The Spirit. Most have gone home to be with the Lord now. We had to endure some bullying from those in charge of the home who hated all things Christian.
The time came for me to move on and my prayer partner, Jean, and I began to pray about this. A fortnight later my social worker had a phone call from housing trust she had never heard of, asking if she knew of anyone in a wheelchair who wanted a home as there would be two purpose built bungalows in their estate they were building in Durrington. My social worker was more amazed than she had ever been and Jean and I were overjoyed at such an answer to prayer.
The day came for me to sign the tenancy agreement. I went with mum and as we came out of my bungalow, opposite, there was a perfect rainbow so bright it had an unbroken reflection as well. Mum just said ‘the bow of promise’ and so it was.
To start with, I found it extremely hard living on my own. I had become institutionalised in the last eight years and I experienced a real wilderness time. The lord of course had His hand on me and again sent some wonderful people into my life. The next 20+ years that little home was a real blessing, both to me and to others.
It was during the latter part of that time I came to New Life Church and I have been and am so happy here. Since being here I have also had to deal with having cancer, but receive great support from our pastor, my friends and of course the Lord. I learned the true meaning of ‘the peace that passes understanding’.
Because of my situation, I have been given many opportunities to witness to others. I have been able to wheel in where angels have feared to tread. Sometimes perhaps people just haven’t had the heart to tell me to go away. If I had a choice of my old life before the accident or the one I have had, there is no contest. I have thus far had a rich, full and deeply blessed life for which I give thanks and praise to my Lord.