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EPISODE 01: Healing
Nigel Mumford has seen God heal him and use him in the process of healing of other people. His story is remarkable, inspirational, and worshipful. On this podcast episode we discuss themes from his book "This is Where Your Healing Begins" and his ministry to military veterans “Welcome Home Initiative.”
God’s Call on Your Life: What is it? by Bill Hendricks
This Is Where Your Healing Begins by Nigel Mumford
Welcome to Questions That Matter, the podcast of the C.S. Lewis Institute. I'm your host, Randy Newman, and today my conversation partner is Nigel Mumford, who has a fantastic ministry called By His Wounds, a healing ministry. Nigel lives in Virginia Beach. He served in Her Majesty's Royal Marine Commandos for a number of years. He's originally from England. In 2007, Nigel created Welcome Home Initiative Services, a program of healing for veterans. Nigel, it's a delight to have you on Questions That Matter.
Thank you for inviting me, Randy. It's great to be here.
A Journey Toward Healing
Well, Nigel, I've heard some wonderful things about you from our fellows in the Virginia Beach area, but I'm guessing that the vast majority of our listeners have not heard of you or your ministry. So maybe just for us to get to know you a little bit better, could you begin by telling us: How did you become a Christian?
Absolutely. I was raised in a Christian family. I was dragged to church on Sundays. We actually just walked. It was just down the road in England, a little place called Brixton in Devon. And my father became a priest at 50, and so did I. But I joined Her Majesty's Royal Marines. I wanted to be a bobby. I wanted to be a policeman. And kept training their entrance exam. So I did the seven months of basic training, did my combat training, and then three days before going into combat, on my 18th birthday, on March 10 at 3 p.m., in 1972, it was raining. I went for a walk. Actually, I went for a walk—I was 2 hours early for the train for my leave before going to combat. Went for a walk, it started to rain, and I ducked into the YMCA.
And this 16-year-old kid came up to me and said, “Do you want to meet Jesus?” And I very sarcastically said, “I thought He was dead. I thought they killed Him 2,000 years ago.” Terrible thing to say now, but now I realize it. And he laughed, much like you did. He took me into the chapel. There were some kids playing guitars. He kicked everybody out, told me to kneel. He said, “I'm going to say a prayer. When I finish speaking, just say whatever comes out of your mouth.” And I said, “I can't do that. I'm a Marine. You're going to have to tell me.” So he prayed, and there was this dreadful silence. And I'm thinking, “Oh, my God! What am I going to say?” And I was freaking out. “I don't know what to do!” And I tell you, Randy, I opened my eyes, and the cross on the altar in the chapel was bathed in this light. And I heard myself say—I didn't think it. I heard myself say, “I see the Light.” And at that moment I knew that I knew that I knew. And I was filled with the Holy Spirit. I got on the train and was trying to convert everybody. I'm surprised nobody threw me off the train, quite frankly, because I was trying to convert everybody on the train. I went off to war. I saw man's in humanity to man. I was horrified. And, anyway, that's where it began.
Wow. Now, I'm sorry. So how old were you when you were pulled into this YMCA?
Yes. It was three days before my 18th birthday. So at 18, I was allowed to go off to combat and get shot. At that moment, I was not. I was too young. So they literally waited for my 18thbirthday, and then I went off to combat.
And then fill us in from there. So you were in the military service for how long?
Yes. Nearly eight years, the last two years as a drill instructor. So I was teaching grown men to become commandos. My job was to make them cry. And my job as a priest, I still make men cry. I don't know why that is.
Hopefully in different ways, although I don't know.
Very, very definitely. Yes. But when four of my recruits were killed in an IED, my life as I knew it came to a grinding halt. I was diagnosed with shell shock. I couldn't speak for a week, and I had a very bad stutter for six months. I was destroyed. And ironically, later on, I found out that they weren't my guys at all, but it ended my career. You can't have a drill instructor who stutters. It doesn't work. “Quick, quick, quick march,” and everybody would fall over. But anyway, it was horrific. It really was. I learned about shell shock, as it was called in those days, and I've written a book on that subject, called After the Trauma the Battle Begins. So I've seen man's inhumanity to man. So my sister... Shall I go on to talk about how it brought me into the healing service?
Yeah, yeah. So my sister Julie was a ballerina with the Royal Ballet. She got very sick. She had a disease, or dis-ease, I should say, called dystonia. She was sick for three years, and the diagnosis for her was death by breaking her own neck. She had violent spasms, where she would coil into a ball and then expand outwards. Arms and legs would flail around, and her neck would fly back with such force they thought she was going to die by breaking her own neck.
After seeing my sister, a man called Canon Jim Glenn on came to pray for her from Australia. And the next day he laid hands on her, and she was cured. Not just healed. She was cured. And that totally changed my life. A year later, I had a picture frame business, and a woman came into my shop who said, “I have a very bad headache.” And I was standing in front of her, and I watched my hands go onto her head. It was not a conscious effort. I just watched my hands raise up. I touched her on the head and she said, “What did you do? The pain is gone.” And I was terrified. I really was. Yeah. At that moment, Randy, I knew that I hadn't done anything, but God had. And it was a lovely introduction to the healing ministry a year after my sister had been healed.
Where Healing Begins
I love this. I love this. You say in your book—I'm looking at your book. “This is where your healing begins.” You say, right at the beginning, “Let me say quite clearly I am not a healer, nor am I a faith healer. Only God heals.” But it does seem that God has called you to a ministry of healing. Is that fair to say?
Absolutely, yeah. Very much so. I guess you could say the Bible says, “By your fruit you are known.” And over the last 30 years, I've seen some truly remarkable incidences where it can only be God. So I have faith in the ability of God to heal, but I would not call myself a healer because I know it's God who heals, not I.
Yeah. And this is really an important point. The focus of our ministry, the C.S. Lewis Institute, is discipleship of heart and mind, and we want to help people discover perhaps is the word of how God has gifted them and called them. And people see themselves as having a gift or having a calling, but it is indeed God who does the supernatural work. I believe God has given me the ability to teach, but in fact, it is God who is teaching through me. And so I look at His word. I expound it. It has my personality in it when I'm teaching, but I look and see the effect and say, just as you're saying about healing, is, “Only God is the one who can do the healing.” So am I correct that you didn't necessarily seek this, you just saw that God was using you in this way?
Absolutely, and it scared the bejeebas out of me, whatever a bejeeber is.
We’ll save that for another podcast. We'll be interpreting that. But no. Go on, really. So you say it scared you. Why did it scare you?
Because it was so out of the blue. I mean, here was this woman who literally looked green. She had a terrible headache. It looked like she was going to throw up at any moment. And here I am standing in front of her, and I said, “Are you okay?” She said, “No. I’ve got a headache.” And here I am, standing there, in real time, watching my hands go up in the air. I can see it now and touching her. And she looked me right in the eye and said, “What did you do?” And I'm so glad that was how I was introduced to the healing ministry, even though I knew that God had cured my sister. I mean, she was not going to live. She was dying. She was down to 85 pounds or something ridiculous. She was very fragile. And then she was cured. And then a year later, this happened. And it wasn't something I was looking for by any means. I mean, heck, I was a drill instructor. I was a Marine, a broken Marine in a job doing picture framing, which was very little stress, except at Christmas, when it was awful.
But you know, to put this in a Bible perspective, 1 Corinthians 12:31 says, “Seek ye then the greater gifts.” And I wasn't doing that, but now I am, because I want to work in all the greater gifts. Now, I know it's without doubt that God has given me this gift. In all humility, I must add, it is extraordinary watching God do what He does. Particularly... You could be standing in front of 500 people speaking, and God would give me a word of knowledge, and I want more of that. I want more prophetic wisdom. And he would say, “Somebody over there has a bad shoulder,” and indeed, somebody over there has a bad shoulder. We’d bring them forward, we pray for them, and boom, they're healed. It's extraordinary.
Now follow up a little bit. So then what happened with your sister?
Well, Julie was, the next day... well, after Jim Glennon spoke with her, she was able to sit up in bed unaided. The next day, she got out of bed, and over the next three months, her physical healing was profound, but her emotional healing was horrific. She tried to kill herself. Even though she was physically healed, her emotional self wasn't there yet, and she had suicidal ideology. And it wasn't until several months later that she realized that she'd been cured. And the Daily Telegraph actually picked up, you know, “Ballerina Miraculously Healed” by this chap Jim Glennon. So I think God gets our attention and clearly got my attention in an extraordinary way. So I spoke to my father. Actually, I flew to England on my parents ‘wedding anniversary and surprised them, and I had lunch with my dad. And I've never, ever been so close to my father, who I mentioned... well, he’d been healed, but he became a priest at 50, as I did.
And he told me that his experiences, which were extraordinary, of taking an afternoon... He put Wednesday afternoons aside to listen to God, and he had some amazing stories from his Wednesday afternoons. They’d make a book in itself. And so we were talking, and then my mom came in with dinner, and we both said to her, “We just had lunch.” She said, “No, its 6:00.” We'd been speaking all afternoon about Jesus and his experiences. I mean, he told me a great story, Randy, where he sat one afternoon. “What shall I do?” And God made it very clear. “Get in your car, start it, take a left, take a right, take a left, take a right, go down the road.” He found an ambulance with the lights on, the door open, the ambulance driver with a map in his hand with his hat on the back of his head, looking horrified. My dad said, “Can I help you?” He said, “Yes, I'm lost.” The blue lights were flying, you know? And he said, “Well, where are you going?” He said, “I'm going to a heart attack.” “What's the name?” He said, “That’s one of my parishioners.” He said, “Follow me.” They got there in time to save the guy's life. I mean, that could only be God.
Now, so you tell in your book that you yourself have experienced a profound physical healing. Tell us about that.
Well, both physical and emotional. Healing from post-traumatic stress, which I turned around. God’s recycled me on the post-traumatic stress to help combat veterans, and a lot of them, we do a program called the Welcome Home Initiative, where over 1,000 veterans have attended this three-day program. So from an emotional perspective, God has healed me and helped others.
But from a physical perspective, ten years ago, 2009, I contracted the swine flu, the H1N1virus, and I was hospitalized for three months. I was in the ICU.
Three months, yep. I was in an induced coma for three weeks, just like we're seeing today, with the COVID, a very similar reaction. I was intubated for three weeks. I had a trach. Both of my lungs were punctured. Copious amounts of water actually came out of my lungs. My wife said, “You don't need to act like Jesus, having your lungs pierced and water coming out, “which is exactly what happened. Very strange. And then I had a terrible bed sore, which was agony. I've never known so much physical pain in all my life. So I had to learn how to walk, had to learn how to talk, how to drink, eat, use a knife and fork. I was paralyzed for nearly four weeks.
Oh, my goodness.
So I had to teach my body how to work again. And I'm left handed, so my right side came back, and I had to literally take my right hand and lift my left hand up to make it move. And I couldn’t even push the button on the call button. It was awful. But I got to tell you, whilst I was in the coma, I went to heaven a few times, and I wrote a book called Dying to Live: How Near Death Experiences Transform Our Faith. And in that book, I write about the visions I had of heaven, which were just extraordinary. So I have no fear of death. Pain, I don't like, but heaven.... You can keep pain. After having abed sore for three months, after that, they had to put a wick in it twice a day, remove the wick, and put a new wick in. It was excruciating.
All right, we're going to ask you to withhold some of those details because I'm getting a little squeamish, and I prefer not to ask you to have to heal me from nausea during an interview, especially since you're in Virginia Beach and I'm here. I have heard a number of people say, “I'm not afraid of death. I am afraid of dying.” The process could be excruciating. And since this is the C.S. Lewis Institute podcast, I feel the need to always include a C.S. Lewis quote. It really isn't a need, but Lewis almost died a few months before he actually did die. He went into a coma and had a similar experience to you, of getting right up to heaven or to the gate. And then he came back, and he wrote to his good friend Arthur Greeves that it was actually rather disappointing to get that close and then to have to return and to think, “I'm going to have to go through this all again, and the next time might not be as pleasant.” And the last line of this section in his letter, he said, “Poor Lazarus!
I think that's hysterical. The poor guy had to go through it again.
Yes. I over relate to Lazarus, because I want to—I probably won't. I'd love to write a novel about him. I wish he had written something, I really do. But I feel like Lazarus. I really do. And it's interesting you should bring it up, because when people say, “I don't have faith to be healed. How can God heal? I don’t have the faith.” Well, my reply, my retort, would be, “How much faith did Lazarus have to be healed?” He was dead. He was dead! So we don’t need any faith. So that’s the extraordinary thing about my biggest takeaway, is that I prayed for somebody in England at a certain time, and at that very certain time, without him even knowing we were praying with his sister over here... He'd actually been hit by a car. Ladies and gentlemen, if you go to England, traffic drives on the other side of the road, so please Watch it when you cross the road. And this chap had looked the wrong way. He’d been hit by a car. He was in an extraordinary amount of pain. At the exact time we prayed, 2:00 here, 7:00 p.m. there. The next day, his sister called him up and said, “How are you?” He said, “At 7:00 p.m. last night, the pain left me completely.” The exact time we were praying. So when we think of the centurion, “Just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” And it takes it to a different level. Randy.
We'll return to my conversation in just a moment. I do want to invite you to take a look at our website, cslewisinstitute.org, and avail yourself to the many resources that we have there. We have over 40 years’ worth of articles and recordings and events that can be tremendously helpful. Check out the different ways that we can help you share your faith or grow deeply in your faith. And consider also supporting the institute. If you click on the button that says donate, we would love to have you as a ministry partner. Now, let’s return to the conversation.
Yes. And you've touched on something that's very, very important that often gets overlooked. I mean, I love the fact, when I read that in your book, that, “How much faith did Lazarus have?” Because there are some so-called faith healers who will say, “If someone is prayed for and they don't get healed, well, it's because it's their fault. They didn’t have enough faith.” Which is, first of all, I think is just cruel.
It’s abuse. And the scripture doesn't support that. I mean, the truth is, sometimes God heals. Sometimes he chooses to keep that thorn in the side, as he told to Paul.
Yes. I would agree, but I believe He heals all the time and cures sometimes. And that's the mystery. And I tell you, when I get to the pearly gates and I get to see Peter, I'm going to have my hands on my hips and say, “What the heck?” I don't understand that. But I do know, and I would stand firm in my faith, that I believe everybody's healed somehow of something, even if they die. But sometimes people are cured.
I was speaking to somebody yesterday who has been stage IV pancreatic cancer, telling him a story about a year ago of a woman who, six years ago, I prayed for. Called me up out of the blue at the five-year anniversary, and it’s the only woman I've ever prayed for in my hotel room. I don't allow women to come into my hotel room. But she did come in with her husband, her pastor, and eight of her church members to pray, and she was cured of pancreatic cancer. And at the five-year mark called me up and said, “I'd like to come and see you.” I said, “I'd love to see you. I happen to be in the country now.” And as a by the way, she said, “Are you still in upstate New York?” I said, “No, actually, we’re in Virginia Beach. “She laughed and said, “Oh, give me your address.” She'd already got the address in her GPS in upstate New York, and it was a twelve-hour drive!
Oh, my goodness! Yeah. Once you cross an ocean, you think anywhere in America is a short drive.
Yeah. Well, in reverse of that, you drive... Like you do in this country, you drive more than 8hours, you'd fall off a cliff in England.
And you’d be on the wrong side of the road. But that's another problem. Could you just go back to what you said a moment ago? I think you said God always heals, but He only cures sometimes. How did you say that? Could you explain that just a bit more?
Yes. I believe that everybody's healed somehow, but not everybody is cured. And to me, that’s the mystery. I'll give you an example. I prayed for two people from the same church, from the same state, with exactly the same diagnosis. The man had a horrific attitude and was dead within a month. When I spoke to him and prayed for him, he dropped the F bomb. He was rude. He was very aggressive. He lasted a month. The woman I prayed for lived for ten years and died of something else. They both had exactly the same cancer, diagnosed on the same day, from the same church. You know, his attitude was horrific. Hers was humble and loving and kind, and that's the mystery. He didn't want healing, but his healing didn't come in that particular case. But I've since learnt that... I pray for people who've died that have been healed in the process, but not healed of the disease that kills them.
Healing Ministry for Veterans
Okay, so, yeah, very important distinction there, I think. Well, tell us more about this ministry for veterans. Is this your main focus at this point in time?
Yes. Yes, it is. Well, yes and no, because it morphed into that. At 9/11, I was privileged to pray with people at the chapel, St. Paul’s Chapel, overlooking the Ground Zero and had an incredible experience there. So somebody said, “God has recycled you.” So when we think of all the pain that we've all suffered, God recycles us. People who have cancer and have been healed have great gifts of praying for people with cancer. In my case, because I've had extreme trauma from combat, not only my own experience of being shot at three times and blown up five times and again seeing man's inhumanity to man, being recycled to help veterans. We've had over 1,000 veterans through this program, and I've learned a lot about stress, combat stress, and trauma. I mean, people who have been raped and abused. And the dark side of the ministry is horrific. How many people have had... men and women have been abused physically, emotionally, sexually? And it’s heartbreaking. It really is. So I’ve learned a lot from that. And in 30 years, everybody I've spoken to, I learn from each person and then apply it to the next. And that's really by experience.
And so the veterans I've worked with... I spoke at the Pentagon on this subject, which, you know, when you think of your five-year plan and your ten-year plan, it wasn't in my five-minute plan to talk at the Pentagon. And I spoke to 21 high-ranking officials at the Pentagon on post-traumatic stress from a Christian perspective, and it was very well received.
So veterans who feel that they could benefit from your ministry, they come to... do you do it like as a three-day retreat? Is that how you structure it?
Yes. That’s correct. We have been very blessed by the public to be able to fund this program. It costs between $15,000 and $20,000 to put on a three-day event, where we feed them, we get them there for the most part. We've had people from all over this country, Canada, England, and even one veteran from Australia who came. And it's been a privilege to help set these captives free. These men and women are haunted, and I use that word intentionally. They are haunted by what they've seen and been through, as I was. And when we bring Christ into the memory, they are set free. And it's extraordinary what I've witnessed and what we’ve witnessed, the bigger picture.
About how many people come at a time?
We have between 25 and 30 with their spouses; 30 is the absolute max. I was invited to Fort Drum to do a program for 1,000, and I haven't been able to work out how to do that yet, because the whole point is each one being able to tell their story. And I tell you, it's so important to tell your story to somebody who understands the story and can interject at the right place, to use words like, “Help me understand,” so we've got a good picture, so somebody can tell their story. There's somebody who's compassionate in listening, loving, and praying.
In our world, I think there is always a... Well, I want to be careful. Not always, but quite often there is this strong tendency to compartmentalize us as persons. And so we have the physical component. We have the emotional, the mental. And for military people, it's easy for them to think compartmentalized only in, “Well, this was what we were trying to accomplish, the mission. We accomplished the mission. There. I was a success.” And so it could be, yes, but then there may be all of these emotional components that are ignored. Sometimes you go to a physical doctor with physical pain or something, and they prescribe the medication or perform the surgery, but they don’t necessarily talk about the emotional side of things.
I myself, several years ago, had heart surgery, and it was a great success, thanks be to God. And the doctor said this is great. But then I found myself emotionally with all of this confusion and depression and sadness and grief. And as I look back at it, well, that just makes perfect sense because I'm a whole person. You can't crack open my chest and do things on my heart and lungs without it having some sort of effect on my emotions because we're not compartmentalized. Those are all integrated. And so I think of people who have fought in battle and seen and been involved in killing. Oh, my goodness. They must have emotional responses. And so you have this wonderful ministry of helping people become whole again. Am I understanding it correctly?
Right-on track, Randy. Yes. I mean, it's not the cancer sitting in bed number three. It is the whole person. And that's why this book, This Is Where Your Healing Begins, originally was 52 chapters of all these serious diseases. I've worked with 52 different diseases. And Harper Collins changed it into a book where a lay person can learn how to pray for somebody, and it is indeed the whole person. So it's extraordinary. If somebody comes to me with a pain in the neck, I will ask, “Were you whip lashed in a car crash? Were you rear ended? Did you fall off your bicycle?” And there's more cases where the pain in the neck is a pain in the neck, where they need to forgive somebody, and when they've done that, the pain in the neck goes. It’s extraordinary when you look at the whole picture. And that's the beauty with Jesus. What or Where have we been imprisoned? He came to set the captives free. And we think of Paul with his prison door being opened for him to walk out. And really, that's exactly what this ministry is about, setting the captive free, setting the combat veteran free from what they’ve experienced, to set the person who's had a heart surgery. When you look at a heart transplant, it’s extraordinary. The recipient of a heart knows stuff about the person who's donated the heart. I mean, come on. It's extraordinary.
Yeah. Because it's not just a heart. It is connected to a person. Yes. Well, your book is titled This Is Where Your Healing Begins. Can you tell us what the “this” means?
Very much so, yes. It's directing. The whole thing of healing ministries is the focus. What is the nuclei? What is the nucleus? What is the root cause? What is the target? How do we need to pray for you? So when I talk to somebody, I start with, “How may I pray for you?” And this book describes the target. So the person who is praying for that target would understand exactly and confidently and intelligently and spiritually know where to pray. And this book is designed to reveal that in everybody who wants healing, needs healing, or indeed wants to pray for healing.
I’ll return to Questions That Matter in just a second. An issue that's raised quite often in some of these Questions That Matter podcasts are: How do I know God's will for my life? Or what's God's call on my life? We have an excellent resource at the C.S. Lewis Institute by Bill Hendricks, called “God's Call on Your Life: What Is It?” It's a relatively short audio message, about 25 minutes long, but Bill packs a lot of great wisdom and biblical insight into this very important question. So I hope you'll check it out. The link for it is below in the show notes. Now let's return to the conversation.
You’ve just touched on something where you say that, in the book, “Part of the purpose of this book is so that anyone can pray for healing and pray for other people for healing. “And it reminds me of.... Some people are called to be evangelists, and they just evangelize everywhere, but all Christians are called to evangelize, but God is going to use different people in different ways. And some people have the gift of giving, and God just enables them to make lots and lots of money and give away lots and lots of money, but we're all called to give. So is that a parallel also with this healing? I mean, you have a unique calling in a ministry of healing, and I would pray and hope that some people who read your book will say, “You know, I think maybe that's the way God wants to use me.” But then there's the call for all believers to be able to pray for one another for healing. Am I sensing this correctly?
Spot on. Absolutely spot on. When you look at the greater gifts, going back to what we started, 1 Corinthians 12, “Seek ye then the greater gifts.” Exactly. I feel most of my ministry is one of an encourager, to encourage the sick, to encourage people to pray for each other. Paul’s friend, his sidekick, is the encourager. He encouraged Paul for his ministry. And I want to encourage people to seek Jesus, to seek His healing touch, to know that Christ is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Great Physician and the Lover of souls. And when we come to the basic line of loving God, loving neighbor as ourselves, love is the key. And to target the disease, physical, emotional, generational, with love is so important. So you're right on target. Very much so.
Well, I think that is a wonderful place for us to conclude. We could keep talking for hours, but I want to encourage our listeners to consider perhaps that God is calling you into this kind of ministry, or perhaps God is calling you to believe Him for healing in a way that you've never thought possible. May I also extend an invitation for anyone listening to this, or a friend of someone who's listening, if it would be helpful for you to contact Welcome Home Initiatives, this ministry for veterans, what a great connection this would be. So, Nigel, it's been a delight to consider this question that matters, this question of healing. And if people want to find out more about you, I encourage them to check out your book, This Is Where Your Healing Begins. Are there any other resources you want to sort of plug for people to connect with?
Absolutely. I have some CDs designed to put you to sleep. Don't play them in the car because they will make you go to sleep. They're very sonorous. And yes, so I've got eight books out there: Hand to Hand: From Combat to Healing, The Forgotten Touch, After the Trauma the Battle Begins, again for combat stress, but that's for anybody who has any post-traumatic stress, for whatever reason, and then Dying to Live, the book Dying to Live. So just put my name in, Nigel Mumford or Nigel W.D. Mumford. Nigel War Department, actually William David, but Nigel W.D. Mumford. Google that, and it'll come up. Go to Amazon. You can get the book on Amazon. So the greatest resource is to give and to receive. Unfortunately, the only product is the book, because we don't charge for healing, of course, because that's the gift, and we want to be able to supply that gift and to open that gift and to think about how God is calling you. So I would encourage you, the listener, to look at 1 Corinthians 12, look at the greater gifts, and think about how God is calling you, and then to seek those greater gifts.
Well, Nigel, thank you so much for the time together. To all our listeners, we hope that all of our resources at the C.S. Lewis Institute will help you as you seek heart and mind discipleship and to help you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.