Most people at Trinity Church know Jono Smithies. He’s a student at the University here on a photography course, and has been a committed regular at church since he arrived. But that’s not the reason people know him: instead, it’s because he had an acute case of Tourette’s syndrome, which led him to manfiest loud tics, sometimes as often as once a minute.
I first met Jono about two years, as he became a lodger with Dave Slight. I got to know him better when for a while he came along to the Kingdom Renegades group. Jono has a passionate character and a deep faith, both forged in adversity… and he wasn’t just eager for healing, he was desperate for it.
By the end of January this year it became clear that something dramatic had happened to Jono, and he came along to the group to share his testimony of God’s healing.
He started by telling us what it was like to have Tourette’s, which he’d had for as long as he could remember. He described it as a tough journey, ‘very tough, very painful’: ‘I can only describe it as torturing myself a lot of the time’. (This is not too strong a description: it looked like it, as well.)
He became a Christian when he was 7. He said, ‘Throughout my life, God’s character, his nature and his ways have been affirmed. God has always been faithful and true.’ Jono clearly lived in this knowledge: even when he was, equally clearly, not being healed. He and his family prayed for his healing for two decades: and the lack of an answer ‘never took anything away from who I believe God to be.’
Back in 2010 he felt that God was telling him that he would be healed, and this fuelled his desire to experience this healing. For a few days in August last year he experienced several days, tic-free. The tics came back – but even for that short period of time he had experienced a taste of God’s healing power.
Although this was puzzling, Jono continued to eagerly desire full and complete healing. He learned lessons that have power coming from someone who has been through what he has been through: he learned to praise God in the pain. ‘Worship attracts the presence of God… when you praise, you get miracles.’
What happened in January was not planned. He went round to watch a DVD with a friend, but instead they ended up praying for healing from Tourette’s. He has not had a tic since.
Jono is still a noisy character – but now because his extrovert personality is no longer restrained by the tight cage of Tourette’s. In September he will go to the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, an extraordinary place which has both the expectation and experience of God’s supernatural power, that has inspired many across the globe. He was accepted on the course before he was healed: but he can now go with his own amazing testimony of God’s healing power.
Click here to see Jono’s own video testimony on YouTube, “The pursuit of a miracle“.