High-flying Norfolk couple lead inner healing charity
A Norfolk couple are leading a national charity which offers healing for people with unhealthy ways of thinking about themselves and their relationships – all of which can result in unhelpful behaviour patterns.
David and Christine West have an unusual story about how they came to be living in Stalham, in east Norfolk.
They were thinking of moving house, and David had decoration on his mind. He was teaching a seminar in Folkestone and happened to say: “No husband would paint his house with green and yellow stripes without first telling his wife.”
It seemed a harmless enough illustration, especially coming from someone who had never heard of the Canaries.
At the end of the seminar, a man came up to him and asked: “Have you ever considered moving to Norfolk?”
The answer of course was ‘no’.
Norfolk was not much on the radar of the couple, who grew up in Kent. They both trained to be teachers, studying in colleges a few miles from each other without having yet met.
For Christine, college was a massive achievement. Having failed her 11+ she was determined to prove everyone wrong, and qualified as a teacher of Religious Studies, ending up teaching at a Grammar School for girls.
It was not that she was that she was religious to begin with. Her parents, like many others in their generation, had sent her to Sunday school, and her Dad sang in the church choir in his early years. But it didn’t really take, and by the time she finished primary school she had stopped going to church.
It was only later that someone would pray for her, and she would have an experience in a Baptist church which prepared her for her future work in inner healing.
Meanwhile David was heading into what became a hugely varied and successful commercial career. It started with a year as leader of his college’s student union, after which he made a bold job application which took him into the world of Human Resources.
David progressed through the Central Electricity Generating Board, then a company which was one of the world’s largest distributors of computer products, and ended up as DHL’s Human Resources Director, responsible for the learning & development of 37,000 staff.
It was at this point, that David says he decided he wanted to “get out of bed in the morning to make a difference rather than just make money.”
David took a side-step into the charity world, becoming Chief Executive Officer of Computers for Africa. Businesses loved the charity because it was a way for them to pass on their old computers without the expense of having to wipe them. Schools loved the charity because it fitted neatly into the Curriculum and was a way of getting ready-made links with schools in Africa.
And of course the Africans were hugely grateful to have free computers. Towards the end they even got 40-foot adapted containers, which functioned as ready-made computer classrooms.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it,” said David, who led the programme for over 7 years.
The big change happened for Christine and David in 2008, when they went along to a meeting in Sevenoaks to hear Dawna da Silva, a speaker from Bethel Church in California. She was talking about the inner healing programme which she had co-created, and which she called ‘Sozo’ – a Greek word which means ‘saved, healed and delivered’.
“Wow, this is amazing,” was the first reaction from Christine.
“I loved the way in which stuff was being dealt with so quickly,” she said. “I know some people need longer-term counselling, but with Sozo issues were getting sorted in an hour and a half.”
The couple responded enthusiastically to the message they were hearing, and before long found themselves on the leadership of Bethel Sozo UK.
“Sozo is a way of getting at root issues, of changing patterns of behaviour and getting rid of unhealthy ways of doing things,” said Christine “It is non-directive, which means that no-one gives you advice or instruction.’
“Usually forgiveness is the gateway to healing,” she said. “It’s what clears the landing strip for personal freedom and wholeness."
David and Christine have just finished recording the first video training sessions in British English, which has updated Sozo with a decade of learning, and made it more accessible to a UK audience.
“Some of it is just about language,” said David. “If you told someone to ‘check yourself at the door’ a lot of British people would wonder what you were on about.”
People who are interested in helping with the ministry will be trained in a local church and will be accountable to the leaders of that church.
“Leaders love Sozo because it can bring breakthrough in areas where people have struggled for years,” said David. “Our role is simply to make sure that those helping them are competent.”
Information about the updated video course, and about live training, can be found on the website www.bethelsozo.org.uk
Pictured above are David and Christine West