Editor’s note: The COVID-19 pandemic has been called the great social leveler, since the richest celebrity, the highest-ranking politician, and the fittest athlete are by no means immune from its effects. Fear of the coronavirus has spread throughout every society. However, it is safe to say that the weakest, poorest, and most vulnerable in our communities are most at risk from the virus and its aftermath. These are the ones who rely on our overstretched public health services—not only when they have contracted COVID-19, but for all health-care emergencies and ongoing treatments. It is against this backdrop that the following collection of testimonies is set. For True Jesus Church members globally, whether we have COVID-19 or some other condition, and whether we have access to health care or not, we know that we need not fear. In our heavenly Father lies our hope for healing and strength to endure all physical suffering. Even in the midst of a global health crisis, we know that we can face all things with God by our side.
GOD WALKED WITH ME THROUGH THE VALLEY
Li Lin—New York, USA
On the night of March 28, 2020, after having headaches and dizziness for a couple of days, I decided to call 911. When they arrived, the paramedics took my temperature twice—it was 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius). I was feverish and weak, with a heart rate of over 105 beats per minute (bpm). I felt as though I was going to die. It was the middle of a rainy night, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, my husband was not allowed to accompany me to the hospital. When I got there, I was first taken to a temporary triage tent outside the hospital. After a quick examination, they confirmed that I had all the symptoms of COVID-19 and brought me into the emergency room.
Throughout this process, I had diarrhea and needed to visit the bathroom every ten minutes. All the nurses were very busy, and I was left unattended. I had no choice but to slowly make my way to the bathroom, leaning against the wall every few minutes along the way. In my heart, I kept saying, “Hallelujah.” I had to use all the energy and focus I could muster. Thank God, after a while, a nurse appeared, placed me in a wheelchair and pushed me to the bathroom, and later helped to settle me in my bed.
From my hospital bed in the corner, I saw many nurses busy in the emergency room. Every available space had been filled with temporary beds, and the place was overflowing with patients. I lay there, feeling very sad. A nurse soon did a blood test and a COVID-19 swab test on me and gave me some medicine. But after thirty minutes, I developed an allergic reaction and felt very itchy. It took one or two hours before the nurses could attend to me and administer some anti-allergy medication.
My diarrhea persisted in the midst of this, and I was diagnosed as having some liver problems. I needed to stay longer in the hospital. At that point, I did not know whether I had contracted COVID-19.
I thank the Lord for opening my ears during this time. My command of English is poor, and under the circumstances, there was no interpreter available. But amazingly, whatever the doctor said in English, I could understand, and I could also respond in English. God was indeed by my side.
I had to wait in the emergency room for two nights and one day. During this period, I did not know the time of day, and I did not know if I would live. Then, on the morning of April 1, I was moved to a room. Finally, the surroundings were quiet. I asked the nurse if it was confirmed that I had contracted the virus, and she said yes. At that instant, my mind went blank, and I was filled with anxiety.
Because of the pandemic, meal times at the hospital were chaotic and off schedule. Hence, I could not eat, and had eaten nothing for three days. I had to take different types of medication, and my stomach started to feel uncomfortable. This led to severe vomiting. If I drank a glass of water, I would throw half of it back up. Even though I pressed the call button for a nurse, no one came to help me. I had to wait a few hours before anyone came to check on me. I was told my vomiting could be a symptom of the virus. But I thank God that, throughout this ordeal, He gave me enough strength to make my way to the bathroom since help was not available.
To add to this, I did not sleep for four days. I was alone, suffering from diarrhea and continual vomiting while undergoing dialysis for my pre-existing kidney problems. I felt drained and without strength. The saddest thing I had to experience was witnessing the passing of a COVID-19 patient who was in the same hospital room as me. I felt so suffocated and did not know if I could continue. I told myself not to cry because, once I started, I would feel like I could not go on. My family and children were waiting for me at home. But the Lord Jesus Christ was by my side. I cried out to the Lord, silently telling Him in my heart that I wanted to live. I wanted to watch my children grow up. And it was only the Lord Jesus Christ who could grant me this wish. After the prayer, my heart was calm. God had heard my voice.
On the third day, I shared with the two nurses on duty, whom I had never seen before, that I could not eat the hospital food and was famished. My elder sister had brought me some rice porridge, and one of these nurses was willing to collect the food from her. Because of the pandemic, I was quarantined in an isolation ward, where medical staff wore personal protective equipment and had to dispose of their protective layers before exiting my room. When the nurse presented the food with a flourish, I was moved to tears. It had not been easy for this bowl of porridge to reach me. God heard my cry, and He extended His mighty hand to send this nurse to me.
By the fourth day, my condition improved. I was finally on the road to recovery. It was as if a mountain had been lifted off my body. Though I was still tired, I could video chat with my family members, and my heart was comforted. My blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature returned to normal, and my white blood cell count increased. The doctor informed me that I would be discharged in two days. Without fail, I was discharged and returned home on April 4. I had stayed in the hospital for only seven days, but it seemed much longer.
During my hospital stay, I witnessed many deaths, but I thank God that I could still return home. Because I take medication for high blood pressure, I am classed as high-risk for COVID-19. I thank God for His miraculous work upon me. Although I am still vulnerable, God held my hand in these hardest of times, and walked with me through the valley of the shadow of death. His rod comforted my heart. He saw the tears shed by my family members, and He wiped the tears away. May all glory be to God!
GOD’S GRACE IS SUFFICIENT
Teresa Ho—Newcastle, UK
Hallelujah, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I testify of how the Lord cared for me and healed me.
I have had asthma for over twenty years, and the slightest irritant—such as perfume—can trigger an attack. Within minutes, I would be wheezing and reaching for my inhaler, so I feared catching the coronavirus. Since this virus attacks the respiratory system, its impact on a person with asthma could be dire.
This story starts in March 2020. I work in the National Health Service (NHS) in Newcastle. When schools and businesses closed across England on March 23, 2020, my department continued to work to support the pandemic response preparations. Some of my colleagues had to visit the general practitioner (GP) clinics in our region to help them get ready to treat patients with suspected coronavirus.
In the latter part of that week, a few of my co-workers called in to say they were experiencing coronavirus symptoms. On Sabbath day, my husband, three children, and I attended the online Sabbath services together. It was then that I started to feel unwell. I had a headache, fatigue, and occasional chills, despite being wrapped up. I had a slight dry cough, but nothing severe. By Monday, I knew I was coming down with something, but I did not suspect I had coronavirus as my symptoms did not fit the primary symptoms of fever, persistent cough, and shortness of breath.
Over twenty-four hours, my symptoms worsened. I felt cold, and my whole body ached as if bruised from a fight. By then, my headache was constant, and I had no relief from the head-to-toe muscle pain. I was so fatigued that I just wanted to sleep all the time. I slept for days in my bedroom, drifting in and out of consciousness; I did not know the time of day. I would only get up to drink water and take paracetamol (acetaminophen), and I was getting weaker and weaker as the days passed. I remember waking up and calling for my husband because my hands were so weak that I could not open the water bottle to take my tablets. I was still feeling cold despite having two duvets and an extra blanket covering me. My whole body was in so much muscle pain that I felt battered and bruised all over, and the headache was relentless. I have never experienced such full-body, all-consuming pain before.
Thank the Lord, my husband was fine at first and could take care of our three children while I was self-isolating in the master bedroom. But by Friday, he was also experiencing symptoms and had to join me in quarantine. Thank God, our three children did not display any symptoms.
It was not until nearly two weeks later that the body pain and headache started to subside slightly. I had relief for a few hours, but then the pain would return. I began to get up and move around to make lunch and dinner for my children as my husband’s symptoms worsened. I started to feel better slowly, day by day.
While I was off sick from work, I was not aware of the happenings at my office. A number of my colleagues had tested positive for COVID-19 and were recovering at home. Although I did not go for a swab test at the time, I have since had a blood test confirming I have COVID-19 antibodies.
Looking back, I really thank God for His mercy that I did not experience any breathing difficulties throughout my illness, despite my predisposition to hypersensitive reactions. Although my husband and I took more than a month to recover, by God’s grace and mercy, we are both back to full health and have resumed normal activities. Our three children are all safe and healthy, despite a deadly virus having entered our home.
Early in the pandemic, I started to reassess my faith. Not being able to leave the house to go to church or see my relatives prompted me to refocus my physical and spiritual priorities. I felt a certain closeness to God, which I had not experienced for a while, and my faith grew stronger. There was pain and suffering when I fell ill, but through it came goodness and spiritual strength.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor 12:9–10)
Drawing near to God through this experience gave me the courage to bear witness for Him, to share my testimony. I pray that our brethren living in these scary times will be edified.
The Lord God has cared for my family, and He will continue to do so during this pandemic and beyond.
May all glory be to God! Amen.
THE PEACE OF GOD WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS
Sheila Ho—Leicester, UK
Hallelujah, in the name of Jesus, I testify.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6–7)
This verse really resonates with me, as I could witness the peace of God upon my father during the current pandemic and the lockdown implemented by the UK government from March 2020.
My father, Sau Sing Chan, was admitted to the hospital on April 27, 2020, suffering from shortness of breath, lack of appetite, and swelling in his arms and legs. It transpired that he has a condition called decompensated heart failure—stiffness of the heart—due to his age, having recently turned ninety years old.
As my father does not speak English, I would normally accompany him to any appointments to interpret for him. However, on this occasion, it was not to be the case. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital had stringent rules and would not allow anyone to enter the building with the patient.
Before the paramedics took him to the hospital, we had to explain the situation to him: He was being admitted to the hospital and no one was allowed to accompany him. Once he was in the hospital, no one could visit him. Usually, any suggestion of going to the hospital for check-ups would be met with trepidation. He would come up with excuses like, “There’s no need to go,” or “It’s too troublesome,” or, “If I go in, I won’t be able to leave and will be stuck there forever.” He even resists appointments with his general practitioner. But to our surprise, once we explained what was to happen, he did not seem stressed or worried. He accepted the message that he would be going to the hospital alone, without any fuss.
Later, my father told us that, at the hospital, he had to undergo many tests. First, it was to assess if he had COVID-19, then they needed to determine the cause of his symptoms. Most of these tests involved a needle, which is one of my father’s greatest fears. He shared with us that, faced with this inescapable situation, he built up his courage and managed his fear by praying, “Hallelujah!” and “Help me, God!” He continued to pray in this manner throughout his time in the hospital. To me, this was amazing, as I have witnessed him shaking with fear during routine flu vaccinations and blood tests.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth. (Ps 124:8)
All in all, my father was in the hospital for nearly a month. During this time, even though he was prodded and poked, had to face his greatest fear, and was “deaf and dumb” (being partially deaf in both ears and unable to speak English), he felt calm. On the occasions we could video call him, he would seem quite chilled, saying, “It’s up to God when I’m allowed out of the hospital.” He could even have a laugh and joke about things going on in his ward, and the lack of bacon, egg, and chips on the menu.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (Jn 14:27)
I genuinely believe that God guided my father throughout this episode. He was not stressed or worried about going to the hospital, he mustered the courage to face his fear of needles, and he was calm and peaceful throughout his stay—this was all God’s doing. Without God at his side, the whole experience would have been very different for him, and for the family who could only watch from the sidelines.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9b)
I truly give thanks to God for guiding my father through this experience. It is also God’s grace that he did not catch the virus during his time in the hospital, at the pandemic's height. May all glory and praises be unto Him! Amen.
THE PRAYER OF FAITH WILL SAVE
Yuk Ying Lee—London, United Kingdom
In the name of Jesus Christ, I testify of how God healed me and protected my family and those around me during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. (Jas 5:14–15)
The first thing I always do when my husband or I am unwell is to call the preachers and church ministers to ask for their intercessions. This occasion was no exception.
I am sixty-six years old. In early March 2020, I started to feel very dizzy. On Monday, March 16, I consulted my general practitioner (GP), only to be told that I had vertigo, but the cause was unclear because, physiologically, there was nothing wrong with me. I thought, I feel so dizzy—there must be a reason! So, at my friend’s suggestion, I decided to go to a local walk-in clinic for a second opinion. After examining me, the doctor told me to go to the hospital’s accident and emergency (A&E). Because the dizziness was getting worse, I decided to follow his advice.
I went to the A&E on March 17. There, the hospital doctor ran the necessary tests on me, including an X-ray. I felt like I was breathing normally and did not exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms, but because my lungs showed signs of infection, the doctor decided to admit me for treatment. It was at this point that I remembered to contact the church ministers to intercede for me.
After three days in the hospital, I was due to be discharged. But then, a doctor told me that I had tested positive for the coronavirus and needed to remain in the hospital. He asked me if I had any difficulty breathing or any other symptoms, to which I said no; but the test result meant I had to be moved from the general ward to an isolation room.
Leading up to my hospitalization, I had been in contact with many people. I attended Sabbath service at the church in Forest Hill as usual, on March 7, and interacted with many brothers and sisters. On March 10, I had dinner with my daughter and her parents-in-law. On March 12, I went for a walk with my friend and did not don a face mask while chatting. And I had also invited my brother-in-law and his wife to our house for breakfast on March 15. Indeed, by the grace of God, everyone I had contact with remained well and did not catch the virus from me.
After I was moved to the isolation ward, I began to feel quite unwell, to the point that I was always nauseous and unable to get out of bed. After three days, I was feeling better, so I was moved back to the general ward. However, after another couple of days, my oxygen level dropped to ninety (ninety-six being normal.) I did not feel any respiratory distress or difficulty breathing, but I was given an oxygen mask.
Altogether, I stayed in the hospital for two weeks. When I was discharged, I was instructed to recuperate at home. For the first two weeks, I generally felt unwell, suffering from mouth ulcers and fatigue. But by week three, I had more or less recovered. Nevertheless, I confined myself to the upper floor of the house to avoid contact with my husband for six weeks altogether. I am especially grateful that God protected my husband from being infected because he has a heart condition and would be at high risk had he contracted COVID-19. A check-up on July 7 confirmed that my lungs were completely infection-free.
During this time at home, I received many calls and messages from the brethren, sending words of encouragement, and singing hymns to encourage me to stay strong. I am deeply touched by such love, and I want to thank all the brothers and sisters for their prayers and love that they showed my family and me.
Once again, intercessory prayers are very effective. Whenever we are in need, we can always ask the church ministers and our brethren to pray for us.
[P]ray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (Jas 5:16b)
This experience has, all the more, convinced me of the words in James 4:14–16:
[Y]ou do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
May all glory, honor, and praise be unto our merciful, loving Father! Hallelujah! Amen.