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General Conference

"If I go through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear evil, because You are with me ..."

Euro-Asia Division gives two stories of couples who battled COVID-19

Russia | EAD News Information Department of the Caucasian Union Mission

2020 has brought serious changes to the whole world. The most unpleasant changes and problems happened in the lives of those who directly faced the new coronavirus infection.

If in the spring we heard about the disease as something distant and unknown, and sick people in our area were a rarity, then autumn has already brought a large and sad harvest of victims due to the insidious virus. But, thank God, he hears our prayers and supports his people.

Today we would like to present two stories of healing - two answers of God to the prayers of the church. And may they support those who are struggling with the disease today, and may all of us be encouraged to continue to pray and help as much as we can all those suffering from a serious illness.

"I was looking for peace with God, trusting everything to him"

“When the threat of the spread of the coronavirus just appeared, I thought that if I get sick, I’ll hardly survive. Although I am not 65 years old, my body, to put it mildly, is not particularly strong. In addition, I was worried about my spouse; she has a bad heart, and this is also a risk factor.

And so it happened: I began to feel symptoms. On Saturday evening, October 3, my temperature rose above 37°C (98.6 F). On Sunday morning, the baptismal candidates had to be canceled for the afternoon. My temperature was rising, already on Monday I began to struggle to breathe and had to call an ambulance.

From that moment on, we went into self-isolation; the members of the Salsk community church praying for and helping us in every possible way, buying food and medicine and bringing them to our home. My temperature stayed below 39°C (102 F), so I still hoped it was not COVID. But the ambulance nurse assured me that it was. Soon I had to call an ambulance for my wife, who had also begun to struggle to breathe. Her temperature rose above 39 C (102 F) and could not be reduced.

Then our relatives and friends from Rostov-on-Don offered to take me from Salsk to Bataysk, so that I could get qualified medical care. On the night of October 12, we were in Bataysk with relatives, who by that time had already been ill and recovered.

The state of our health was getting worse and on Monday, October 12, we started looking for an opportunity to do computed tomography (CT) scan, but the earliest appointment we could get was on October 24. Thanks to the many prayers and efforts of friends, there was a person who helped me undergo CT that Monday night. A completely unfamiliar young physician treated us with sympathy and great interest. After the CT scan, she convinced my wife to admit me to the hospital that same night and recommended which one, since the damage to my lungs was 70-75 percent. I gasped even when I moved very slowly. I was very afraid to end up in a hospital bed, as I had heard about the inattentive attitude towards seriously ill patients. But, my fears were invalid.

For the first three days, I was sure I would not survive because I was suffocating, and I could not sleep nor eat at all. In this state, I was only looking for peace with God, praying that if I fell asleep until the day of the coming of the Lord, that he would support my spouse and my relatives, and also be with my brothers and sisters. I asked God that my experience of illness, even if it would be fatal, would not become a stumbling block for anyone, but on the contrary, would serve as a reason to seek the Lord!

However, things became easier for me. The care from the hospital staff and the 5th and 6th-year students of the medical institute were very supportive. The hospital took care of all the patients, and there were many people there, young and old, in more serious conditions than I was. Unfortunately, not everyone was able to overcome the disease, and, as far as I know, at least two people who were undergoing treatment at the same time as I did not survive.

On the third day, the results of the COVID test came, and it turned out to be negative. On the ninth day, I was already feeling so good that I was discharged and prescribed outpatient treatment. According to the results of CT, the percentage of lung damage remaining was significantly lower, at 64 percent, and most importantly, there was a high chance of a full recovery.

Interestingly, after being discharged, I learned the results of the first CT scan showed not 70 percent, but 85 percent lung lesions. This became known to me after the full description of the disk the after my stay in the hospital, however, I had not been informed about it at the time. It’s good that I didn’t know about it then - it wouldn’t have given me added optimism!

I am very grateful to God for his providence in leading all events in connection with my illness! His great love and mercy, as well as for the consolations that he sent me - both himself, and through brothers and sisters in faith, through doctors, and through relatives. During my illness, I learned a lot about the surprisingly kind attitude towards me from very different people, both close and unfamiliar. Thank God!

"Your Prayers Supported Us"

The experience of healing spouses Viktor and Galina Konovalov from Rostov-on-Don.

Viktor: We would like to share the experience of healing and thank the Lord for His mercy and everyone who prayed and supported us. We thank God that we are in a church family that is not indifferent to the experiences, illnesses, and difficulties of their brothers and sisters.

Galina: As a teacher I interact with a large number of people, so it was no surprise when one autumn day I brought the virus home. My temperature had risen, and it was hard to breathe, so I immediately decided to go to the medical center to have the doctor listen to my lungs. The doctor said that there was wheezing and ordered a spiral computed tomography (SCT) scan, which eventually showed lung damage at 7 percent.

I turned to my sister Nadezhda Orlyuk for advice, as she and her husband Igor had already had COVID-19 by this time. We are very grateful to her for her constant care and valuable advice.

Four days later, Viktor became ill and we went to the doctor again. After listening, the doctor said that his situation was worse than mine, so they did a CT scan, but the lung damage was lower than mine: 3 percent.

Viktor: At first I took it very lightly. I thought: “3 percent? Nonsense." But the next day, my condition deteriorated sharply. My temperature rose to 39.9 C (103.8 F) and did not go down. I rarely ask others to pray for me, but on that day I realized that I cannot do without the prayer of my brothers-elders, because “the intensified prayer of a righteous person can do much.”

As the days went by my condition worsened. Asthma attacks began. A week later, I had a second CT scan, and the determined lung damage was up to 44 percent. It became clear that a hospital stay was unavoidable when my asthma attacks became more frequent.

Galina: So we ended up in the hospital. Family and church prayed for us. What happened to us and to the people around us still terrifies us: we saw people suffocate and die, and it was impossible to help them. We also saw the efforts of doctors, nurses, and orderlies who tried to save people, and sometimes they did not succeed. There was no available space in the intensive care.

Viktor’s position was difficult. Even on oxygen therapy, the oxygen saturation in his blood was only 80 percent and his temperature did not drop. This meant that the condition was worsening. This went on for two days. 

Viktor: These days I just lay there and all my thoughts were about one thing: That the Lord would forgive and accept me. My soul was calm; dying at that moment was not scary. I thought that my life on earth had come to an end, but thanks to my wife Galina, who was there and took care of me, and the church members who were praying. Doctors brought me medicine and put me on IVs, and I started to revive so quickly that in the evening I walked along the corridor. Thank God!

Galina: Of course, during Viktor’s illness there were different thoughts in my head, but there was peace in my soul, readiness for any outcome. This peace was only thanks to the hope in the Lord and the prayers of our children, grandchildren, relatives, and church members. Messages from friends supported us then; how valuable they were to us.

God led us through the "valley of the shadow of death," preserving our lives. During these days, we were once again convinced of the truth of the words of Holy Scripture "Moreover, we know that to those who love God, who were called according to his will, all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28).

NOTE: Unfortunately, new and unknown diseases can be insidious and cause consequences which must be dealt with even after recovery. Viktor is scheduled to have an operation, so we ask all those who are not indifferent to continue praying for his full recovery.

This article was originally published on the Euro-Asia Division’s news site