A Covid-19 story from Christian Missions in Many Lands (CMML) today, as we follow Echoes International mission partner Rosemary Sheldon’s coronavirus illness during 2020.

‘My greatest joy in life is serving God. My husband, Colin, and I are full-time workers in Dublin, Ireland. Colin is an elder in our assembly, and for the past 22 years, he has taught Bible Explorer to children, ages 10 to 12, in primary schools. I help with the women’s ministry in our assembly and, for the past 17 years, I have been involved in ladies’ Bible studies in the assembly and with a local group of women.

A troubling diagnosis

‘For many years, I have suffered from chronic lung disease, Sjogren’s Disease. I must be careful not to get sick. If I do, I need an antibiotic, extra steroids, a nebuliser and, more than likely, a five-day stay in the hospital because it affects my lungs. Near the end of 2019, Colin and I praised the Lord that I had not been in the hospital that year. But, on 28 December 2019, an ambulance rushed me to the hospital because I had trouble breathing. After five days, the hospital sent me home, and I didn’t start to recover until the end of January.

‘By early March, the Covid-19 pandemic reached Ireland, so I decided to self-isolate. On 23 March I didn’t feel well, and the doctor prescribed antibiotics. I didn’t improve, and on 26 March the doctor suggested I go to the emergency room. After a few tests, the doctor felt I didn’t need to stay, so I went home. That night, my condition deteriorated, and I showed Covid-19 symptoms.

‘The next morning, the doctor sent me back to the Accident and Emergency department, and I tested positive for Covid-19. I sent Colin a message telling him not to worry because I was in God’s hands. The amazing thing was during my brief time in A&E, a young Christian doctor whom we both know came and prayed with me. When God is in control, we can trust Him, even if the way is difficult.

When God is in control, we can trust Him, even if the way is difficult.

A worsening condition

‘The diabetic consultant told me how serious my condition was. I remember responding, “If I recover from Covid-19, it is all for God’s glory, and should God decide to call me home, I have a place ready and waiting for me to be with Him.”

‘On Sunday, I watched a televised church service, and the preacher spoke on the revived dry bones in Ezekiel 37 and Christ’s raising Lazarus from the dead in John 11. As I thought through the message, it was as if God said, “I will bring you through this.” By Tuesday 31 March my condition had deteriorated more, and the medical staff put me on a five-day drug programme. The doctor phoned Colin to explain my situation.

A healed woman

‘Colin called Echoes International and MSC Canada for urgent prayer. From right around the world, people started to pray, called, sent emails and texts, and posted messages on social media. On Tuesday 7 April I worsened, but I didn’t realise the medication was working. At 3 a.m. I awoke with the realisation that something had changed. I sent Colin a message immediately. Prayers were answered; God was working. Finally, on Colin’s birthday, I came home from the hospital healed.

‘Colin and I were spectators of God’s work through people who took up the challenge to pray. As each day passed, I began to gain strength, first to do things around the home, and later to go for short walks. In June, I was taken off 24/7 oxygen and only needed it for walks. And today, I am a healed woman. It will take time to be fully restored, but I like what God is doing in my life. We are conscious that, for some people, the outcome is different. Our prayers are with their families at this time, that they will know God’s strength and comfort. Psalm 126:3 is a fitting tribute to what God has done in my life: “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad.”’

Originally published by CMML Missions magazine, September/October 2020 and LivingLovedToday blog post. Used with permission.

Pray for Ireland:

  • for people in Ireland who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus during 2020
  • which is increasingly secular and where many communities lack an evangelical presence
  • for opportunities for gospel outreach and biblical teaching.

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