January 2021 Update: In Sickness and in Health
New Year’s Eve found me asleep at the earliest hour I can remember; with everything going on in my mind and body, I even forgot that it was the beginning of a new year. Towards the end of December I was diagnosed with COVID-19, and what started as an asymptomatic infection turned into fatigue and congestion. In the first week, I lost my sense of taste, had a bit of chest pain, and just wanted to sleep all day. By the second week, any time I got out of bed, my oxygen measurements were low enough that I would need oxygen, so I barely moved from bed in order to kept my saturations up in a normal range. They say doctors are terrible patients, and I think I know why. Most of my life, I felt like productivity was a big part of who I was – as I went for weeks in bed literally doing nothing, it made me wonder how life could shift so quickly, and afraid what it would be like if this was my new normal. Like most people, I took my health for granted. It was hard taking it easy, admitting that I was human, and a sick human at that. Even after the virus had left my system, it was terrifying not knowing what long-term effects might stay with me.
Malawi’s newly-opened COVID treatment center at the National Stadium Halfway through the third week, I still noticed chest pain walking uphill, which reminded me to go slowly as I recovered. By the fourth week, I tried to jog for a few steps, but had to stop when my heartrate went concerningly high. For twenty years, I’ve been running most days, and never even thought about what my life would be like if I couldn’t run. I’ve been encouraged lately by teachings about staying faithful after we lose things we considered valuable. Being the sickest, weakest I can ever remember has brought that really close to home. Would I still be me if I couldn’t run? How could I serve God if my brain was in a constant fog, or if my chest continued to hurt with a bit of exertion? I praise God that it seems I am recovering well, and that I was able to be sick while at home, with loving parents to care for me and a strong health system to catch me if things were not okay. But I know that these have been times of great loss everywhere, and many have suffered or will suffer much more than I could even imagine.
This month, please join us in prayer:
- For prevention of COVID infections here and in Malawi
- For complete recovery for us after the virus and no long-term complications
- For safety and logistics as we plan to travel back to Malawi in mid-February
- Currently Visiting family in Hawaii
For wisdom in how we return to work on the mission field, and how to invest our efforts in this challenging time.
Thank you for your continued encouragement and support,
Greg and Christina