Testing Positive For COVID-19
On April 17th, 2020, I voluntarily took the COVID-19 test during a random testing the COVID-19 team was conducting in our area. I anticipated the results would be negative because I was mostly indoors, observed the safety protocols and only went out when my Local Assembly was distributing food items to members. However, on Monday, April 27, I received a call that my test came out positive, so I should prepare to be taken to an isolation centre the following day. The news hit my family and I. I called back and asked which isolation centre they were taking us and I was told it was the Pentecost Convention Centre (PCC). I sighed with a bit of relief because as a member of The Church of Pentecost, I consider PCC as my home.
Arrival At PCC And Becoming A Missionary
I arrived at PCC on 28th of April 2020 around 4:00 pm. During the registration, one of the members of the medical team asked whether I was an elder of The Church of Pentecost, and I nodded. I didn’t know how he knew, but I guess it was because of the PEMEM Lacoste I was wearing.
On Wednesday morning, the leader of our block, Mr Ben, called for a devotion, which I attended. It was mainly prayers, and no message was preached. We had a meeting after the prayers. During the meeting, most of the people were angry that they didn’t know why they had been sent there, because according to them, they were not sick. While tempers were high because of the effect of the isolation on their families and businesses, I felt the need to explain briefly the relevance of being isolated from people to them. I pleaded with them to relax, for we are in ‘Yesu Krom’ (The City of Jesus Christ), so in no time, our Lord will turn all our “positives” into “negatives.” All of them shouted a big “Amen.” That was when I felt the burden to preach the Word.
I prayed for strength and approached the leader, Mr Ben, for permission to preach the gospel message as part of the devotion, and he gladly welcomed the idea. On Thursday, I woke up at dawn, prayed into the meeting for about 45 minutes before stepping out for the devotion. I preached on Isaiah 7:1-14, and from verses 4 and 7, I assured them that, no one was going to experience the effect of the pandemic, for God Himself was going to give us a sign (Verse 14).
During the prayer time, the place was charged, people prayed, and it was even difficult to stop them. After the devotion, people’s faith was lifted, and you could hear people singing soul-lifting songs in their rooms as compared to the previous day when it was more of insults and the expression of anger. The next day, the attendance almost doubled. I was led to preach from 2 Corinthians chapter 5. Taking inspiration from one of our Chairman’s sermons, I preached that, even though God will heal us from COVID-19, it didn’t not mean that we would never die or fall sick, for this earthly tent will surely be removed one day. I did an altar call, and many people raised their hands and accepted Jesus. Others rededicated their lives to Christ. I continued to preach about the eternal glory and damnation that awaits people who live for Christ or otherwise, respectively.
From that day, people came to my room after the devotion to seek counselling and prayers. For most of the afternoons, I gathered some of the youth, and we had Bible studies together.
A Preacher Called To Lead A Demonstration
On Friday, May 1st, 2020, we took our first test. On Monday morning, we had a meeting with one of the doctors, because people had sent reports out that the treatment we were receiving in terms of quality of food and water was poor. During discussions, it slipped out that our test results were in, and that we would be given our test results that day. When we waited till the following Thursday, and the results were still not in, rumours started circulating that the number of people who tested negative was only ten and that was why the doctors were finding it difficult to break the news to the over 200 people at the centre.
On Friday morning, while I was outside the building, someone rushed to tell me that my attention was urgently needed. When I went there, people had gathered and had started planning for a demonstration. Some even threatened to leave the premises if they didn’t receive their results that day. I was told to lead the deliberations. What a big task! I pleaded with them not to start a demonstration without first informing the medical team and the authorities. So, I entreated our leader to inform the leader of the medical team of our intention to embark on a demonstration the following day if they did not not release our results to us. I further cautioned the people that it is not the building that was withholding their results, so they should be careful not to damage any property in their rooms or outside their rooms, and they all agreed.
While we were still deliberating on how to go about the demonstration, someone informed the security officials, and the leader of the military team rushed into the building to implore us to exercise patience. While we were interacting with the military officer, all the doctors and other medical team rushed into the facility to explain things to us. Tempers were so high that people were not even willing to listen to the explanation from the medical team. That was the first time I met Elder Dr. Dominic Demateh Nuerty, one of the leaders of Medical Team A. He patiently explained to us that our results came the previous night, and they have been up the whole night trying to sort out individual slips from out of the pool of results they had received. Together with Dr Fredua Agyemang, leader of Medical Team B, they assured us that, by lunch time, the results would be presented to us, and the second test will be conducted for us. Knowing that some of the people were not willing to listen to doctors, I stood among the people and explained in Twi to the understanding of the people that our request was going to be granted. We later engaged those who had concerns to explain issues to them further.
The First Negative Test And Faith Lifted
In the afternoon of May 1st, we assembled to receive our results as promised. The previous day, I had a vision that buses were conveying us from the facility, which I told the people of the great miracle God was going to do among us. When they called out the names of the first ten people, I was the 6th person. We were told we were all negative. Though I was negative, I was not yet happy because I was hoping to hear many people testing negative. I stood by to listen to the other results. They called the next 30 people, and they were also told they were all negative. Then I started laughing. People walked to me and told me, “Elder, God is real and He is alive.” They called out the next set of names and they were also negative. By the end of the exercise, almost 90% of us had tested negative. Some young people rushed to me and carried me should high, with shouts that, “you are a prophet!”
He Who Began A Good Work Will Bring It To Completion
We were moved to Block C, and that evening, we converged to thank God for His goodness towards us. People who were previously not fellowshipping with us now joined our fellowship. Our faith in the Lord had been built up and it grew stronger and stronger. Being confident that He who started a good work will surely complete it, God laid it on my heart to preach to them about living a Christian lifestyle after leaving the premises. The call to holiness and total dependence on God was welcomed by the people.
On Thursday, May 14th, 2020, our second test results came in, and more than 200 people tested negative for the second time. Our joy was made complete because the Lord visited us that day. The extent of jubilation was indescribable. Before we left the facility, I gathered all the people outside the facility, and we blessed God for His goodness, healing, and deliverance. As seen in the vision earlier, buses were brought to convey us home. The Church of Pentecost gave each person a Bible, Stream of Living Water Devotional Guide, and a face mask.
Ever since we returned home, I have received countless calls (and continue to receive calls) from some of my colleague patients, most of whom I do not even remember, about how their lives have changed because of their encounter with the Lord at the isolation centre. They accepted the Word and have now made a personal commitment to remain steadfast in the Lord. Some of them indicated that they experienced genuine repentance there. Some have built their daily devotional life.
Narrating all that had happened to my deputy, the Assistant District Children’s Ministry Leader at my Local Assembly, he remarked that, “If God had asked you to go to the facility and the gospel, you would not have accepted to go. Therefore, He allowed you to get the virus so that He will plant you as a missionary among the people so that you can preach the gospel to the brokenhearted.”
When I look back at how God demonstrated His mighty power at the Convention Centre and saved lives and performed signs and wonders among the people, I am convinced that He indeed sent me there as a missionary to preach the gospel.
Beloved, the “Possessing the Nations” agenda is still on and we must see every event that unfolds in our lives as an opportunity to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. His divine power is always at work to confirm the Word we preach with signs and wonders.
By Elder Michael, Haatso Area