Pray against the Spread of COVID-19

Pray against the Spread of COVID-19

The COVID-19 Delta variant is now in the Philippines, with confirmed community transmission and a total of 64 cases as of July 24, 2021. It is a mutation that originally surfaced in India and was initially identified in December 2020. This variant is said to be at least 75% more transmissible than the original COVID-19 strain.

In light of this, NCR+ (Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) has once again been placed under general community quarantine with heightened restrictions until July 31. Meanwhile, the provinces of Bataan and Davao Occidental, as well as Cagayan de Oro City and Butuan City, are placed under modified enhanced community quarantine.

Let us continue to be vigilant in practicing health safety protocols, such as wearing of face masks and shields, keeping physical distance, and meeting in well-ventilated spaces. Vaccination has also been reported to slow down the spread. At present, the Philippines has had 4.7 million citizens fully vaccinated (4.27% of the population), with another 5.7 million awaiting their second dose.

But God remains to be our ultimate protection, for “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” and “He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence” (Psalm 91:1, 3).

Our response is one of faith, not of fear, and so, “I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’” (Psalm 91:2).

As a response, this is God’s promise: “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows My name; when he calls to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him; with long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation” (Psalm 91:14–16).

On the basis of this shall we pray!

PRAYER POINTS

  1. Pray that the spread of the COVID-19 virus would cease, and may God spare the nation from an outbreak of the Delta variant (Psalm 91:9–10).
  2. Speak God’s protection on those who continue to go outside and serve our nation, especially those in the healthcare system and those who keep the economy moving (Psalm 91:4–6).
  3. Pray for those affected by the Taal volcano’s recent activity, the recent earthquakes, and the flooding caused by the monsoon rains (Psalm 91:11–12).

To learn more about the COVID-19 situation in our nation, you can read the resources in the links below.

Pray for the Continuing Vaccination Efforts and the Rising COVID Cases in the Provinces

Pray for the Continuing Vaccination Efforts and the Rising COVID Cases in the Provinces

Surge in Cases

Recently, we have seen a rise in COVID cases in cities outside Metro Manila. While NCR+ is already in GCQ, there are twenty-one areas in the provinces that are now under MECQ. These include major urban centers such as Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City, Iloilo City, Lucena City, Naga City, Puerto Princesa City, and Zamboanga City. A few days ago, Davao City already reported critical levels in its hospital and ICU utilization rate. Our nation has around 6,500 new cases per day, with deaths averaging 125 per day within the past seven days. 

Vaccination Efforts

As of June 17, 2021, we have received more than 14 million vaccine doses, almost 7 million of which have been administered. So far, almost 2 million citizens have received their 2nd dose. This means that only less than 5% of the country’s population have received the first dose of the vaccine, and barely 2% have been fully vaccinated. 

The government aims to fully vaccinate 70% of Filipinos by the end of the year. That would mean 350,000 to 500,000 people should receive shots every day. But our average this past week has only been 112,600, less than half of the number of people we aim to vaccinate per day. There are a number of concerns that led to this: the logistics of getting more vaccines into the country, the challenges of vaccine distribution and administration, and the hesitancy of our fellow Filipinos in getting vaccinated. 

Let us continue praying for our vaccination efforts to reach more people and for God’s healing power to be felt across the nation.

A Call to Prayer

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
1 Timothy 2:1–2

The apostle Paul pointed young Timothy towards the urgency of praying for “all people.” Then he uses four different words to describe prayer. Supplications are petitions or requests made to God, entreating Him. Prayers are words spoken to God in earnest. Intercession is standing in the gap and speaking to God on behalf of others. Thanksgiving is gratitude expressed to God as a form of worship. 

Let supplication and intercession be made for all people: for protection against the virus, healing and quick recovery for those with the disease, and provision for the costs of hospitalization.

Let supplication and intercession be made for those in authority: for wisdom in making policies and decisions to resolve the issues brought about by the pandemic, swift nationwide execution of plans, and unity in the government rather than politicking in these dire times.

As we pray, the eventual result is that we would lead peaceful, quiet, godly and dignified lives. There is hope for these things to be so again.

May our prayers be powerful and effective as we storm heaven together!

 

PRAYER POINTS

  1. Pray against the spread of COVID, especially in the provinces. Pray for healing and the complete recovery of those who are affected, and for provision for their hospital bills. Pray for the healthcare system and the economy to be sustained in these regions.
  2. Pray for more vaccines to be delivered and greater efficiency in its administration to our people. Let us believe together for the miraculous fulfillment of the 70% vaccination coverage by the end of the year.
  3. Pray for God’s mercy upon our nation. Pray for our government leaders and those in authority for great wisdom and compassionate service as they seek the well-being of our nation and people.

To learn more about the vaccination program and the COVID-19 situation in our nation, you can read the resources in the links below.

Pray for Our Nation’s Vaccination Efforts

Pray for Our Nation’s Vaccination Efforts

All historical pandemics end at some point. The flu pandemics of 1918, 1957, and 1968 eventually faded away and simply became the seasonal flu. 

How did the pandemics end? They ceased medically—the population came to a point when most have developed a measure of immunity to the disease (herd immunity), whether through surviving the infection or through preventive vaccination. They also ended socially when people went past the pervasive fear and found new ways to go about their lives again. 

This is also our hope for the COVID-19 pandemic. The advantages in our present time are the advancements in medical science and the capacity of our global village to share resources like never before. With these factors, we may simply need to brave through this period. 

To persevere through this pandemic, we need to find our joy in God and His faithfulness all over again, to pray and not give up praying, and to nurture a grateful heart as we see telltale signs all around that God is working. As 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” It is easier said than done, but by God’s grace, we can walk through this with joy and reach the end with victory.

As we move forward, here are some reminders that may be helpful for us.

  1. Remain cautious and considerate. The quarantine has eased a bit to GCQ with heightened restrictions. This is again an effort of our government to keep the economy moving to the degree that our healthcare system can manage the cases that come with more people moving around. But this does not mean that the danger has passed. Let’s stick to essential meetings (such as church and work), while observing minimum safety precautions (consistent use of N95 or surgical mask and face shield, and practicing physical distancing). 
  2. Grow in faith rather than fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Let us not miss out on how God is moving in our lives, families, and nation at this time. Let us not allow the lessons of this crisis to be put to waste, but rather see that God is strengthening our faith, is still faithfully working out His purpose for our families, and will use us to bring the gospel to many people in this season. In the end, the Lord will heal our land!

This pandemic, too, shall end, but we must continue to brave through it!

 

PRAYER POINTS

  1. Pray for wisdom for the leaders in government and in the private sector as they devise strategies and enact solutions to address the pandemic. (Proverbs 21:1; 1 Timothy 2:1–2)
  2. Pray for healing for those battling COVID-19 and for God to uphold our healthcare system and economy. (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18; James 5:16)
  3. Pray that our population will achieve herd immunity at the soonest time and that vaccination efforts will reach more people. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

To learn more about the history of pandemics and the COVID-19 situation in our nation, you can read the resources in the links below.

Pray for Our Economy and Healthcare System

Pray for Our Economy and Healthcare System

In the past four weeks, we have seen afresh the realities of this pandemic—overcrowded hospitals, patients waiting in tents in parking lots, over-extended frontline healthcare workers, social media feeds that have become obituaries, and deaths closer to our circles. As a result, Metro Manila and some provinces were placed under stricter quarantine measures yet again. We even reported our highest caseload, 15,310 cases, on April 2, 2021. The nation is grieving.

Added to that are our dire economic realities. Over 9 million Filipinos were laid off temporarily and permanently the past year, and the number of unemployed is still at 4.2 million as of February 2021. Food manufacturing, grocery stores, and telecommunications still thrived, but the rest of our businesses were badly hit. At least 75 percent of the economy has been shut down.

We are in the middle of the “dance” between the need to curb the rising number of cases and the need for the economy to open up. We want to loosen the quarantine so our economy can move, but only up to the point that our healthcare system can cope with the demands of the number of active cases.

This month, we will specifically pray for God to breathe life into our healthcare system and our economy. As we pray, we can find encouragement in the book of Jeremiah. 

In Jeremiah 29:4–7, we find God’s words for the Israelites, people who have experienced war, death of loved ones, loss of livelihood, and eventually exile to the land of their oppressors in Babylon. In the midst of their difficult situation, God’s message to them is not what you would expect. He told them to “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.” It almost sounds as if God was insensitive to the unbelievable pain that they had gone through losing their nation. To top it off, God told them to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” 

What was God doing here?

God was telling them to move forward with hope. 

He gives His assurance in verse 11 saying, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Because God knows what He is doing, He was asking the people to trust Him and still find hope in the midst of their dire situation. He told them to move forward by building homes and families and to even bless a foreign nation because, in it, they will find their welfare.

The situation of the Israelites has several parallels to where we are today. God, too, may be asking us to trust that He remains to be in charge and has a plan, even when the situation seems to worsen. And in light of that trust, we may come to acceptance rather than grumbling and resentment. We may expect God’s move rather than languish in hopelessness. We may speak and act in courage rather than cower in fear right within our homes. Many of us are grieving and tired in many ways today, but we can cling on to hope because God’s promise is that this grief will end someday. Trust that God has a plan, bless rather than resent our situation, and build with faith.

An example of blessing others and rebuilding with faith are the many community pantries sprouting around. Even with all the controversy surrounding it, this effort is still a means for people to serve those in need. It’s encouraging to see many people not losing hope and doing something to flourish within the situation. 

Another example is the people who have maximized online opportunities to be able to move goods and services, which resulted in the many delivery options we have today. Instead of being limited by our work-from-home setup, others have utilized it for greater productivity by maximizing relational connections, trainings, and lessons online. 

People of faith can be undaunted because our God is undaunted. He even strongly assures us that He has a plan for our good, and we are right in the middle of it. 

Finally, we can continue to pray in confidence because God hears us. In Jeremiah 29:12, God affirms, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” May our prayers be filled with much faith and hope, and may the blessing we speak on our land heal it!

PRAYER POINTS

Bless our nation’s leaders. Pray that God will guide them with His wisdom and lead them to His plans.

Bless our healthcare workers and our hospitals. Pray that God will give them extended strength and resources to cope with the continuing demands.

Bless our economy. Pray that God would breathe life into the business sector and miraculously restore our production, manufacturing, and service industries.


To learn more about the COVID-19 situation in our nation, you can read the news in the links below.

Pray for the Rising COVID-19 Cases

Pray for the Rising COVID-19 Cases

The COVID-19 cases have been rising in the nation, especially in the National Capital Region. On March 15, 2021, exactly a year after Metro Manila was placed on community quarantine, 5,404 new cases were logged. On March 22, the highest number of COVID-19 cases per day in our nation was logged at 8,019, bringing our country’s total infections to over 671,792. New cases per day are projected at possibly 11,000 per day by the end of March, in light of the 2.1 reproduction rate of the infection. This rate means one infected person could infect two more, and the two could infect four more, and so on.

This increased rate has been attributed to the new variants as well as the public’s greater mobility. Though generally, 97.5 percent are mild and asymptomatic and the number of people who die from the disease in the Philippines is just 1.93 percent, this is still a serious matter since more cases mean more people experience the severe form of the disease and even death.

Yesterday, March 22, the government has designated NCR and its four neighboring provinces (Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) as the NCR Plus bubble, where additional restrictions to the general community quarantine guidelines are implemented. A year into the pandemic, we seem to find ourselves in the same situation: curfews and community quarantines, limited movement, and no assurance of what our circumstances will be weeks from now. As a nation, we are holding on to the hope that we will emerge victorious in this battle against a seemingly invisible enemy that has continually plagued us.

The Lord is still in control. He is at work among the nations and has a plan and a purpose in all these (Psalm 46:8–11). We can confidently come to Him in prayer and participate in what He is doing, with full assurance that He is at work healing individuals, families, and our nation.

In the apostle Paul’s letter to young Timothy, he encouraged him to have the right spirit in facing difficulties, which is an apt word for us today:

. . . for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7

The Lord is at work in our nation, so we don’t need to fear. Instead, let us proclaim His power to heal, keep reaching out to our neighbors in love, and be mindful of each other’s well-being.

As the government implements measures to curb the rising cases and expand the reach of the vaccination program, as our health workers strive to serve despite approaching full capacity in our hospitals, and as private entities continue to implement safety health protocols, let us stand on behalf of our nation and ask God to heal our land!

PRAYER POINTS

Faith over Fear. Pray against the fear in our nation at this time. Speak the promise of God in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that as we, the people who are called by God’s name, humble ourselves, pray and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways, then He will hear from heaven and forgive our sin and heal our land. Pray that Filipinos will find hope in God and call on Him today.

Wisdom for Our Leaders. Pray for wisdom for our government and private sector leaders as they make decisions in this season to mitigate the spread of the virus and increase access to proper healthcare.

Healing for the Afflicted. Pray for the individuals and families that contracted the virus, that they would quickly recover and that they would be spared from the severity of the disease.

Protection for Our Front Liners. Pray for the healthcare workers and other front liners as they consistently serve the nation in the midst of a pandemic for over a year now. Speak protection on them and a blessing on their families as they selflessly serve.


Starting today, we will be posting prayer points for the Philippines every month.

To learn more about the COVID-19 situation in our nation, you can read the news in the links below.

Missions in the Time of a Pandemic

Missions in the Time of a Pandemic

Missions is the very heartbeat of God. He is revealing Himself to a world that needs to hear about His love. Here is the story of missionaries who responded to God’s call and saw Him open doors of ministry in the midst of the pandemic. 

 

Even as a college student, I (Ana) knew that God wanted me to go to the nations to share about His love. I prayed about it and waited for His perfect time. Since I could not go to the nations at that time, I participated in missions work by giving. After I graduated, I worked as a graphic designer, but the call to go to the nations kept brewing in my heart. In 2014, after 8 years of working, I knew that it was time to be trained to fulfill God’s call in my life. I resigned from my job and enrolled in the School of World Missions of Every Nation Leadership Institute. It was during our first training when I met Fosty. He was my seatmate, and he was sent by Every Nation Macau to be trained as well.

We both took a step of faith to answer God’s call to the nations, not knowing that God was taking steps to fulfill one of His promises in our lives. Fosty and I got married in 2017. Shortly after our wedding, we went to Macau as missionaries. It has been three years since we first came here as a couple, and it has been a faith-stretching journey. We experienced how God turned things around for us. The more we did God’s work through missions, the more we sought Him and experienced His reality. We saw God’s power move not only in our personal lives, but in how He revealed Himself to people who have never heard of Jesus.

When the pandemic started early this year and movement all over the world slowed down, it felt like God pushed the “accelerate” button for the church here in Macau. Before the pandemic, most people seemed uninterested whenever we talked to them about Jesus. There were times when people would tell us no when we asked if we could pray for them. But now, it appears that more people are starting to realize that they are not in control of their lives and they cannot rely on their wealth or the wealth of their nation for peace and stability in life. Since the pandemic, no one has refused our request to pray for them. God is definitely preparing the hearts of people for Him and He Is opening new doors for us to minister.

 

God opened a door for us in one of the universities in Macau. Three weeks ago, one of the professors in that university asked us if we were willing to gather volunteers from the church for their English program. Since we partnered with them, we have been meeting with 50 to 60 college students weekly. These are students from Macau and mainland China. Since each volunteer will meet with the same students every week, we maximized this opportunity to build relationships.

We are also experiencing breakthroughs in the students we’ve been reaching for some time now. We have several students who overcame their fear and declared their new faith to their families. There are no words to explain the joy we feel whenever students tell us that giving their lives to Jesus is the best decision they’ve ever made!

Being a missionary has its set of challenges, but knowing that what you are doing is bringing people closer to God is worth it. This sense of joy and fulfillment can be experienced not just by those who go to other nations. All of us should realize that we’ve been called to be missionaries. There are people around us to whom we can reach out, wherever God has placed us. We really just have to be willing to let God use us and know that He will provide the grace and power to fulfill this call.

 

““Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19,20

Ana and Fosty are planting a new church in Taipa, Macau, and they are believing that it will be launched by the end of the year. Indeed, in spite of everything going on in the world, the mission continues. Join us at our online services this weekend as we continue our series. 

Fulfilling God’s Purpose

Fulfilling God’s Purpose

God is reaching out to people with His love, and nothing, not even a pandemic, can stop Him from using anyone to accomplish His will. Here is a story of a man whom God used to share the hope found in His word while he himself was battling with COVID-19. 

 

I was 42 when I retired from government service. Shortly after my retirement, I encountered God’s love. When you come face to face with the magnitude of God’s love for you and the richness of His grace and forgiveness, you know that the only proper response is to surrender and serve Him. Since then, I have been serving God in whatever way He calls me to serve. 

Last year, one of the pastors in our church challenged me to lead my own Victory group. I prayed about it and asked God to open doors for me. God answered my prayer in the most unexpected way. Sometime in October, I attended a high school reunion in one of the bars in Makati. That night, in front of the doors of the bar, I and four other men prayed for each other. One of the men suggested that we call our group MFJ (Men for Jesus) and that name has stuck with us to this day. For four months we met once a week to study God’s word and pray for one another. Then we started meeting more often. 

Sometime in March, I tested positive for COVID-19. I was one of the early cases in the country. Out of my six-week battle with the virus, the most difficult was the first ten days. While I was in isolation, struggling for every breath, I kept praying. It was a very painful and difficult time, but I had peace knowing that God was with me. He kept reminding me of how much He loves me and the truth that no hardship nor pain will ever separate me from His love. Seeing who I am in God’s eyes gave me the strength to endure. That season of pain brought me closer to God and made me experience His reality in a new way.  

By God’s sovereign will, this experience also opened doors for me to share His love to people. It was during this time when our MFJ group started growing. Ever since the lockdown, we started meeting online three times a week. Since I was in quarantine, I had time to prepare and share the word of God. Friends from all over the world started joining our group. We grew from five to more than 50. When the lockdown eased a little, I was expecting that we would meet less often. But the group wanted to keep meeting three times a week. They said that God’s word sustained them during the lockdown. It brought them peace and hope. It gave them the faith to believe for better days ahead.

I realized that in this time of pandemic, we really need to see what God is personally showing each one of us. He is reaching out to us individually and we need to listen to Him. He wants us to know Him and find joy and peace in Him in the midst of the uncertainties that are happening. Yes, we see the agony, the horror that this pandemic has brought to people’s lives. We see businesses closing and people losing their jobs and their loved ones. I personally have experienced the pain that this disease brings and the fear that comes from knowing that the breath you just took might be your last. If we are not careful, we will get persuaded by all the negativity we see and experience around us and be disheartened.

As Christians, we need to see what God is doing. We should look at everything that’s happening with eyes of faith. God has a purpose for allowing this pandemic. He is recalibrating everyone’s lives. People are looking for answers and we have to be willing and ready to share the hope we have in Him. If we allow God, nothing, not even a pandemic, can stop Him from using us to accomplish His will.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you 

that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide . . .”

John 15:16

Tony served in government for fourteen years before he retired. He and his wife are Victory group leaders in Victory Fort.

58 Days of Faith: Surviving COVID–19

58 Days of Faith: Surviving COVID–19

The pain of knowing that your entire family is COVID–19 positive is indescribable. But God’s goodness and faithfulness are also beyond what we can ever think or imagine. Here’s an inspiring story of a family that survived the virus.

 

Three members of our family serve on the front lines. My father is a police officer, while my younger sister and I are healthcare professionals.

When the coronavirus outbreak started, we knew that our family would be at risk, especially our parents. Aside from the fact that half of our family are exposed to the virus, most of us also have pre-existing medical conditions.

On April 2, right after my overnight duty at the hospital as a staff nurse, my mother called and informed me of my father’s high fever. He got a swab test that day and was advised to undergo home quarantine while waiting for the results. On April 9, a week later, his test results came out: he tested positive with COVID–19.

With only two hours of sleep, I went to different hospitals that day to help my father get the medical attention he needed. At that time, his symptoms were already severe; I knew I needed to do everything I could to help him survive. With God’s grace, on that same day, he was admitted to a hospital in Pasig City.

On April 14, just five days after we learned that my father had contracted the virus, another devastating news came our way. My mother started showing symptoms of pneumonia, and my younger sister also tested positive.

Because of what happened, we knew that the rest of us should be tested as well. Though I was previously tested when I accompanied my father to the hospital, I decided to join my 18-year-old brother and 10-year-old sister for another test.

On April 21, in the midst of everything that was happening to my father, mother, and younger sister—who were all in the hospital—we found out that even my two other siblings had the virus. It was heartbreaking.

At that time, I didn’t know what to feel or think. Seeing my whole family admitted to different hospitals alone and in pain crushed my heart. My father fell into severe depression, while my mother—who also turned out positive later on—struggled with all the painful medications. My younger sister who is an ER nurse tried her best to be strong and administered the medications to herself to protect her colleagues, but she later developed a Kawasaki-like disease; it caused her whole body to become inflamed. My two other siblings, on the other hand, were afraid and didn’t know what to do. It was so hard not to be there for them, especially for my little sister who had no idea what was going on; she is just 10 years old.

While on quarantine and waiting for my test results and family to come home, I would cry out to God and lift up my entire family to Him. I was also hopeful that I did not contract the virus. Like what my other sister always said, we couldn’t rely on anything or anyone but God. Only He could deliver our whole family from the disease. Every day, I would battle with negative thoughts and fill my mind with God’s word instead. I also kept reminding myself of His promise in Jeremiah 29:10,11 (NLT):

“. . . I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Though faced with the reality of being positive with the virus, too, and losing a member of our family at any minute, I trusted that God would carry us through and bring my parents and siblings back home alive. I am thankful that despite our situation, a lot of people believed with us and stood with us in prayer.

Every night, our friends and people from our church community would tirelessly encourage us and remind us of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Every little thing they did for us meant so much to me and my whole family. Though a lot of people became hostile to us out of fear for what happened, I am grateful that God surrounded us with people who chose to show us love and compassion in a difficult time.

For 58 days, we were filled with fear and anxiety, but our faith was also stretched and strengthened like never before. Faith kept us strong in times when we were hopeless and on the verge of giving in to pain. Though we were weak, God carried us and helped us endure. It’s indescribable how He delivered us and provided for us.

Last month, after weeks of waiting and praying, my test results finally came out negative. My father, mother, and 10-year-old sister also tested negative after several swab tests. They came home for the first time, and we celebrated Mother’s Day together. Several weeks later, my two other siblings were also sent home after having been cleared from the disease. It was such a sweet moment for us.

Even when everything was still unclear, I knew that God would come through for us. And there’s nothing more I want now but to tell others of how good and faithful He is. Seeing my family alive and complete is something I will always thank God for—and a testimony that I will keep telling people. Our second chance at life is a gift, and I, along with my whole family, will continue to use it to serve and honor Him.

 

Kristine is a staff nurse and part of Victory Fort. Her father is a policeman, while her younger sister is an ER nurse. She considers it a blessing that she did not contract the virus despite everything that her family went through. After being cleared from COVID-19, she and her family are now back on the front lines to serve with increased passion, dedication, and faith.

Our God Is Bigger: A Journey of Healing from COVID-19

Our God Is Bigger: A Journey of Healing from COVID-19

The coronavirus disease can assault the body extensively. It targets the lungs, but it can also damage the other organs of our body. It can take a grave toll on people affected by the virus. But no matter how harrowing its effects are, be it physically or mentally, there is Someone bigger than this disease.

Below is the inspiring testimony of a woman who was declared COVID-free after spending seven grueling weeks in the hospital to fight the dreaded virus.

 

RIGHT BEFORE IT HITS
I started to feel unwell on the morning of March 18. I had a high fever and headache. It felt like I was coming down with the flu. I thought I got infected with dengue after spending hours cleaning our home. But the following day, I started having bouts of diarrhea. We monitored my condition for a few days and hoped that my fever would go down, but it didn’t. Not long after, I had difficulty breathing. It became almost impossible for me to sleep while lying down. I felt so weak.

My husband and I went to a hospital in Pasig City on March 23. I was told that my lungs were clear and everything was okay based on the x-ray scan. I was instructed to go home and undergo self-quarantine for two weeks. But upon arriving home, my fever flared up.

We immediately called the COVID-19 hotline to seek help. I was told to go to one of the hospitals in Quezon City to have another x-ray scan. On the 25th, just two days after my last scan, I found out that I had pneumonia. I had to be admitted but there was no room available at that time. I stayed at the hospital’s parking lot from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. with an oxygen tank next to me—thinking every breath was my last.

THE LONG WAIT
While waiting at the parking lot, I was already bidding goodbye to my husband. I had worked as a nurse before, and I had a patient who died from pneumonia. I was almost sure that I’d have the same fate. I prayed and asked God to fill me with His peace.

While preparing myself for what would happen next, my best friend called and prayed for me. She encouraged me and reminded me to trust God. I was already struggling to breathe at that time, but I listened to every word she said. Knowing that someone was praying for me helped a lot.

Like my best friend, my husband also refused to give up. He contacted different people, including those from our Victory group. That same night, one of our leaders from Victory Katipunan, who happened to be a doctor, called us and helped me get checked and admitted to another hospital. I knew it was God making a way for me.

COUNTING THE DAYS
When I was admitted, the doctors had me tested for COVID-19 and checked my blood disorder, too. At that time, both of my lungs were already severely affected. I could feel that I was positive with the disease, but I tried to dispel that thought while waiting for the results. Seeing God make a way for me to be admitted kept my hopes up.

We were told that the results of my swab test would be released after three to four days. While waiting, I drew strength from God to keep fighting each day. Eight days had passed, and there were still no results; I was forced to go through another swab. At that time, I was slowly starting to feel better, but not knowing what was happening to me made me anxious. It felt like there was a big cloud hanging over me.

As I counted the days, I didn’t know that God was slowly preparing my heart. He knew that it was easy for me to worry and think of unpleasant things. And He didn’t want that. He used the delay to strengthen me and make me ready. After a few days, the results of my first swab test came back positive.

FIGHTING WITH FAITH
While I was in the hospital, God used different people to encourage me. My colleagues and Victory group always checked on me through video calls. My husband, who was tagged at that time as a person under monitoring (PUM), was not allowed to leave the hospital so he stayed with me. I am thankful to God that despite what happened, there were people who fought each day with me. I never felt alone.

There were times when I almost gave up because the medication was too painful—it felt as if it was melting my bones. But my husband never lost heart. He would always talk to me and help me see things differently. He helped build my faith.

Every day, God would show me His goodness through different people. He changed my perspective on many things and made me see what’s truly important. I realized how fleeting everything is and finally understood who He is in my life. With every pain, I saw how big He is. No matter what happens, I know that God is in control, and I can always put my faith and confidence in Him.

COMING OUT STRONG
While waiting for the results of my fourth swab test, I filled my heart with God’s word. Our online worship services and the morning worship and prayer on Victory’s Facebook page helped me a lot. Instead of focusing on my pain, I focused on God and started reaching out to our relatives and friends who were having a difficult time because of the crisis we’re facing. I encouraged them with God’s promises and helped them see the good in the bad.

My battle with coronavirus showed me that the challenges we face would help us come out strong like Job. Instead of questioning God, we need to look beyond our situation to understand His purpose. Our trials can be turned into testimonies that can bring honor and glory to God.

FROM PAIN TO PURPOSE
After seven grueling weeks of pain and uncertainty, I was finally declared COVID-free! My fourth swab test came out negative, and I was discharged in the afternoon of May 11, 2020.

Though I realize that sharing this story may cause me and my family to face the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease, I am sure that God will be with us no matter what. Letting everyone know that God is bigger than this pandemic is more important. The pain I felt has a greater purpose that will allow others to see His goodness.

 

No words can accurately describe the pain and agony that a person with COVID-19 feels. Though the uncertainty and fear are beyond difficult to bear, nothing is beyond God’s grace. May those who are going through this disease find comfort, strength, and hope in God—who is bigger than this pandemic. As a church community, let us open our hearts to those who are battling the disease, encourage them, and show them God’s love. By faith, there is healing, victory, and the promise of eternal life in Christ.

 

Vee is a Quality Assurance analyst and a volunteer in Victory Katipunan. She and her husband are part of a couples Victory group. They are currently being monitored and evaluated as part of the government’s health and safety protocols.

Serving Amid COVID-19: Stories from the Front Lines

Serving Amid COVID-19: Stories from the Front Lines

As we brave through this pandemic, there are many non-medical frontline workers who are battling with us—and serving no matter the cost. Despite the danger it poses to them and their families, they are resolute in fulfilling the purpose that God has placed in their lives. 

Here are stories from our Victory group leaders who also serve as frontline workers in the government sector.

 

ERIC ALLAS (Police Officer)

When the coronavirus outbreak started, I was tapped to be part of our unit’s Quick Response Team in Parañaque. I was assigned to man the checkpoints and monitor COVID-19 cases under the Suspect and Probable categories in the entire city.

The whole ordeal is exhausting physically, mentally, and emotionally. A lot of those who served with us contracted the disease and failed to survive. There’s so much fear behind the tough facade that we all maintain, but we have to brave that fear and be strong, especially for our families.

Because of the crisis, I experienced so many changes at work, but the biggest change could be felt in our very home—with my wife and two kids.

I was used to receiving warm hugs from my kids after work. It was something I looked forward to. But since I started manning the checkpoints and responding to calls about COVID-19 cases, I had to distance myself from my boys. I could no longer play and bond with them like I used to. It was something they didn’t understand at first, but my wife and I explained to them that I was only doing it to protect them.

Every night, we pray as a family to seek guidance and protection from God. Seeing my wife and kids having so much trust in the Lord inspires me every day and builds up my faith. God reminds me through them that I was given the privilege to serve in this capacity for a purpose.

When fear overwhelms me, I just go back to God and the purpose He has placed in my life. Knowing that He is the source of everything—my job, my strength, my faith—reassures me that He is with me and I can depend on Him. He is our fortress in this battle.

 

DAISY TEE (Barangay Chairman)

Every day since the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine, my team and I have been going around our barangay in Sampaloc to distribute relief packs to 700 families. Because of the unexpected crisis, we realigned our budget for the year to meet the essential needs of those under our jurisdiction.

Dealing with a pandemic that has seemingly crippled everyone is challenging. We encounter a lot of problems every day. And while there is a need for us to be firm and tough in implementing rules and measures to avoid the spread of the virus, there is also a strong call for us to be compassionate and understanding. We need to exercise wisdom in everything.

Like everyone else who is praying not to contract the disease, I also have fears for my family. I always seek God for guidance and wisdom so I can protect not just the people in our barangay but even my own household. At home, I try my best not to have physical interaction with my children, and I even sleep on a different bed from my husband. I do what I can to keep them safe, but I know that ultimately, it is God who truly protects all of us.

Serving in this season is costly and demands a lot of sacrifices. But even though there are a lot of challenges, there are also a lot of rewards.

Seeing my team working in unity is always an inspiration and encouragement to me. It is a blessing to know that we are all fighting this crisis together. Aside from that, it is always humbling to see the faces of the people we serve light up with joy when we manage to help them in any way. That fills my heart and motivates me to continue serving with gratitude.

There will always be fears and worries, but I trust that the trials we go through now will only keep us strong and hopeful. Amid all that’s happening, we can find comfort and peace in God.


Let us not be swayed by everything that’s happening around us. God has a bigger purpose for all of us. Let us not allow our difficulties to cripple our hope and faith in God, because He remains faithful.


Eric and his wife, Lhyn, are leading a couples Victory group in Victory Alabang, while Daisy and her husband, Antonio, are leading a couples Victory group in Victory U-Belt.

Battling Fear with Faith: Stories from the Front Lines

Battling Fear with Faith: Stories from the Front Lines

Panic. Fear. Confusion. Our current situation has left most of us braving these emotions every day. But in the midst of everything that’s happening, we can respond in faith because Someone bigger than us is in control.

Here are some of our healthcare professionals who are battling this crisis with us and are selflessly putting their lives on the line as they serve and honor God through their profession.

 

FERNANDO ACANCE (Surgeon)
The COVID-19 situation has dramatically changed our everyday lives at the hospital. I work in private and public institutions, and every day since the outbreak, there has been a continuous influx of patients with mild to severe symptoms. Every day, our emergency room nurses, residents, fellows, and consultants get exposed and become depleted. It becomes an even bigger challenge to defeat the virus knowing that we are faced with the scarcity of our healthcare resources. It is disheartening.

Going home is like returning from a battlefield. There’s always an air of fear, but you still hope and believe for the best. It is hard to still go out there and gear up for the next battle knowing that some of your friends have died, but you want to continue the fight and be victorious in the end. That’s what it’s been like for the past months.

As a husband and a father, it is normal to worry not just for myself, but for my wife and my children. But when the fear becomes overwhelming, I just remind myself and my family to anchor our faith in God. We draw our strength from the fact that God is good and that He is always there for us; He will never leave us nor forsake us. That always helps us brave our fears.

Despite all that’s happening, I consider this season as a special time to know Jesus more. This crisis has made us realize our susceptibility to a disease that can claim thousands of lives, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor or not. Everyone is at risk. It makes us realize that we really can’t depend on anything or anyone. No one is in control except God.

Hopefully, when all of this is over, we’ll come out changed—individually and as a nation. Now, we see people crying out to God and helping one another in love. I pray that we will continue doing that with or without a crisis and see God’s hand in everything.

 

SHEKYNA SANTOS (OIC/ER Staff Nurse)
Because of the outbreak, there’s been a big change in our procedures and processes. We had to make a lot of adjustments, especially in the emergency department. We have stringent health checks now to protect not just our patients but even our depleting medical staff. And though the surge of coronavirus cases has left most of us scared for our safety, we try our best to brave that fear and still go to work.

Each day is stressful and draining. But we always have to keep our focus and make sure that we’re wearing protective gear at all times. Right now, our facility has enough personal protective equipment, but if the number of cases will continue to go up, our supplies can become scarce. It’s important that we do our part in boosting our immune system as well. We have to be strong physically and spiritually.

When fear creeps up in me, I pray and remind myself that I am protected by God. I also think of my family, especially my parents, and the rest of the people who need help. Every day, God shows me the value of my profession. He makes me realize that it’s a privilege to serve in this capacity.

In the midst of what we’re facing, we can always look to God and ground our faith upon His Word. It’s not a time to point fingers or make judgments. Instead of spurring fear, we can build each other up and encourage one another. Though our situation is difficult, we can exalt God’s name and reflect His goodness.

Now, more than ever, we have to be strong and pray unceasingly. God is sovereign and His plan will always prevail. His grace is endless and sufficient.

 

It’s been a difficult time for most of us, especially these past weeks, but may the peace that comes from God replace our worries and fears. Let us brave each day with faith knowing that God is bigger and greater than any situation. Let us also pray for protection and provision for our front liners as they continue to faithfully serve and battle fear with faith. 

 

Dr. Acance and his wife, Camille, are leading a couples Victory group in Victory Katipunan, while Shekyna is one of our Victory group leaders in Victory Alabang.

In response to our current situation, we have been praying and ministering to our front liners and coordinating with local government units. Last week, we started to deliver food and protective gear to our healthcare workers as well. We are currently working with suppliers to provide more, and looking for other ways on how we can help our communities at this time. If you want to take part in our community relief efforts, you may ask your Victory location or the one nearest you for more information.