By: Rev. Benjie Chavez

This is my narrative of what happened to me in July 2021, when I got infected with the Covid-19 virus. I hope that my experience serves as a strong reminder and warning to all of our JECPP congregation and members to take extra precautions to avoid contracting the Covid-19 infection. In particular, to make people take seriously the health instructions and protocols that our national and local governments teach and implement. My personal experience with the Covid-19 virus infection taught me the importance of vaccination, for everyone to strengthen their immunity against the Covid-19 Virus.

In my instance, I’m unable to pinpoint exactly how I became infected. The only thing I recall is going to Iloilo City on July 3, which was a Saturday, to pick up spare components for my vehicle that I had bought from Auto Supply. I came to a halt in front of the Auto Supply in Iloilo City. When I was wearing my mask and rolling down my car window glass, suddenly a person came beside my car and approached me about my spare parts.

Then, on Sunday morning, July 4, after I preached at Evangel Family Church-Ajuy, I felt some pain in my upper back and a mild fever. But when I took a Biogesic, I was relieved of the fever but my upper back was still aching. On Monday, July 5, I felt so exhausted physically and had a consistent fever for the whole week. However, on July 9, I was able to get to the doctor for a check-up, but unfortunately, the doctor gave me the wrong medication since her prognosis was that I had a Urinary Tract Infection.

On July 10, in addition to my upper back pain, I noticed that my chest ached and that I had shortness of breath, but I was still able to manage it. My breathing became more difficult the next day. I couldn’t breathe normally on Monday, July 12, and I desperately required oxygen. Because of that, my wife and some of the planters rushed me to the hospital. When I was in the emergency room, the doctor immediately gave me oxygen and took a swab test. The following day, the results came out. I was positive for severe Covid Pneumonia. I stayed at the emergency room for two days struggling with my breathing and even could not feed myself alone.

After 2 days, they transferred me to the COVID ward and I was all alone there. I still cannot feed myself well and every time I go to exert an effort to get up, my breathing gets worse. So, I chose to lie down and reach for anything I could eat and drink just to survive starving. When the doctor visited me, he asked me if there was someone that I could ask to come inside to take care of me because they could not assist me well due to the many patients that they were attending to and they were short of medical personnel. Immediately, I called my wife with regards to the doctor’s suggestion. My wife made an immediate decision to come and take care of me. She signed a waiver and took a swab test. Praise God that her swab test result was negative. Despite my tough situation, I’m so thankful that my wife is there to assist and take care of me.

Since my condition is already at an advanced stage, the doctor is worried about my condition because my life is in danger. The doctor suggested my wife buy antibiotics to treat my lungs and to prevent the spread of the virus in my body. During that time, I was struggling with my condition. I remembered the message that Pastor Lim shared with us during one of our Spiritual Leaders meetings titled “Detour”. It gives me great encouragement that God has a purpose for why he allows me to go through with this kind of situation. At the same time, the voice of my fellow Spiritual Leaders lingered in my mind, saying, “Benjie, be strong, we are praying for you.” Those words gave me comfort and peace that God is working beyond my situation.

One night, God gave me a word from the book of Genesis 2:7. “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” And then I said to myself, “from now on, the oxygen that I’m going to breathe is not from the hospital oxygen device, but from the Holy Spirit”, and suddenly peace began to reign over me. In the morning, the doctor checked my body oxygen. He noticed that it had reached a normal level and, because of that, he changed my oxygen from the electronic one to the oxygen tank. So, I used it just for one day, because on the second day I took a step of faith based on my prayer. For two days, I did not use oxygen anymore and when the doctor saw me, he said to me, “Oh, you’re not using your oxygen anymore” and I answered, “Doc, the oxygen that I’m breathing right now is the oxygen of the Holy Spirit” and he laughed at me and miraculously noticed my fast recovery.

Then the doctor took a swab test again on us. Praise God that the result came out that we were both negative. The doctor told us that we needed to be discharged as soon as possible from the hospital. On July 26, by the Grace of God, I was finally discharged.

But on the other hand, beyond my knowledge, my mother was also hospitalized due to pneumonia and she was not able to survive. My younger brother delivered the news that our mother had passed away. But he shared with me that before my mother lost her breath, he victoriously shared the gospel and led my mother to a sinner’s prayer and accepted Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior, which gave me peace. Even though we lost her, we are still happy because she is in Heaven.

I could say that being infected by Covid is not a joke. Covid is real and I experienced it personally. So, as I said earlier, I realize that vaccination is very necessary for everyone to boost our immune systems to fight against the Covid 19 virus. Also, I want to grab this moment to thank all the JECPP family for your prayers and support, especially Rev. Dr Robert Lim, Rev. Dr Marion Lim, and the spiritual leaders. Also, I’m thankful to my wife, who made a lot of sacrifices to take care of me. To God be the glory.