The Long Haul Missionary
by Gary McLain

Chapter 8: Witnessing While Sick

During a trip to southern California to visit his parents, Ghennadii came down with demobilizing pain in his back that landed him in bed for the entire two-week vacation. Along with the back pain came a fever that hovered right around 104 degrees.

While Ghennadii was sick at his parents’ house, he didn’t go to the doctor because he didn’t have health insurance. Since Ghennadii’s wife had recently been pregnant, she had health insurance, but Ghennadii did not. However, a few weeks before, they received documents from the health insurance company that switched the coverage from his wife to Ghennadii. They talked about calling the health insurance company to correct the mistake because Ghennadii’s health was good. After the discussion, life got busy, and the phone call never happened.

They eventually remembered the documents from the health care company, and because Ghennadii’s wife was afraid he had pneumonia, they decided to go to the emergency room at 2:00 am. Once the over-the-counter pain and fever medications wore off, the fever and pain came back in full force. The doctors checked him over and were not able to diagnose the cause of Ghennadii’s symptoms.

Despite the pain and fever, Ghennadii and his wife decided to travel back home to Portland, Ore. After being home for a few days, and visiting the emergency room a couple times, doctors still didn’t have any conclusive information for him. The day after his third emergency room visit, a doctor called Ghennadii to let him know they had found bacteria in his blood. He was admitted to OHSU for what ended up being six days of treatment.

The insurance that was mistakenly transferred to Ghennadii’s name ended up being a tremendous blessing, and helped pay for the majority of the hospital bills that had accrued. The first emergency room visit in southern California was around $15,000 alone. Ghennadii says, “It was God’s providence. [He] is doing so much more than we deserve to intercede in our lives.”

The story continues, however. While Ghennadii lay suffering in his hospital bed, he asked his wife to bring him some books. The books were not for him to read, but for him to give to others!

One of Ghennadii’s doctors was interested in using natural healing methods in addition to conventional medicine. Ghennadii’s knowledge of other treatment methods intrigued the doctor, and she asked how he knew so much about unconventional treatments. He told her about his church, and the healthy lifestyle it promotes. The doctor noticed that the food Ghennaddi’s wife brought was always healthy, and she commented on it. He explained what the church teaches about taking care of our bodies, and had a friend bring a copy of Counsels on Diet and Foods that he gave to the doctor. She was excited about the book, and Ghennaddi thought it was ironic that as a sick patient, he was witnessing to the doctor about living a healthy lifestyle.