GREENSBORO, N.C. — Families with loved ones who are sick normally rely on health workers like doctors and nurses for care and treatment. However, with the coronavirus pandemic, more responsibilities have been added and many health workers are now helping to keep families connected and are also keeping faith with them.
One Triad healthcare worker spoke about how he unexpectedly ended up praying with the wife of a man who battled COVID-19 and came away with a new perspective about empathy.
Rodney Simpson, a fitness center coordinator at High Point Medical Center said when he saw odd handprints growing on the hospital's glassdoor entrance, he thought someone had been trespassing or was trying to break in.
He said at first he thought perhaps a homeless person coming to find shelter in the corner, but he would later find out it was a pastor's wife. She was praying for her sick husband, the hospital staff, and other patients battling coronavirus.
"Oh my gosh! It totally broke me. So many times we look at something or you look at a situation and it's not as it appears," Rodney Simpson said.
The handprints belonged to Melissa Baker who was going to the hospital to pray for her husband twice a day.
Baker's husband, 54-year-old Pastor Rory Baker, was on a ventilator with badly damaged lungs from COVID-19, according to the doctors.
He had fallen ill in early April and his wife thought he was on his death bed. Before the illness, the father of seven, who leads Fruit of The Spirit Ministries in Greensboro, had no serious underlying condition that they knew about, according to Baker.
"When I initially got the call that the ventilator will be the next step, I just felt like, 'If I could get to the hospital, I could be closer to him and that will bring me a sense of peace," Baker said.
"I continued to go to the hospital in the mornings and pray, and I will put my handprint on the glass and I will go back in the evening and I will continue to pray," she said.
The 'anointing oil' she used to bless her hand before laying it on the glass created the visible handprints that had initially bothered Simpson.
Simpson spotted Baker outside on one Sunday and went to inquire about what she was doing there. Baker said she thought he was coming to kick her out or call security on her. But she explained to him that she had been coming to pray over the hospital and for her husband who was on a ventilator and that she wasn't allowed to visit him. Then he asked if they could pray together.
"She said, 'yes, we can, as long as you stay 6-feet away." He said, "Yes, ma'am I will," he chuckled.
Simpson joined in on the prayer intercession and noticed Baker clutching a Bible with a picture of healthy lungs.
As Baker prayed, Simpson recognized she was pronouncing the events described in the Gospel of John, chapter 11, verse 1-45, which tells the story in the Christian faith, of a miracle performed by Jesus where he raised a man named Lazarus from the dead.
"As she was praying for the doctors caring for him and praying for the nurses and caregivers at this hospital, I was waiting for the ground to start shaking. It was just incredible, it really was, the compassion and the brokenness of the woman, almost desperate in her cries to the Lord for healing," said Simpson.
"She not only prayed at this one entrance, she did a prayer walk around this hospital twice a day for the last three weeks."
While Baker said Simpson's random act of kindness lifted her spirit at that moment, Simpson however credits Baker's powerful words, compassion, and love for giving him a new point of view.
"What that was was a wife praying for her husband, and the faith and the hope that was demonstrated at that moment and how it changed my perspective was just incredible," he said fighting back tears.
"Out of everything that we are going through this is something that I would never forget. It still continues to move me whenever I think about that and I would still certainly continue to pray for Mr. Baker," Simpson concluded.
Pastor Baker has tested negative for coronavirus three times and is out of the hospital. However, he is still on a ventilator in a rehab center in Greensboro and his family has asked the community to keep him in prayers for a full recovery.
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