I Contracted Coronavirus While Serving As A Missionary

On May 19th, Hannah Fitzgerald shared the following post in a Facebook group.

I am one of the 4 missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the world who has been dealing with Coronavirus. Here is a piece of my story.

What is a 𝗺𝗶𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗹𝗲? There are many definitions of what a miracle is. One is “a highly improbable or extraordinary event, or development that brings very welcome consequences that are unexplainable or defy the laws of science; usually attributed to a higher being or another’s charitable doing.”

“𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘑𝘦𝘴𝘶𝘴, 𝘺𝘦 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘷𝘺 𝘭𝘢𝘥𝘦𝘯, 𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘣𝘺 𝘴𝘪𝘯 𝘰𝘱𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘥.”

I have been battling the novel Coronavirus for 47 days now as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In that time, I have seen many miracles; some big, some small. Whether it was receiving a needed message from a friend or having a miserable hour seemingly pass in minutes. No matter the size, each altered my journey for the better. I can’t explain most of them and the gravity of how much each meant to me. My heart has been filled with gratitude and love time after time.

“𝘏𝘦’𝘭𝘭 𝘴𝘢𝘧𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘨𝘶𝘪𝘥𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘩𝘪𝘮, 𝘩𝘪𝘮 𝘮𝘢𝘺 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘵. 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘑𝘦𝘴𝘶𝘴.”

On Tuesday, I was told that I would be returning home and ending my service as a missionary permanently due to the severity and longevity of my illness. I was heartbroken. I only hit my 4-month mark this past week. I love being a missionary. The experiences I’ve had and people I have met while serving have changed my life forever. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Later that evening, I was told that I would be given 𝟮 𝘄𝗲𝗲𝗸𝘀 in the field to see if I could improve my condition. Not wanting to waste a minute, the next morning I coordinated with my mission leaders and immediately scheduled appointments with my physician from home, who’s also a dear family friend. He helped get me onto medications and programs to attempt to usher in a breakthrough despite the lack of time.

Days went by with nothing. I poured out my heart to God multiple times a day with gratitude and hope to soon see development. I was beginning to think that I was never going to see any turn of good. However, I never gave up hope or lost my faith. 𝗜 𝗱𝗶𝗱 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗱𝗼𝘂𝗯𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗱. I knew God heard my prayers and knew about my predicament.

“𝘏𝘦’𝘭𝘭 𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘺𝘰𝘶, 𝘪𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘪𝘯 𝘮𝘦𝘦𝘬𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘱𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘏𝘪𝘴 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦. 𝘖𝘩, 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘭𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘣𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘷𝘦.”

Things never happen on our time. We experience trials in life on the timeline that God needs us to. He gives us these obstacles to grow and learn to rely on Him. I would’ve never thought 4 months ago that I would be not in my original mission, in solitary quarantine for over 40 days, with a pandemic virus threatening to end my service early.

“𝘏𝘦’𝘭𝘭 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘩𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶, 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘪𝘯 𝘥𝘢𝘳𝘬𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘷𝘦 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘺.”

While it’s been miserable, challenging, scary, and uncertain, I would not trade this experience for anything. The lessons that I have learned while enduring, are priceless. I have grown closer to my Heavenly Father and Savior. I have been humbled repeatedly. My testimony has grown tremendously in submitting to God’s will cheerfully through prayer and relying on Him and Christ and His Atonement.

“𝘏𝘪𝘴 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘥𝘢𝘳𝘬𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘢𝘺.”

In the words of President Monson, “Our Heavenly Father…knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass. We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were—better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before.”

“𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘑𝘦𝘴𝘶𝘴 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘴𝘭𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘢. 𝘜𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘪𝘨𝘩 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘺 𝘪𝘯 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯.”

It is a miracle that I am still out as a missionary. It is a miracle that I was called to serve at this specific time. It is a miracle that I was destined to meet the people that I have and that they have been by my side throughout this since day one. It is a miracle that I was sent to Colorado Springs twelve hours before I was supposed to be on a plane to Vietnam. 𝗜𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝗺𝗶𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗴𝗲𝘁 𝗯𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿.

“𝘌𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘏𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘴, ‘𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘦.’”

One of my best friends once wrote down this poem for me in the MTC and it has stuck with me ever since.

My future as a full-time missionary is still unknown, but I know that because of this trial, I have become a better person and have grown closer to my Savior Jesus Christ. He has not left me alone. He has already walked this same path which has allowed Him to comfort not just me, but 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗲 through their sorrows when we turn to Him. Turn to Him and He will help you.

“𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘑𝘦𝘴𝘶𝘴.”

Whatever happens in the next 8 days, I know that I will be where God needs me to be; whether that’s still a missionary or back home. I am incredibly grateful for the love, support, and care I’ve received from near and far. I know God is watching out for me and I believe that miracles will continue to come. I bear this testimony humbly in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Sister Fitzgerald shared the following update on her Facebook account on June 4th:

17 days ago, I was beginning to see lasting improvement in my condition. Little did I know exactly how much I would see within the next 10 days. I went from barely being able to do small activities, to being able to ease back into missionary duties with more energy daily.

Faith brings miracles. When everything pointed the other way, I never lost my faith or hope that whatever needed to happen would happen. I knew that Heavenly Father was keenly aware of my situation and that He would direct me wherever I needed to be.

About 9 days ago, I was told that I would have the opportunity to continue my missionary service. I am extremely grateful for this blessing. I am eagerly looking forward to get back to serving the Lord and the people of Colorado and potentially Vietnam.

Thank you for all your prayers, love, and support throughout this journey. You will never fully know how much it means to me and my family and friends. My battle with COVID-19 is far from over but it will not get the best of me. I’m expected to be fully recovered in about 3-4 months. My symptoms have significantly improved; many have gone away completely. Some days are worse than others, but it is all a part of the road to recovery.

Never lose your faith, hope and trust in God. He has a plan for each of us. With a humble and willing heart, He will lead us on the best path for each of us. God and Christ’s love for us will conquer all. They have both done countless things for us because they love us so much. I would also urge you to never take time for granted. My life was almost cut short and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to many people. You never know when and if something will happen and someone will be called home before you expected. Take advantage of every moment you have with those you love. Take another picture, give them another hug. Don’t EVER take this precious time with people for granted anymore. Enjoy every moment.

“But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions.” – Alma 34:41

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