I Contracted Coronavirus While Serving As A Missionary

hannah fitzgerald

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 ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—น๐—ฒ? There are many definitions of what a miracle is. One is โ€œa 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 anotherโ€™s charitable doing.โ€

โ€œ๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜‘๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ด, ๐˜บ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜บ ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ, ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ, ๐˜ฃ๐˜บ ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ.โ€

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 canโ€™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.

โ€œ๐˜๐˜ฆโ€™๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜จ๐˜ถ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฎ, ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฎ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜บ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ต. ๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜‘๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ด.โ€

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 Iโ€™ve had and people I have met while serving have changed my life forever. I wouldnโ€™t trade them for anything.

Later that evening, I was told that I would be given ๐Ÿฎ ๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ธ๐˜€ 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, whoโ€™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. ๐—œ ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ฑ ๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜ ๐—ฑ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฏ๐˜ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฑ. I knew God heard my prayers and knew about my predicament.

First day at the MTC

โ€œ๐˜๐˜ฆโ€™๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ณ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ, ๐˜ช๐˜ง ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด ๐˜ฑ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ. ๐˜–๐˜ฉ, ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ณ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ง๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ.โ€

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 wouldโ€™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.

โ€œ๐˜๐˜ฆโ€™๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ, ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถโ€™๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜จ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜บ.โ€

While itโ€™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 Godโ€™s will cheerfully through prayer and relying on Him and Christ and His Atonement.

โ€œ๐˜๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ง๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ข๐˜บ.โ€

In the words of President Monson, โ€œOur 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 wereโ€”better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before.โ€

โ€œ๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜‘๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ด ๐˜ง๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ข. ๐˜œ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ฉ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ.โ€

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. ๐—œ๐˜ ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—น๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—œ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐˜† ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ด๐—ฒ๐˜ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ.

โ€œ๐˜Œ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜๐˜ฆ ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ด, โ€˜๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ.โ€™โ€

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 ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜†๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ through their sorrows when we turn to Him. Turn to Him and He will help you.

โ€œ๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜‘๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ด.โ€

Whatever happens in the next 8 days, I know that I will be where God needs me to be; whether thatโ€™s still a missionary or back home. I am incredibly grateful for the love, support, and care Iโ€™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.

UPDATE: 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. Iโ€™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 Christโ€™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 wasnโ€™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. Donโ€™t EVER take this precious time with people for granted anymore. Enjoy every moment.
 
โ€œBut that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions.โ€ – Alma 34:41
 

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