September and October started out in the ministry like most normal fall months start. These months are busy for me. This year is different since my overseas meetings were canceled due to COVID, but God provided meetings here in the States. During this time, I was able to preach in Kahoka, Missouri; Washington, Iowa; Burlington, Iowa (two churches); Seymour, Iowa; Granite City, Illinois; and Columbia, Missouri. We enjoyed getting reacquainted with some pastors we had not seen in many years and some church people I had preached for years ago while they were without a pastor, along with getting to meet new people. God blessed the meetings, and the people of God, as always, cared for our every need. I was also able to livestream up to Toronto, Canada, for a one-hour interview.
While traveling, we try to hand out many tracts. As we were walking in the hallway of one of the hotels where we were staying, I handed a tract to the maid and told her she was doing a good job. Having money inside the tract I am sure helped her know I was sincere. We noticed she immediately started to read the tract as she headed to her next room assignment. I handed another one to the front-desk clerk as we were leaving. This particular tract talked about being stressed or worried. He immediately said that he was certainly stressed—what an appropriate tract for this man. I also get a chance to go soul winning with one of our bus captains periodically. On one such occasion, I was able to lead a Liberian lady to Christ while Rick attempted to get a new bus rider. The Gospel still works!
October ended with a great physical challenge for me. Returning from preaching in two different churches, I suddenly got very sick. I was checked for COVID within a few days and got a negative test result. However, the antibiotic I took as a precaution did not help. In fact, by the weekend, my fever was up to 103°, and I was coughing quite badly and filled with aches. On Monday I saw the doctor again and then later saw a consulting doctor, who ordered a CAT scan. This showed I had pneumonia, so I started treatment for COVID using a Z-Pak and an antimalarial medicine. Once again by the weekend, my fever got worse, rising to 104° and only stopped there because of the fever-reducing medicine. Sunday saw me in the emergency room, where I was given another CAT scan of the chest area. That is when they found out I had COVID pneumonia, which is a unique type of pneumonia. They admitted me Sunday, and I stayed there for treatment through Friday.
Many of you have heard of my sickness and have been praying for me. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Knowing you have been praying has been such a help to me. Others of you have been so kind in calling me and sending me text messages, phone messages, Facebook Messenger messages, WhatsApp messages, videos, and cards. Every one of these brought joy to me knowing my friends, my family, and my Christian family here in the U.S. and in many countries were behind me in prayer. Thank you for showering me with your love and concern. Keep on praying. Each day I can tell I am getting stronger and slowly healing. This will be a long process, I am told, to get my stamina back enough to preach.
Missionary Evangelist James Belisle