Don’t Give Up. Rise Up.
(Please listen to Ayelen’s story by clicking the white play button at the top of this post. You can read the transcript of the story below.)
My name is Ayelen. I am from Argentina. When I was four years old, somebody took me to a church for kids. I remember my dad went to pick me up and he said, “Ayelen, are you okay? Are you alright?” Because Christianity in churches was kind of crazy for him, and for my family. And I remember I said, “Dad, I can’t believe I spent so many years without knowing Jesus.” When I was 11 I got baptized in water, and I received that baptism of the Holy Spirit. When I was 16, I began to preach the gospel to Argentina in different cities. At that time, my dad was completely changed. He stopped drinking, he stopped using drugs, and my family became Christian. When I was 17, he became a pastor. So I was already serving in the youth, as a youth pastor at my parents’ church, when I was around 17-18. I began to travel around my nation to preach the gospel. By the age of 22, the Lord called me to be a full time pastor. So at that time, I was working full time for a multinational company, which is CNN. I was a full time pastor, I was a full time employee, and also I was finishing my Master’s in Project Management. So I was really busy. But the Lord kept calling me to the nations.
And then I began to receive a calling to go to Africa. I said, “God, take me where nobody wants to go. I want to go.” I made that prayer to the Lord. A few years later, I was going to Nigeria. We were there for almost a month, preaching the gospel to unreached communities in Nigeria, working with women who had suffered abuse by Boko Haram, having pastors conferences, and youth conferences, and doing crusades and preaching the gospel. [We were] doing mission work and I was there preaching, I was hugging everyone. And one of the days, the last days of the crusades, I got sick. The last day when I was about to head back home to Argentina to go back to my work duties, and in my full time pastor position, I got sick. I couldn’t move a finger. I couldn’t walk. I felt physically weak. I was having headaches, stomach aches, vomiting all the time, diarrhea. I was just feeling like I was gonna die.
By that time I had to take the plane to go back to Argentina; actually, because Ebola was breaking out in that country. In all the countries in Africa, they would check for fever. So if you have a fever, you’d be stuck in a hospital, maybe left to die and completely isolated. But at that point, when they checked my fever, the fever completely disappeared. And everything was negative. That was a miracle itself. But when I came to the plane, the fever came back. And then I was, I was covered by a blanket all the way home. As I got to Argentina, I went to the hospital and they ran some exams. And they said, “You came from Africa,.” They ran some exams and they said, “You have Ebola.” So the protocol, the Argentina emergency protocol was activated.
They begin to contact all the people that I was in contact with since I left Africa. The people in the plane, my family, whoever went to pick me up from the airport, they begin to contact them. They said, “If you have any symptoms please report immediately to the closest hospital.” So they put me in a capsule and they took me to this other hospital that is one of the best that specializes in, in serious illness. They shut down the whole floor in the hospital. And then suddenly they were doing exams every five hours. Can you imagine taking blood out of me every five hours, day and night? But the day number three, there were no more nurses willing to take blood out of me; out of the risk of getting contagious. No more willing. It was literally even people from employees from facilities because the protocol was activated. They couldn’t stay in the room more than five minutes. I felt neglected.
Now I remember that they were telling me that the President knew about my case. The President from Argentina knew that, the Health Minister knew about my case, and the Pope in Rome, which is Argentinian, knew about my case, and sent some prayers for the missionary from Argentina. He said that if I ever get better, he was going to meet me in Italy. By the day number three, no more, no more nurses were willing to take blood out of me. So the chief doctor of the whole hospital, had to come to the hospital when I was in my room, and he began to take blood out of me. But you know, we know the doctors don’t do that. That’s a nurse’s [job] not doctors. So he didn’t know how to do it. Suddenly, even though he was wearing all those gloves and all those uniforms, he left the needles there in my arm, because he was nervous. Then suddenly, he left the room yelling, shouting, saying, “I have two kids. The girl that has Ebola contaminated me, I’m going to die. I quit.” So he quit his job as a chief doctor from the hospital. But at that point when he did that, nobody was taking care of me. Nobody was doing the rounds.
I was left to die.
I got to that point, “God, I surrender. I don’t understand. So many questions, no answers. I don’t understand this. But one thing I know for sure, they can do whatever they want to do with me. But please, God, don’t take away Your presence for me.” He took me to that place of complete surrender, and completely giving it up to God and surrender. And I remember, in the hospital, I heard a voice, an audible voice from God. That was the first time in my life that I heard an audible voice that says, “Don’t give up. Rise up.” And the fourth day, I start feeling better. New exams came back, by 7pm. Everything came back negative. Two doctors did not understand what happened. I came in with a report that I had Ebola. The new report says I don’t have Ebola. Everything went negative. Everything completely disappeared. All the symptoms went; I was able to talk again, I was able to speak again, fever disappeared, stomach ache, all the symptoms went away. Suddenly, they were gone. They do not understand and they were like, There is no reason for us to retain you at the hospital. So they gave, they let me go.
To my surprise, all the televisions and radio, everyone were outside the hospital, waiting to report my death. Then suddenly I was here, coming out from the hospital. I became a celebrity in my nation, in Argentina, because I was the first person to bring Ebola and then I was not dead. I was alive. They were asking me, “Why did you go to Africa? What were you thinking, going to Africa with this outpouring of Ebola?” And I said to the secular media in my nation, I said, “I went to Africa to talk about Jesus, the One who heals, the One who saves. And if you’re listening to me today, I am a living testimony of the power of God. So if you need healing, Jesus is the answer.” I began to use what the enemy thought he was using to destroy me. God actually had a plan to promote His name, and the Ministry of Jesus in my nation.
So day after day after day, during three consecutive years after that happened, I kept on going to interviews and testifying about the power of God. Suddenly the Lord began to open doors in ministry that could have never thought I would go. Every time I preach the gospel, I am believing the power is being released. Not through me, but through the One who lives in me. So every time I’m praying for the sick, or I’m releasing words of encouragement, or preaching the gospel, I am believing that literally the same power that resurrected Christ from the dead on the third day comes through me and releases that resurrection power. So, people are afraid to pray for the sick, and I tell them don’t be afraid. It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus. Your part here is very little. It’s just to be there and obey God. For God does the rest. There is hope, and we are prisoners of hope. The outcome belongs to the Lord.
I came in with a report that I had Ebola. The new report says I don’t have Ebola. Everything went negative. Everything completely disappeared.
All my life I would pray for the sick, but not really have enough faith. I was just doing it just to do it. But I wouldn’t ask people to test it, their bodies. I wouldn’t. I would just do it. But I had little faith, to be honest. When I went to Nigeria the first time, in the trip after that I got sick. That first trip, I remember that I preached the first day and I came with a beautiful message. Powerful, but nobody received it. And I had a translator that was translating every word, and I felt, I thought we flowed together. So I asked the pastors, “Do you think I said something wrong? Because people didn’t receive it. Or do you think something was off in the message or in Word? Maybe because I’m a lady? You know, in some parts of the world you have to be represented by men, by tutor, by husband. Maybe because I’m a lady they didn’t receive my message?” And the pastor looked at me and said, “No, that’s not the reason why. The reason why it is because you preach; yes, it was powerful. But there were so many sick people in the meeting. And you did not pray for the sick. So they didn’t believe in your message. Because they believe the signs and wonders follow the believer. They were expecting Jesus to come and heal them.”
So I was preaching something, but they didn’t see it in action and the power being released. So I thought to myself, I’m in trouble. I have to do it. I had to have the faith to do it. So the next day, the first thing I did was preach the gospel. But then the first thing I did after preaching, was calling everyone who was sick. I said, “God, You better show up. We’re a team Holy Spirit.” So they brought me all the sick people. And I began to obey the Word of God, that says that “we’ve been anointed to preach and to heal people. You lay hands and they shall recover. Heal the sick.” I began to do that by faith.
My faith wasn’t that big to be honest. But I had enough faith to do it. Then suddenly, someone says, “I’m healed.” I kept praying. Inside, I was still kind of like an unbeliever and I was like, if that’s a joke, or if that’s not real, they’re gonna kick me out. Yesterday, they didn’t receive a message. And now if somebody says that he’s healed and they’re not…I’m in big trouble. I didn’t even want to look back. I just kept praying for people. Believing, Lord I hope it’s not–I hope it’s real. And so they say, “I’m healed.” And then people begin to yell, “I’m healed. I’m healed. I’m healed.” From this 60-70% of the congregation were sick and from that amount of people, around 80%, almost everyone, got healed from different diseases…headache, malaria, just different problems. I was like, “Wow, I need to start believing in this.”
You know, in Africa people don’t have easy access to hospitals. So they put everything out there and they say, “I believe it.” And if they are preaching about Jesus that was here more than 2,000 years ago, and would go anywhere and people were healed–if that Jesus is alive, He is going to heal me. So I just obeyed the Lord and that changed my, my conception of, of healing. It is God’s desire to heal. And I’ve seen crazy stuff. But then on that day, I got sick and so I was like, what’s going on? But the Lord had a plan. But after all these experiences that happened in 2014, I began to go to different places. Everywhere I go, regardless of the message that I’m preaching, I am preaching the gospel, and I’m praying for the sick. Because my God is alive, and His desire is to heal people. He wants to use us to heal His people.
Jesus is looking to be expressed through human expression. So everywhere we go, we are representing Christ. We are ambassadors of Christ. Our hands are the hands of Christ. And it took me a time to understand that the outcome belongs to Him. If He does it, if He doesn’t, it’s for His glory. My responsibility is to believe in Him and have faith in Him. So everything, the miracles, the healings, it is just a holy excuse to draw us closer to Jesus. And for us to be saved, and born again, and believe in Jesus and have a relationship with Jesus.