IMB missionary on brink of death from COVID healed through power of prayer

George Smith’s COVID-19 test came back positive. The diagnosis began a months-long battle of prayer and physical challenges for IMB missionary George Smith and his wife, Geraldine, in Uganda.

George contracted the virus in January 2021 while attending a training event in a small Ugandan village. A week after he returned from the training, he received a call from friends at the training letting him know that they had COVID. Since George had a small cough, he decided to get tested just to be safe.

IMB President Paul Chitwood and his wife, Michelle, visit George Smith and his wife, Geraldine, in the hospital. George Smith contracted COVID while on the mission field in Uganda.

IMB President Paul Chitwood and his wife, Michelle, visit George Smith and his wife, Geraldine, in the hospital. George Smith contracted COVID while on the mission field in Uganda.

Though positive for COVID, his symptoms were not severe. However, two weeks after the diagnosis George’s condition began to worsen.

“He began to get weak, and he couldn’t move or have any energy,” said Geraldine. “It got to the point that one night he got so sick, and his oxygen levels were so low we knew we had to go straight to the doctor’s the next morning.”

As soon as the doctor saw George, he sent him to the hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, via ambulance. For the next seven days George’s oxygen levels were stabilized, and he seemed to be on the mend. However, George had a very bad asthma attack after those seven days and doctors were forced to intubate him.

George spent the next four and a half months in the hospital in Nairobi. The entire time he was in hospital, George was not responsive. George was put on dialysis and life support. As George’s organs began to shut down and his kidneys failed, his neurology reports showed less and less activity, Geraldine had several conversations with the doctors about whether or not she would like to keep George on life support.

“I shared with the doctors that the God that I served allowed me to have the hope that He could still save George,” said Geraldine. “I wanted to keep George on the life support because I knew if God wanted to take George, he already would have. I saw the life support as a way to give George everything he needed to survive, but I knew it was ultimately up to God.”

Missionary colleagues, national believers, friends and family earnestly prayed during those long months. In early April, a group of new believers in Northern Africa organized a day of fasting and prayer for George’s healing and for George to wake up. Word of this day of prayer was passed along to other believers around the world and many joined in prayer and fasting. The very next day after this day of fasting and prayer, George woke up.

“When he woke up, he had no idea where he was or what happened to him,” said Geraldine. “But when I told him all that had happened and how many people had prayed for his healing he was so moved.”

George’s condition slowly improved through the months of April and May. He was taken off of dialysis and his infection rate continued to decline. At the end of May, George and Geraldine traveled on a medevac plane to the U.S. so George could receive therapy and continue healing at a hospital in New Orleans.

George Smith and Chitwood

Missionary George Smith shares a laugh with IMB President Paul Chitwood in Uganda. (IMB Photo by Chris Carter)

Since then, George and Geraldine have been sharing their story of God’s faithfulness and how the power of prayer saved George’s life.

“By science, George should not be alive,” said Geraldine. “His healing is a miracle. God healed him by answering the prayers of people around the world.”

Please pray that George and Geraldine find the best possible facility for George once he is released from the hospital. Pray for George as he regains mobility after spending five months in a hospital bed. Intercede for complete healing of George’s kidneys and body.

Because of your generosity to the Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Christmas OfferingÒ, George and Geraldine did not have to worry about medical bills or how they would return to the U.S. Give today to continue to support your missionaries on the field like George and Geraldine so that the gospel will continue to be spread to the nations.