A FAMILY under siege from Covid-19 would hang onto anything for survival, let alone open its heart to a stranger, who prayed every day for 41 days for the healing of five Covid-19 positive family members.
This is the situation where a Bulawayo family that became a focus of attention after five of its members were infected with Covid-19, found itself in after a Gweru-based woman Mrs Rachel Chikoma of Mkoba 15 went out of her way, committing precious time to pray and fast for a family 164km away for a record 41 days in a row until all, except one, were healed.
Although the family tried home remedies such as steaming, to ease the slight symptoms of the coronavirus, they acknowledge that the prayers kept them going and their spiritual side alive.
Sunday News spoke to Mrs Chikoma (51) who narrated how she started assisting the family she knew nothing about, besides their unfortunate circumstances.
“I heard of the Bulawayo family from one of my children, she was crying and I asked her what was wrong and she said a classmate of hers had her whole family tested positive for Covid-19 in Bulawayo and I just said it was going to be well with them.
“I started praying for the family from the time they tested positive and to this day I still fast for them. I had a vision in 2017 where an illness would strike and God would heal the people eventually. In my dream I saw women who if they threw a cloth on your chest and you caught it, your lungs would rot. These women then threw the cloth on my throat and surely when I woke up, I had sores in my throat and that took six months to heal. I believe that was a sign from above,” she said.
With many people failing to load their phones with airtime due to the high cost of airtime, Mrs Chikoma was never deterred from achieving her goal of delivering a prayer every day with the family.
“I prayed with the family day and night every single day for a total of 41 days — the day they received their results. I would call them on their mobile phone and up to date, I don’t know how I got all that money to buy airtime to call because it was a lot of money but God does provide.
Several times I would call them and they would be down and weary but I strengthened them and told them that God was able to do miracles and that they should not lose hope,” she added.
Mrs Chikoma said she has not stopped praying with them because case #16 is still not cleared of the virus and is self-isolating at home.
“I attend Woman of Prayer Ministries, which is a church that I founded back in 2005 after leaving my initial place of worship. There are people that come for prayers at my house.”
Mrs Chikoma who is a twin, unfortunately, was not blessed with the fruit of the womb. She has no children of her own but is happily married to what she says is an understanding man who has embraced her gift of prayer and supports her work. She lives with her sibling’s children.
Just like the biblical story of the woman who had the issue of blood, Mrs Chikoma said when she became of age, her problems started.
“I grew up with a problem of excessive bleeding. When I started menstruating, I never stopped, it lasted for five years and at times I would bleed so much, I would then collapse because of the shortage of blood in my system. I was eventually healed from bleeding and during that period of suffering God was talking to me and imparting to me the gift of healing. I also had one of my eyes removed and after that I began having constant nose bleeds which many assumed was caused by the eye surgery,” he said.
Mrs Chikoma said in due time, case #16 would be cleared of the virus too.
“Prayer is a constant thing that they must always take part in and also to have faith, at our house we stay with strangers whom we know nothing about but they are here for prayers because they have faith, they will be healed,” she said.
Mrs Chikoma said she gave her life to Christ in 1985 when she was still a young woman and has not looked back. One of the Bulawayo
Covid-19 family members said they were grateful to Mrs Chikoma.
“To be honest I was feeling blessed, it made me feel special and it gave me a positive mind towards my predicament.
“Every day she prayed for us, if one of us was not present she would pray with that particular individual when they are done with whatever they will be doing. Up-to-date she prays for my mother’s healing, with mum in her isolation room and with us in our own.
“I don’t know her in person, I learn with one of her children, that’s how she got to know about us,” said case #21.
BREAKING|Coronavirus; South Africa's first positive case of Covid-19 confirmed