After President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation to participate in two worldwide fasts, people of other faiths joined together with members of our Church—both those who haven’t stepped foot in a church for years and those who attend every Sunday—to plead with heaven for relief from COVID-19. And while the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing, miracles have undoubtedly taken place.
The stories began to roll in even before the fast—witnesses of the power of fasting. For some, the fast brought healing of a physical nature and for others, it seemed to summon spiritual healing. With permission, here are just a few of our favorite stories that have been shared on a Worldwide Fast Facebook page. Some have provided additional context to their individual stories and some have been edited for clarity.
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For some, the fast brought hope for those who have been impacted directly by the virus that has taken the world by storm.
Mayra del Carmen and her husband are both doctors in different cities in their country of Ecuador. They were sealed just six months ago in the Guayaquil Ecuador Temple. While separated from her husband who is working in a hospital directly with COVID-19 patients, Mayra has fasted every five days—each day her husband has a 24-hour shift in the hospital. She says her husband has had many experiences where he has felt the help of the Spirit. Both she and her husband are converts to the Church but as she said in a Facebook post, “We have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things.”
A victim of COVID-19, Kate Birk shared the following, “My husband and I found out we have COVID-19 just yesterday morning, the day before the worldwide fast. My chest has felt really tight for about a week, among other symptoms. It's like a big belt was squeezing me. But this morning I woke up and felt relief! The belt was gone. I know we're not done with this yet, but I want to thank all of you. I could feel the power of your fasts today.”
Overwhelmed by the kind response, Birk later added an edit, “I'm tearing up with all these sweet comments. Thanks so much. We're still praying for you all, too.”
Kim G. Bohne Landeen wrote:
“6 months ago I was fighting for my life in the Emergency Room after hemorrhaging. Two weeks before I had given birth to a beautiful little girl. I remember being so scared that I would not see my daughters again. Feelings of anger swept over me as I listened to the doctors calling for yet another transfusion as they fought to slow the flow of blood. Nothing seemed to be working. No medication, no amount of pressure, no intervention. After doing all they could they made the decision to preform an emergency surgery. As they began to roll me out of the room I had them pause and asked my husband to call on the powers of heaven to intercede in my behalf. His hands trembled as he laid them upon my head. As he opened his mouth a blessing of healing poured forth. As if obeying his words I could feel the very cells of my body responding. I didn’t know what I was expecting but it definitely was not this. These moments of healing were meant for only the faithful, the elect, those that have strong faith. Not for me. Not for someone who struggled feeling close to deity, who was imperfect in her worship, and definitely not one filled with anger like I was. At the close of his blessing I was taken back to the surgical room. I was slid on to a cold sterile metal table. Blood gushing with every movement. My arms strapped in an outstretched position as they gave me the gas that would put me under. I awoke hours later in the recovery room. The doctor talking to a nurse quietly said 'I have never heard of someone losing this much blood and making it.' As the days passed and I began to understand the precarious situation I had endured it became very clear that the only thing standing in-between me and deaths door was a prayer of faith offered by my husband and the will of God.
I don’t know how this COVID-19 situation is going to turn out. But I can testify that the very cells of our body are subjects to a power higher that any statistic, scientist, politician, and even vaccine. I truly believe as we combine our faith great miracles can be wrought even for those who struggle feeling close to their deity, who are imperfect in their worship, who feel like more of a sinner than a saint.
As a nursing mother I will be adding my faith to yours a little differently, as a 24-hour fast is not feasible right now, but my prayers will ascend to heaven with yours. Thank you for allowing me to add my faith, voice, and sacrifice to yours as we petition for the intercession of heaven as we seek for world wide healing.
Pictured is the moment I was able to hold my daughter for the first time in recovery. A moment I will forever treasure.”
There were miracles that crossed seas and brought people home, both literally and figuratively.
After the Good Friday fast, participants began to share their experiences. Adam Reeder, a sculptor, shared a portrayal of Jesus Christ inspired by the poem, “Footprints in the Sand,” and explained that after being less active for a few years, he participated in the fast and every part of general conference. In a message to LDS Living, Reeder provided more insight into his experience. He said that he found himself thinking about what the disciples of Christ experienced between his death and resurrection.
"I was picturing the fear and pain of the followers of Christ. They just saw terrible things happen to the Savior. How would you sleep??! How would you feel any hope! See any light? They must have been in torment. I spoke to my twin brother about this (we are roommates). We talked about how they must have been sitting around early Sunday feeling bitter despair (I can relate to despair from recent personal tragedies). Then I remembered a picture I’d recently taken in the home of a dear family member of the commission I’d done for him a few years ago. The one of Footprints in the sand. Since I made that sculpture, I’ve experienced a personal hell, largely created by my own hand. Now, seeing that sculpture, feeling my pain, understanding their pain (somewhat), was able to put myself in their place as I imagined someone busting through the door shouting “he’s alive guys!! GET UP!! Come now!!! He’s alive!!” And then the joy as they realized he’d told them he’d be back. He really was alive. I’m weeping at the thought now. It’s something I’ve never experienced. And then as I looked at that picture of my sculpture, I could feel him carrying me. Like, through these last 3 years of darkness. …The experience of getting ready for conference, the fast, conference (especially the really sacred parts), my personal revelations, have rocked me to my core."
The fast seems to have created a bridge amongst people of different faith traditions and generations.
Trey Price, a Baptist, participated in the fast and joined the Worldwide Fast Facebook page at the invitation of his friend, Donna Vincent, who is a member of the Church. The two have been friends for 25 years and Price says Vincent, whose husband recently passed away, is “literally the best person and most honest example of a Christian.”
On the Facebook page, Price wrote:
“I can say I completed my very first fast. I am Baptist, but my dearest friend invited me to this group (she’s a member of the LDS church.) We have been friends for YEARS and I have always told her and everyone else that the LDS church portrays the greatest example of what a true Christian should be. This week with all of you just solidified my opinion. Everyone in this group was so open and accepting to everyone else. I would never criticize my own religion or anyone else’s, but I honestly believe in my heart of hearts that so many of us from other faiths could learn so much from all of you. Thank you for allowing me and so many others to participate. Just reading the posts was uplifting to many, myself included.
The true miracle this week? Roughly half a million people came together, realized we are more alike than we will ever be different, and prayed for the greater good.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for having me, and I hope this group will continue on although the fast is over. I hope everyone person in this group has a very happy Easter tomorrow.”
Richard Foster wrote of his experience fasting with his sons:
“My family and I are members of the LDS Church, but have been inactive for several years. However, I'd like to mention my two Sons, aged 13 and 18, with regards to this fast. On Tuesday, they participated in a family fast dedicated to my Niece who had tested positive for COVID-19 the previous day. They participated, somewhat reluctantly, with very little understanding of the purpose of fasting, because they were asked to. On Friday, they participated in the Worldwide Fast, not because they were asked to, but because they wanted to. Prayer had become almost alien to them, but over the course of the past week, I have heard them utter some of the most simple, yet beautiful, prayers I have ever heard. When I look at how this fast has brought people together from all walks of life, and restored, even an element of, faith within families who may have lost theirs, it fills me with tremendous hope for the future, not just for my family...But for the whole of humanity.”