The story below was submitted by June Schmidt, Congregational Care Director at New Covenant Bible Church, recounting the morning that her husband, Bob, suffered a heart attack.
November 21 began like any other Saturday in the Schmidt house. Bob was up early eating his oatmeal with blueberries, getting ready to exercise, then proceeding with his daily list of chores - all the while hoping that the Iowa and Iowa State football teams could both win their games.
But as he was rowing, something did not feel quite right; in fact, he was experiencing a tremendous amount of pain in his chest.
As he came upstairs, the first thought that came to his mind in these pandemic times was, “I am having difficulty breathing. I must have Covid-19.” As we began to make inquiring phone calls, Bob’s pain continued to escalate. It was apparent that immediate action needed to be taken.
We sped to the hospital, where information was quickly assimilated. Bob was wheeled into a room in the ER. Nurses methodically took Bob’s vitals and made determinations.
The doctor entered and said Bob would be immediately heading to the 4th floor of the hospital, as it was suspected that he was having a heart attack.
A heart attack? Healthy Bob? Are you kidding me?
While Bob was being comprehensively tested, I went into action: I made phone calls to our children, to his brothers, to other believers, and to members of New Covenant. With a few calls to the people of NCBC, the wheels of care were set into motion. Suddenly we had texts coming in with people reaching out to pray and offers of support and meals from our small group, Washed Adult Bible Fellowship, members of the Hospital Plus team, and neighbors.
As Bob was wheeled into the operating room, I prayed and made more phone calls, knowing that, while Bob is a very private person, he would want to be prayed for, just as he has prayed for others.
Soon the cardiologist emerged into the waiting room. He said, “I want you to know that your husband was very lucky. There was a blockage to an area of the heart that is deemed ‘the Widow Maker.’” Again, he stated, “Your husband was very lucky.”
While we are so appreciative of the cardiologist and his nurses, we know that “luck” had nothing to do with what saved Bob’s life.
God did – and the prayers of others.
I have had the privilege of working at New Covenant as the Director of Congregational Care for a little over six months. During this time, I have met or become reacquainted with people who have cared for others and who have been cared for themselves. And while I thought that I had a comprehensive understanding of what the Care Ministry entails, I fully realized that I did not have a clue until that day in November.
As I left the hospital on that Saturday night to go home, I had two “aha” moments. The first was, that even though I had heard - and subsequently memorized – Philippians 4:6-7, it was because of God’s perfect love that I was blessed with the peace that passes all understanding. I knew that people were praying for Bob – and that we would be eternally grateful for them!
The second “aha” I experienced was equally significant: My heart’s desire is that EVERYONE in our family at New Covenant Bible Church would be cared for in the same way that Bob was – medically and relationally.
The care a medical team gave my husband that day changed (and saved) his physical life; the care a congregational team gives (though obedience to Christ) may change someone’s spiritual life.
Thank you to those who have joined us in serving on the New Covenant Care Teams in 2020 – and to those who God will call to serve our New Covenant family in 2021.
God Bless you all! Merry Christmas!
For more information about the New Covenant Care Ministry, whether you need care or want to provide it for others in their time of need, please email June Schmidt.