TROY, Ill. — As the state of Illinois experiences a sharp increase in coronavirus cases, one Metro East pastor is telling his story of faith and survival as he fights against the deadly virus.
"Hey YouTube friends and Facebook friends, my name is Tim Lewis and I am a pastor and I have COVID-19," said Lewis who is a pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Troy.
On Friday, Lewis became the second confirmed coronavirus case in Madison County.
"Aww man, so sick, busting headache, non-stop cough, stuff in my lungs rattling around, trying to get it out," he described.
He believes he got it after traveling internationally to do mission work in Ukraine.
"I've never seen anything like this in my life. I've had all kinds of flu in my life, but I never had anything like this in my life," he said.
Lewis said right after his trip, he self-quarantined, went through a drive-thru testing center and was diagnosed about six days later.
"Then, it becomes intensely personal because all of a sudden I have it and I'm the only person I know that has it," he said.
Social distancing is separating him from the pulpit. Now, Lewis is using his diagnosis to ease coronavirus concerns.
"Hey, you can get through this. God's still with us, and we got hope and faith in him, and I'm just one pastor. I'm one guy but I think I can be a voice of help for everybody else."
Because through his eyes, one of the worst things about the virus is not one of its symptoms.
"I think the thing that stinks most about this, it's not being physically sick, it's being isolated and being alone," Lewis said. "I think whenever this passes, we're going to value community and relationships even more."
The pastor said he was tested at one of Mercy's drive-thru test collection centers.
He's urging everyone to take the virus and social distancing seriously.
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