Miracle turnaround for Norfolk mission girl Ruth
By Sandie Shirley
Christian couple, Sylvia
and David Barker
(pictured below) nursed their daughter through the tears, heartache and isolation of ME to see a miracle turnaround a decade later as she became an overseas mission worker.
Ruth (right) was a schoolgirl of 13 when she contracted glandular fever, but within a few short weeks she was diagnosed with ME. It disrupted her education and her social life.
“Sometimes Ruth could only do a few hours of school and I had to be on call to take her home,” says Sylvia, who carried her and sustained her throughout the illness.
“She managed four GCSEs and with support from the headmaster and staff at Wymondham High School, she took three A levels and later gained a degree in Travel and Tourism Management,” she says.
During those dark days, Ruth fought for faith and health through the disease that attacks the immune system and brings terrible fatigue. Now she is healed and restored.
January 2010 marked the first year anniversary of her work for Scripture Union, Soul Survivor and her Heartland Church in Durban, South Africa. Armed with the winning power of faith and determination she continues her outreach among the street children in the poor townships and is PA to her church pastor.
For the former teenager, who had almost given up on life and questioned her future, it is a miracle turnaround, explains father David. Furthermore, it comes in the wake of financial challenge and the trauma of a break-in when armed men took her money, credit cards and belongings before Christmas.
It could have caused a health set-back, since stress is often a trigger to the ME, explained David, but his daughter continues undaunted.
In a letter to her parents’ Wymondham Hope Community Church, in response to their financial support after the robbery, she writes:
“God was with us that night and protected us from harm. Without him to protect us and without our faith to pray during the whole thing, I don’t think it would have been such a miraculous and happy story. I truly love this place despite its faults and dramas. Until you visit you cannot imagine how special the people are and how much work needs to be done for them to find God in the midst of their heartache and troubles.
“I still feel completely safe living here and I don’t feel fearful at all. Obviously it has been a reality check but it has also been an amazing time of trusting God in a very bad situation and seeing many positive things come from it.”