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Pastor who faced death from coronavirus says he audibly heard voice of God for first time

by Marcus Jones

A Northern Irish pastor, who was treated in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after testing positive for coronavirus, has told Premier how God helped him through his ordeal.

Mark McClurg from Aards Elim Church, fell ill last week and was admitted to hospital after suffering breathing difficulties.

With his family not being able to see him, he says he encountered God in a way he never had before.

"In the middle of ICU, while they're putting the ventilator on and working with me for three to four hours, something powerful happened," he said. "I prayed, 'Lord, help me'. I'd never heard the audible voice of Jesus - but he spoke to me that night and said, 'son, you are more than a conqueror'. 

"I didn't realise that night that more than a conqueror meant there was more than one battle. That night was so hard. It was so hard to breathe. I was so weak. I had no energy left to breathe. I just knew, even though every battle is going to be hard, even though I was going to the brink of death, I was going to live, but it was going to be a battle."

Pastor Mark says his battle intensified after this experience but again he saw God draw close to him.

"The nurses were saying, 'Mark, breathe, breathe deeply'. They'd told Claire (his wife) that it was bad news and so all I could do from my sick bed was say 'Lord help me'. My right hand was down the side of my body. I felt the Lord come into that room, and he held my hand. I have never had experiences like this before but I was brought back from the depths of death. Jesus never left me nor forsake me."

While the Government is releasing daily updates of number of cases and deaths as a result of coronavirus, the vast majority of people do recover.

For Mark, he now believes God saved him for a reason.

"I thought about Joseph and I thought about his life and how Joseph was taken from a pit, and how he came from nothing to something. Joseph in Egypt was at a time of famine, but also a time of fear - people were fearful for their lives but he brought a message of hope. So I prayed that day, 'Lord, would you make me, a voice of hope, in the United Kingdom. I've never prayed a prayer like that before. But within the space of a couple of days, everybody knew about what happened to my life, simply because the Lord wants us Christians to spread hope, the good news and the gospel that Jesus Christ is the answer and Jesus Christ is the way.

Pastor Mark's story has now been heard all around the world. His social media videos shared from his hospital bed and have received millions of views.

He's now hoping to turn that media attention into prayer. He's begun daily online prayer meetings.

"I'm reading out Second Chronicles 7:14. Where it says, 'My people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and seek my face'. At the end of it, it says, I will hear from heaven and heal their land. If anyone wants to come and pray 7:14 come to the Aards Elim Facebook page."

Pastor Mark is now self-isolating away from his family but is recovering well. He hopes to be able to see his wife and children after he's completed the mandatory time away from them.

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