Missionary in Haiti survives near-death experience with malaria
Phoebe Keeran is thankful to be alive — and thankful for the believers who lifted her up in prayer — after a dangerous bout of malaria.
Earlier this year we featured Keeran, a member of the Shelbourne Street Church of Christ in Victoria, British Columbia, in a blog post and story about her mission work in Haiti. A reporter in Canada described her as a “modern-day Mother Teresa” for her service in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and her work with Homelesspartners, a church-supported ministry founded by her parents, Daniel and Jennie Keeran.
In April, Keeran went on a mission trip to the southern African nation of Mozambique. Not long after, she was back in Haiti continuing her relief work. Unbeknownst to her, she had contracted a severe form of malaria in Africa caused by plasmodium falciparum. Of the four types of malaria, falciparum is the most serious and can be fatal within a few hours of the first symptoms, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Friends took Keeran to a Haitian hospital for treatment. The missionary recalls the grueling experience in a blog post:
My temperature would oscillate between 100 degrees F and 103 degrees F for the next several hours before I would insist that someone take me to the hospital again. I happened to glance in the mirror after peeling myself off the tile to get into the vehicle. My tongue was black. …
All I remember after this was being the only white girl, lying in the back corner of a Haitian E.R. room, with one fan, surrounded by at least 10 other Haitian women who looked to be ready for a rescue from the jaws of death themselves.
Keeran was evacuated to Miami, where she received treatment at Aventura Hospital. Doctors discovered she was “well on her way to organ failure,” her mother said.
“Thanks to the brilliant medical team at Aventura Hospital, especially Dr. Jeffrey Levy, and, most of all, the prayers of so many righteous people, Phoebe’s life was spared,” Jennie Keeran said.
Phoebe Keeran is back in Canada, recuperating. Here’s a bit more from a message Jennie Keeran sent to supporters and friends:
We also give thanks for the Churches of Christ in the Miami area who collectively held Phoebe up in their area-wide prayer meetings and were so incredibly generous with financial support as well. It was SUCH a confirmation of the power and truth of God’s Word when we saw and felt the abundant love and support from others whose only connection is through our mutual love for Jesus and his church. We especially thank God for brother Al Pratt in Hallendale, Fla.
We will never be able to thank everyone enough for the prayers that were sent up for our Phoebe and the messages that were forwarded to others. God heard and had mercy.
She looks forward to recovering fully, so that she can return to Haiti, where she left her heart, and do God’s work.
On her blog, Phoebe Keeran put it this way:
Thank you to those for pleading with the Father on my behalf. I totally receive it with a thankful heart and ask that God will pour out another revelation of His great love for your faithfulness in prayer for me. It gives me such encouragement to keep pressing forward — to fight the good fight, to run the race, to keep the faith.
In April we blogged about Shane Scott, a church member and coach at Dallas Christian School in Mesquite, Texas, who was hospitalized with a severe case of malaria he contracted during a mission trip to Ghana. Scott recovered and returned to work.