North America

26 Days of Asking in Faith

Adventist couple shares the life experience that helped them grow spiritually.

Jessica Anderson and Tamara Michalenko Terry, Texas Conference
26 Days of Asking in Faith
Donnie Delim during the time he was fighting for his life at the hospital in Texas, United States. [Photo: Lea Delim]

Donato “Donnie” Delim started having pain in his right kidney. A nurse by profession, he tried some self-treatment, but it did not seem to help. After suffering for three days, he decided to go to the emergency room.

Thinking they were treating a kidney issue, medical personnel gave Delim some pain medication and a prescription and sent him home.

About twelve hours later, Donnie returned to the emergency room. This time they ordered a CT scan.

“Coming back from the scan, I remember sitting by my wife. I told her I loved her,” Donnie recalled. “The next thing I remember is the rehabilitation center.”

Donato “Donnie” and Lea Delim. [Photo: Lea Delim]

“It really scared me when Donnie told me, ‘Mommy, I love you!’” Lea Delim, Donnie’s wife, shared. “I prayed that the CT scan results would be OK.”

But they were not OK. The nurse informed Lea that her husband’s brain was bleeding. It was hard to comprehend, because she thought they were treating his kidney.

The doctors encouraged her to start calling family and friends, as they did not expect Donnie to live for very long.

“I was shocked at first,” Lea remembered. It did not help that the doctors working on his case disagreed on the course of treatment. All options seemed to include the possibility of coma or death.

When he was discharged from the hospital, Donnie Delim was sent to a rehabilitation center, where he spent a month having speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy, followed by a month of outpatient therapy. [Photo: Lea Delim]

“I prayed and prayed, asking God for an intervention,” Lea said. “Thinking of Matthew 7:7, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you,’ I prayed that God would give me the strength to accept whatever happened. While I was waiting and praying, God performed a miracle. Instead of surgery, one doctor came up with the solution of placing a tube in his brain to remove the bleeding. That night was so intense!”

The next few days were like a roller coaster as Donnie’s blood pressure rose and dropped.

“I was scared, in tears, as I knelt down in prayer, begging the Lord for a miracle and healing!” Lea recalled. “The doctor wanted a decision for surgery that very moment. It was my most stressful situation. I begged the Lord to give me wisdom so that whatever decision I made would be medically right.”

Their pastor, Michael Tuionetoa, came to visit and pray with them. Their church family at the Tyler Seventh-day Adventist Church in Tyler, Texas, gathered for intercessory prayer. Others shared the prayer request on Facebook.

Donnie and Lea Delim are Pathfinder leaders at their local church in Texas, United States. [Photo: Lea Delim]

“We prayed and prayed and meditated together,” Lea remembered. “People from our church gathered in the waiting room, singing and praying.”

Later that day, the doctor shared, “I don’t know what you people did, but I will take it.” They had been waiting to perform surgery when Donnie was stable but did not need to operate when his brain swelling reduced.

The next day his lung collapsed, and they had to perform a bronchoscopy. Lea considers that successful surgery another miracle.

Throughout the next few days, Donnie experienced heart failure, blood pressure fluctuations, and a raised oxygen level.

“I knew that with all the prayers, the Lord was with him during those times,” Lea stated. “Every time I prayed to the Lord, I asked Him for healing and miracles.”

Five days after Donnie entered the hospital, Lea knelt down in prayer. “I submitted my life and Donnie’s life to the Lord, telling God, ‘May Your will be done, oh Lord!’”

The next morning, Lea felt a peace within that she had not felt since Donnie entered the hospital. She was finally able to smile and laugh with visitors despite the situation.

Days later, doctors were still certain Donnie was not going to make it. The roller-coaster ride of emotions continued for 26 days.

Finally, Donnie was discharged to a rehabilitation center, where he spent a month having speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy, followed by a month of outpatient therapy.

“I praise and thank God, for He is the true, living, and powerful God!” Lea proclaimed.

Today, Donnie enjoys driving, cooking, and playing basketball. He teaches the Guide class for Pathfinders as well as a Sabbath School class.

He has been diagnosed with moyamoya (narrowing of the brain’s blood vessels) and is in the process of treatment.

The Delims said they are grateful for all the prayers and financial support, especially for their children attending Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas, and Tyler Adventist School in Tyler, Texas.

The original version of this story was published in the Texas Conference The Flame magazine.

Jessica Anderson and Tamara Michalenko Terry, Texas Conference