PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One of the first people to test positive for the coronavirus in Cowlitz County has shared his story of how he battled the virus. He’s a pastor who thought the illness was going to kill him–it even made him question his faith.

For the first time since leaving the hospital, Longview Pastor Perry Hanchey and his wife, Mary, delivered a sermon on Sunday. Instead of delivering it to pews filled with people, the pastor shared his sermon on Facebook.

“God’s been good, he’s really been good,” said Hanchey. “I went through quite a deal with that COVID-19 virus, lost a little bit of weight–that was good I guess. Lost 23 pounds in a couple weeks. I couldn’t eat. It was quite an experience.”

Hanchey told his congregation at Longview Pentecostal Church about the fever, chills and aches that racked his body, and the pneumonia in both lungs that sent him to St. John Medical Center.

“My wife said, ‘you wouldn’t even open your eyes.’ I just wanted to curl up. It was quite an experience,” said Hanchey. “She said she thought she lost me there a time or two.”

He also confessed that in the throes of the sickness, he started to lose faith.

“By Wednesday, came in the hospital, I started to doubt a little bit. That’s why, early in the morning, I had a serious talk with the Lord, I really did,” Hanchey told KOIN 6 News. “I knew I was ready to go, I didn’t feel like I wanted to go yet.”

“I felt that door opening to eternity and I kind of held it back closed and I said, ‘Lord, we need to have a little talk,'” recounted Hanchey.

Pastor Hanchey prayed for divine help, and the doctors too. This picture was taken the day he left the hospital–17 days ago–now with the strength to serve again.

Longview Pastor Perry Hanchey on the day he left the hospital after battling the coronavirus. (Courtesty Perry. Hanchey)

“We are looking forward to greater things when this all settles down, and we’re looking forward to what God’s going to do with this all,” said Hanchey.