After nearly fatal fall, pastor’s wife is taking advantage of every gospel opportunity

It was supposed to be a peaceful retreat, a time to begin seeking God’s plan for the next season of their lives.

After 50 years of full-time ministry—21 spent at First Baptist Church in Galena Park—Pastor Marcos Ramos and his wife, Irma, decided it was time to retire. So they planned a getaway to Holly Lake Ranch, located just north of Tyler, last December.

“Here’s the cabin,” Marcos said as he pulled the couple’s car into a parking space near Cabin 51.

As they were settling into their accommodations, Irma went back to the car to look for something. On her way back to the cabin, she climbed the first step and, in a confusing moment of panic, let out a deep cry before falling backward. 

That’s the last thing Irma remembers. 

Marcos, hearing his wife’s cry, rushed outside and found her lying on the ground. She was unconscious and bloody, having suffered a severe blow to the head on the concrete. 

Irma was rushed to the nearest hospital in Tyler and admitted into the intensive care unit. The doctor on duty was surprised she had not suffered a skull fracture considering how hard a blow she had taken to the head.

“Your wife’s brain is full of blood,” the doctor told Marcos.

Irma had suffered a potentially life-threatening brain bleed that would need to be drained as soon as possible. Failure to relieve the pressure on her brain could have left her with permanent brain damage or even caused death.

Three days after her accident, on Dec. 12, Irma regained consciousness. She could move and smile, but she was unable to speak or communicate. She did not know where she was or recognize any of the people around her—including family. Doctors feared she could suffer long-term memory loss, and they prepared the family for the possibility she might never recognize them again.

Irma Ramos (seen with her husband, Marcos, at top right) had scores of people praying for her—including members of her family, pictured in the three photographs to the right. God answered the family's prayers and Irma has experienced a recovery that she gladly shares with others. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

‘God is going to heal her’

But five days after the accident—five days bathed in desperate, pleading prayer from family and friends who loved Irma—something began to change. She began to speak short words. She recognized the people gathered around her, including her grandchildren, whose names she could recall and who had joined the chorus of prayer surrounding her. 

As encouraging as this was, doctors were not hopeful Irma would be able to fully recover. Family members were told she would likely see some improvement in her condition, but they were unsure if she would suffer from some form of long-term paralysis or memory loss.

“I have faith that my mom is going to be restored and she’s going to be fine,” her son, Sammy, said in response to the doctor’s cautious prognosis. “She’s going to walk and she’s going to be able to talk because God is going to heal her.”

“You have a lot of faith,” the doctor said to Sammy. “We hope so.”

Miraculously, just two days later, Irma improved enough to be transferred from intensive care to intermediate care. She began responding well to therapy and eating on her own, no longer requiring a feeding tube. 

All told, Irma spent 13 days in the hospital in Tyler. Those were days of waiting and uncertainty, but God showed the family they were not alone. Family members recall how they could feel His presence and see His divine provision through the waves of prayer and help being sent their way.

“She’s going to walk and she’s going to be able to talk because God is going to heal her.”

While she was hospitalized, financial assistance and in-kind help poured in from places including the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and the Lone Star Pastor Care Network. Friends and acquaintances brought her supplies, brothers and sisters from the churches Marcos pastored made the long trip from Houston to visit, and many called to let the family know they were continuing to pray. 

Irma improved so much that, just before Christmas, God allowed her and Marcos to return to Houston to celebrate the holiday in their city. She was admitted to a different hospital where she began a 14-day rehabilitation process. She was still struggling with cognitive abilities at this point, but upon arriving in Houston, another miracle occurred. 

It was Dec. 23, their first day at the rehab hospital. As Marcos sat in the room with his wife, he began to hear her voice speaking coherently and clearly as they began to have their first conversation in almost a month.

“Where are we?” Irma asked.

“In the hospital,” Marcos replied.

“Are you sick?” Irma responded, sounding puzzled.

“You are the sick one,” Marcos said.

He then began to explain everything that had happened. Her trip back to the car to look for something. Her scream. The mad dash to the hospital. The grueling hours of waiting, the doctors and nurses coming in and out of the room, the prayer … all of it.

Irma remembered none of it.

She remained at the rehab hospital until Jan. 5, when doctors finally cleared her to return home to continue her therapy. Having now started to recover most of her mental faculties, Irma continually shared the testimony of what God had done in her life with all the medical personnel tending to her. They were amazed to see how much she had progressed.

“I want to teach people what I have learned after 50 years of ministry about God’s sovereignty, His mercy, and testify to His greatness.”

A new assignment

“Now I take every opportunity to share my testimony,” Irma said. “I want to teach people what I have learned after 50 years of ministry about God’s sovereignty, His mercy, and testify to His greatness.”

One such instance happened in February at the Apoderados event held in conjunction with the SBTC’s annual Empower Conference. During the event, Irma met a woman who was a maintenance worker at the church hosting Apoderados. 

They began to talk. Irma explained what was happening at the conference. The woman shared that, although her son—a follower of Christ—had invited her to church often, she personally had not yet made the decision to follow Jesus. Seizing on the opportunity, Irma shared the gospel with the woman and invited her to give her life to Jesus right then and there. But the woman said she was not ready.

The next day, Irma saw the woman again. “Are you ready?” Irma asked. This time, the woman said she was and prayed to receive Christ. Irma then connected her with a pastor for follow-up. 

Six months after they retreated to the woods of East Texas to seek guidance for the next steps of their lives, God has granted Irma and Marcos an answer. They are starting a Hispanic ministry at Clay Road Baptist Church in Houston, offering English as a second language classes, visiting area homes, and providing community outreach to those in need. Clay Road recently held a community outreach on Easter Sunday where Marcos preached in English and Spanish. Irma is actively ministering to pastors’ wives through the Lone Star Pastor Care Network that ministered to her family during her recovery. 

“God’s mercy and love are always with us,” Marcos said, “so whenever you go through a trial, whenever you go through suffering, keep trusting in the Lord and keep your eyes on Jesus because He works all things for good.”

Correspondent
Arlene Sanabria
Southern Baptist Texan
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