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'Thankful and grateful:' High Point pastor who spent 87 days in hospital with COVID-19, survives heart surgery while enduring side effects

The Bakers said they pray for families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 and count their blessings not just for Thanksgiving Day but for every day.

HIGH POINT, N.C. — The family of a High Point pastor has something more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Pastor Rory Baker, who is still powering through after being ill with coronavirus, also had to undergo open-heart surgery.

"That heart surgery was something to me but it was all because of the COVID virus," Baker said. 

Before he came down with COVID-19 in April, Baker led the congregation at Fruit of the Spirit Ministries in Greensboro. He spent 87 days at Wake Forest Baptist Health's High Point Medical Center.

Baker, a father of seven, said the heart surgery three weeks ago was just one of the many COVID-19 side effects he has had since leaving the hospital in June.

RELATED: 'To God be the Glory' | Triad Pastor leaves hospital after winning a life-threatening battle against COVID-19

"I became acute anemic, I had a gangrene on my toes so subsequently I had to have two of the tips of my toes amputated and there are so many different things that are happening and you never know until they start happening," Baker said.

Now 55, after celebrating a birthday in September, Baker said his voice and strength are slowly returning.

We first told you about his wife Melissa this summer after she had rushed him to the hospital when he had taken ill.

She said she prayed by the hospital entrance twice a day and was met by a staff member who joined her in faith.

RELATED: She prayed by her husband's hospital window every day as he battled COVID-19. Then, someone unexpected prayed beside her.

Mrs. Baker said she is still stunned by what her husband and family have experienced with this ordeal.

"I know there are a lot of families that are not able to have this testimony, but truly I am grateful for it, and everyone who has prayed for my family, for my husband's continued healing in his body, I'm just so grateful for that, and thankful," Melissa Baker said.

The Bakers said they pray for families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 and count their blessings not just for Thanksgiving Day but for every day.

"We have learned how to enjoy each moment as a unit, as a family and I tell people all the time, love people like it's the last day that you're going to see them and you won't have any regrets," Pastor Baker said.

Baker said he still has not been able to return to the pulpit and that process will likely take several months as he is still undergoing therapy to fully function and return to normal.