By Erin Hassanzadeh

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A St. Paul family is asking for prayers, as a father of three is stuck abroad with a serious case of COVID-19.

Ever since Tammy Krause Cruz met her husband César Cruz in Guatemala 24 years ago, music, family and faith have been the cornerstones of his life.

“We met there when I was a lay missionary, and we actually got married there,” Tammy said.

Last month, César flew to Guatemala to see family for the first time in years. It was a calculated risk because he wasn’t vaccinated yet.

“We did talk about it,” Tammy said. “I said, ‘Do you really want to do this?’”

Two days before his flight back to the Minnesota, he tested positive for COVID-19. Four days after that, he was in the hospital.

“At first he said it was fine, he thought he had a really light case,” she said. “But it just went downhill very quickly.”

César Cruz (credit: Tammy Krause Cruz)

The father of three is now unconscious and intubated. Plans to bring him home by air ambulance are on hold as he battles a bacterial infection. Tammy’s last conversations with him were fuzzy.

“I just couldn’t understand him. Just coughing so much, very hard for him to breathe and made it hard for him to talk,” she said.

All of it makes the church where César works as a youth director so important.

“Faith is a big component of his life,” Tammy said.

The families he’s supported through the pandemic — many in need themselves — are donating to his care. Ginger Graham is one of César’s co-workers.

“His presence, his face, his music is so known, and I think that’s why right now the community is just pouring out their hearts in prayer,” Graham said.

That’s what Tammy is asking for, too. Prayers to bring her husband home.

“It was just supposed to be a two-and-a-half-week trip, now he’s been gone a month, more than a month,” Krause Cruz said. “Miss him terribly.”

The community is raising money for Cruz’s care. Click here to visit his GoFundMe page, and click here to visit his CaringBridge site.

Erin Hassanzadeh