As this entire world is navigating through what life in the midst of this coronavirus pandemic looks like many of you are doing life virtually. Most of us have heard of the term “distance learning” in relation to online education and this made me think of “distance living” since many of you are “living” in a sense online and at a distance from family, friends and co-workers. As I follow your adventures from afar and try to navigate life here (which has not changed much from our norm) I have been struck by how much all of you are learning about what everyday life is like for a missionary overseas and I wanted to share some of these similarities:
- You cannot hug or talk to your family and friends unless it is a virtual hug and chat via the internet.
- You miss out on birthday celebrations, weddings, graduations and much more because you are isolated physically from your family and friends.
- Your church service means sitting in front of a TV with a small group of your family / missionary team.
- Holidays are not what they traditionally look like and that is ok, we learn to be flexible and celebrate in different manners and even on different dates.
- Meetings at work or in ministry are held via email, zoom, skype, facebook, whats app or whatever means you can and many times the internet does not cooperate so the meetings are very disjointed.
- Grocery shopping is limited and infrequent. We go every 6 weeks and only get what came in on the shipping container that month if they don’t have it we have to wait another 2 months. However, we do have plenty of TP.
- You cannot sit in a room with your prayer warriors and pour out your heart while they pray with you, a quick text message or email works well though.
- You learn to love a good chat via text, video or whatever way and whenever you can get it.
- An email or text message just asking how you are doing or someone telling you they are praying for you can really make your day.
- You learn to let go of the stuff and the busy because a lot of that is taken away and you spend much more time with the Lord.
- You learn to embrace life where you are and love on those physically near to you.
As you can see this time of separation and distancing is definitely not all bad, it is just different. I am grateful that you are all embracing the differences alongside of me and getting this unique insight into missionary life. It is wonderful to see the world embracing this and to see how the Lord is working during this time. And, I have been so blessed to be able to worship alongside my WCC family on Sunday mornings virtually; it brings a smile to my face when I see the familiar names pop up of who is watching online. Now, if we could only do something about the 4+ hour time difference I could even join in with my small group and a prayer group.
I truly see this in many ways as a time of great blessing for all around the world and I pray that you would learn as I have to embrace the living that you have and to invest in where you are and who you are with. We appreciate your prayers for our “normal” everyday lives and ministry that you are getting this insight into and for these times during Covid-19. Please pray specifically that He would continue to protect our little country with very limited resources from the virus; so far only 4 cases and no community transmission.