Come, my people, enter your chambers, And shut your doors behind you; Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, Until the indignation is past.
Stay Home and Stay Safe!
This is a saying we have all heard multiple times over the last couple of months as the world has faced the Covid-19 pandemic. What I found comfort in is that while this is the first time for me to go thru something like this it is not the first time for God and as always He has been with His people thru it.
Recently, someone posted, “I didn’t expect that when we change our clocks earlier this year that we were changing them from standard time to the Twilight Zone.” I wholeheartedly agree. As most of you know when the Covid crisis began our family was in the States for my dad’s funeral. At that time I wasn’t really aware of what was happening in the world. I was caught up in my own grief and in spending time cleaning out my dad’s house going through over 100 years of memories, That in and of itself was surreal. The memories flooding back that I didn’t even know I had forgotten and the new things I discovered and learned about my family.
When we had finished my dad’s house and said goodbye to my family we headed to California. Our purpose in going was to visit my home church and many of our supporters. Our first stop though, when we reached California, was Disneyland. After all the sadness and stress, we felt the kids (and us) needed to go to the happiest place on earth. Again, Disneyland is far from reality. We were in another world unaware what else was happening in the real world.
After Disney we went to stay with someone from my church, a wonderful woman named Denise. It was there that we first heard about how serious the virus was becoming. At church people were greeting each other verbally or with an elbow bump but hugs were far and few between as people were beginning to practice social distancing. We were meant to have 3 weeks at my church, visiting supporters and having opportunities to update people on the ministry in Uganda. That time was not meant to be. Things got serious very quickly and before we even really began to comprehend what was happening, we could no longer go to church, meet in large groups, or go out to eat and the stores were almost empty.
With everything closing down, after much prayer and confirmation from others, we made the decision to return to Uganda earlier then expected. One of the last things we were able to do was to see our “oldest daughter,” Amina and our new “grandson,” Xavier. Though our time was short I am thankful for the friends and church family we were able to see.
Returning to Uganda was another twilight zone experience. As soon as we exited the plane we had to go through a medical check. We passed the check but because we had come from the USA, our passports were taken and we were taken to a government authorized hotel for 14 days of institutional quarantine. We were blessed with our hotel and room though, it was pretty big and had a beautiful view. I believe they had mercy on us because of the children. We heard horror stories from others who were taken to different hotels.
During the quarantine we were not allowed to leave our room. Everyday a health team would come, accompanied by a soldier, ask us questions and take our temperatures. We prayed a lot, for ourselves, that we would not get sick and for the world that this virus would be overcome. If you registered a temperature they would take you from quarantine to an isolation facility in a hospital. I had nightmares of being separated from my family and of my children being taken from me. These bad dreams led us to even more times of prayer.
While at times it was hard having 5 people in one room for so long, we managed to keep ourselves busy. Everyday we did school with the kids. It was good to catch up and review some of the areas the kids struggled with as well as learn some new things. Besides school I tried to get the kids to burn energy by playing kids dance videos and Laylee’s ballet teacher sent video classes. We watched church online as well as Brian leading church for us with the kids being our worship team. We stayed in contact with the outside world via Messenger and What’s app. At the end we were all tested for the Covid virus and spent an extra 2 nights in quarantine as we waited for our results. We praise God that all our test results came back normal and we were given discharge papers to go home.
Though we are home now, the country is on lockdown. No personal vehicles are allowed at all. There is a 2 pm curfew for cargo and delivery vehicles and 7pm curfew for people on foot. Everything is closed except for food markets and hospitals. Brian has been in contact with church members over the phone and internet as often as he can. We have managed to get food to those members who normally live day by day and are really suffering during this lockdown. We are very thankful that up to this point there have been relatively few cases of the virus in Uganda. We pray it stops there.
Thank you for praying for our family and for the ministry in Uganda. We are praying for all of you as well.
Luke, Laylee, and Liana