This time of worldwide pandemic is full of hard decisions for all of us. I hadn’t realised just how big the decisions would be for our workers in East Asia. As this family shares, the decisions are big, but we can trust God to guide us through it all:
‘When we returned to our East Asian home following our new year break, we knew that there was a mysterious disease in China, but we had no idea quite what it would mean for us and the world. As we sat in our hotel, deciding if it was right to return we weighed up the risks and costs and prayed if it was not where God wanted us to be that he would halt our return journey.
This was a decision we would have to make again and again, in one form or another. We first faced it when it became clear we would have to quarantine for two weeks after returning. Then, when our passport country advised all of us to leave the country where we study, we weighed the risks and costs one more time. After that, as a precaution, our apartment block was placed back into quarantine, which led us into yet another phase of weighing, praying, seeking. At each step we eventually felt God gave us peace with the same answer, He had led us to stay.
Of course it hasn’t been an easy decision to make, or to live by. Life cooped up in a flat, entertaining small children, is something that many of us are now familiar with. Add to that the challenge of trying to continue language study online, and find ways to get hold of daily essentials, using a language that we don’t yet speak fluently, and you start to get a picture of our daily lives.
As time has worn on, increasingly, I have found myself asking the question why? What is God doing through us being here? I know that we are sharing the life experience of the people we deeply desire to share our eternal hope with. Yet it is easy to wonder, How do I share in a time of social distancing, when my ability to speak the language feels ropey at best?
To be honest, I’m still not sure how God is using this or how best to witness in this time. But I have been reminded by a friend that our Father has a good record of using social distancing. He used over a year in an ark to rescue Noah and his family from the flood, he used 40 days in the wilderness to reaffirm Elijah, he used three days in a large fish (!) to bring Jonah to repentance and so rescue the city of Nineveh, and he used Paul’s house arrest and imprisonment to produce much of the new testament. Ultimately God’s own son endured crucifixion and three days in a tomb to give us hope in the face of death, because we know we will be raised with him. It had made me realise even if I never know how God is using this time, in the midst of it I can trust he will.’
OMF International Stories Coordinator
Reuben writes and edits for OMF International to encourage the Church to share the good news of Jesus Christ with East Asians, across the street and across the world.