Sitting here in the United States, looking through a seed catalogue, drinking tea, surrounded by the chaos of Corvid19, I feel incredibly blessed. The picture was what I looked up to that got me thinking about just how blessed I do feel right now. Blessed, grateful and calm. Why? Because I’m here and we made it when we were almost stuck in Congo. Because I’ve been able to enjoy some pieces of life here that aren’t available in Congo at all, like making a phone call and half an hour later a burger and fries showed up. Because I’ve been through this already with a much scarier disease; one that had a 90% death rate at the start, going down to around 60% after the introduction of a vaccine and new treatment.
Our journey to come back to the States was full of stress and complications but it was once again, God demonstrating that He is in control and gets all the glory. We weren’t even planning on leaving Congo until March 30th but two weeks before it was decided that we should try to leave as soon as possible to avoid any possible complications with the travel restrictions cropping up. We went through flight cancellations and in the end we made it out of Congo one day before that border was closed without prior notice and out of Uganda on the last flight out (that we had been told was cancelled), five hours before the Ugandan border closed. That was after spending an entire day trying to find out if our rescheduled flight was indeed canceled like we had heard. To say that our journey was stressful was an understatement but we were also carried across to America on thousands of prayers of friends, family and other believers.
So we arrived in the US a week ago and have been working on getting over jet lag, acquiring some “housing” in the form of a used fifth wheel and a vehicle in the form of a truck and getting the paperwork for those taken care of. We’ve also been enjoying being with family which is a huge blessing, that in itself would make us grateful and feeling blessed. Despite all of the shortages and restrictions, I have still found it a blessing going to the grocery store for things, ordering a burger from our favorite local burger joint, and other things like having internet that actually allows you to load a webpage with a picture.
I understand what many American’s are going through right now with the isolation pieces, but it honestly hasn’t affected me like it has others; why? Like I mentioned, I’ve been through this before with an even scarier disease but also, pieces of this are just normal life for me anyways. In Nyankunde, there are no restaurants you can go to and there is no take-out, ever. There are no grocery stores but there are markets where things are available. There really is no where to go when there, so you stay in your home most of the time anyways; everyday, all week, all month, each year. That is the struggle with living in isolation. You’re isolated whether you choose to be or not. Have you ever thought about what life as an isolated missionary is like? Well, it’s like this lockdown, in some ways, and with a scary disease around, it’s like this even more. You stay in your home and you know that “out there” is an enemy you can’t see. You look at an offered hand and the thought that if you shake it, you could lose your life, enters your mind. It’s not easy living like this; not for a week, not for a month and not for over a year either. Even without the deadly disease part, it’s not easy living in isolation.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not undervaluing the struggle of it or putting myself above it. I’m saying, I understand it completely and that even though it’s going on here, I still feel blessed to be here under these circumstances. I still feel calm in the wake of the storm because as God clearly showed us on our trip over here, He is in complete control. No matter how stressed and scary things can get, how uncertain things may feel, He really is still in control of it all. There are still things to be grateful for and be happy about here. It is still a blessing to be in the States with state of the art medical care, paved roads, dependable power and security. It has still brought me joy to see family, enjoy good food and see snow for the first time in five years. I’m still feeling Blessed through the Pandemic.