Finding God in the Quarantine June 2020
Missionaries Curtis and Diane Steward report on the recent happenings in northern Chile.
It started out, I daresay, almost FUN—hardly anybody objected strenuously to an extended vacation just two weeks into the school year here! But the FREEDOM from regular routines and responsibilities quickly morphed into…
- FEAR – of job loss, the future, and normal medical concerns compounded by the Covid-19 virus. Chile has more than 250,000 cases as of this writing. Two young women of our church work at the local hospital. At least five men with families have lost employment, at least temporarily, since March. Our church treasurer wonders how we’ll continue to pay the rent, especially when we barely use the building?
- FAMINE – Chile had already experienced 5 months of destructive social upheaval previous to the current pandemic. Many grocery staples and medications are now in short supply or out of stock (yes, we’ve been affected!) Add to that, a famine of fellowship, friendship, and the hearing of the Word of God.
- FRUSTRATION – with Zoom meetings, long lines to buy anything, lost cards, curfew, cancelled medical appointments, involuntary homeschooling for some, tele-trabajo (work-at-home) for others, tele-ministry for us, and the extra time it takes to live life online! We’re thankful that life is returning to at least a “new normal” for some of you, but here we don’t see any end yet
On the other hand, people are finding God’s GRACE and GIFTS amid the discouragement and worry. Although total lockdown has affected most of our colleagues at some time over these months, our city of Coquimbo has experienced far fewer restrictions than many areas. Curtis has been able to continue work on the house, though it’s slow. So thankful for extra hands when needed and for Fabián and Marisa, Christian neighbors who faithfully share lunch. Curt’s heart issues seem sorted now, and God provided the right doctor when he twice got metal imbedded in his eye.
Winter burst upon us this past week with TWO days of rain—a lot for here, but welcome in a drought.
In spite of technology’s challenges, we are also grateful for the ongoing Sunday school, prayer time, youth group, and women’s Bible study, both live and recorded. A men’s discussion group will be added this week. Easter, Mother’s and Father’s Day have come and gone, celebrated online. I write several blog posts a week plus daily encouragement messages for the ladies, so I’m thankful for Anita’s help in ministering to this very needy group. Collecting and delivering food boxes on a regular basis has been a huge blessing and opportunity too.
- Safety at the worksite, provision of daily bread and medications during complicated times.
- Javiera and Jocelyne at the hospital.
- Men in need of work.
- One who was baptized last Oct. and whose grandmother died recently has become entangled with a cult. Wisdom in counseling.
- Preparations and recording for Bible institute classes that both of us will teach next semester. Dixon, Eloy, and Javier taking online courses through Santiago BI.
- Pray for the unsaved families now watching “church” together.
- Comfort for the family of our Santiago friend, Jorge, who died of Covid-19 complications this month