After nine years in Thailand, we were planning to move to Pennsylvania in early April. As reports of an unknown virus grew into a major worldwide concern, flights from many places around the globe were being canceled. When it happened to us, we decided to book new flights and leave as soon as possible.
For a few weeks, we watched as borders closed one by one. The U.S. embassy sent out notices asking its citizens to return. We watched the news as the virus started in the capital and spread to the other parts of the country first slowly, but then more quickly.
On March 23, we went into lockdown with each part of the U.K. enforcing their own rules. In Wales, we were only allowed to leave the house for essential food and medicine, to exercise once a day, or if we must go to work.
Chiang Mai, as a whole, has done well in managing COVID-19 with 42 confirmed cases reported, and we see restrictions slightly lifting this month. The pandemic occurred during the annual Thai new year called Songkhran, and everyone honored the government’s requests to stay at home and not go out to celebrate.
“Confinement” to our houses in Spain only permits people to leave their living quarters to go straight to work and back, to the ATM machines, to buy food or medicine, or to walk their dogs close to home. As of today, the police have fined around 400 people across Spain for civil disobedience to their orders as they were unable to prove their reason for running around.
LANCASTER, Pa. — COVID-19 has forced many people to embrace new forms of resilience, often spurring on great creativity. Two Lancaster leaders serving the refugee and immigrant communities have been doing just that: Patience Buckwalter, executive director of the Grape Leaf Empowerment Center, and Krista Martin, Eastern Mennonite Missions’ (EMM) Kingdom Team director.
NAIROBI, Kenya — As the world faced COVID-19, gathering food for Ramadan celebrations was difficult in places like Nairobi. Many workplaces shut down due to COVID-19, and as a result, many Kenyans lost their income, facing significant food insecurity.
Multiplication is the heartbeat of EMM. When my parents were church planters with Eastern Board (now EMM) and Lancaster Conference (now LMC) in northeast Pennsylvania, they were part of a group of church plants that multiplied from Wilkes-Barre Christian Fellowship (out of the Weaverland district of Lancaster Conference.)
Christ’s transforming love compels us. These are the first five words of our mission statement. We recognize that Christ’s love is not static — it is transformative. This means that we expect Christ’s love to change us to be more like Him. This kind of transformation happens when we approach God with a posture of humility, repentance, and openness to what Jesus might have to show us.
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra O’Connor once wrote a wise statement about how our well-being is reliant on one another. She wrote: “We don’t accomplish anything in the world alone and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that create something.”
A second chance at love brought Jim and me together after both of our spouses passed away from cancer. At our wedding more than 8 years ago, we served our guests communion and told them that as we started our life together, we would be hand-in-hand as husband and wife in service towards others.