How can I write about anything else? Our whole world has been turned upside down in the past couple weeks and we are living a whole new reality, not only here in Bogota, but world-wide, due to COVID-19.

Like so many others, we are learning to do school in a totally new way, directed by ECA teachers but supervised at home. We are thankful that we have experience with Google Classroom and other on-line learning tools. We have had Virtual Days annually now for several years, so both teachers and students have had some practice with learning outside of the classroom. But moving from a one-day experience to a long-term home-based learning is a challenge for all of us. Zoom and Google Hangouts meetings fill my days as I seek to lead our ECA team wisely, gathering opinions, listening, brainstorming, praying and encouraging.

Figuring out what ECA events are cancelled, postponed, or moving to a new format virtually or with plenty of safe distance is time-consuming and emotionally draining as we try to consider all the implications of any schedule change that is made. So many resources are being shared and so much information is being disseminated that it is impossible to read or watch it all, let alone filter the levels of truth or opinion presented. I am mourning for our seniors as we try to figure out ways to celebrate their last semester at ECA, but without being together. So many changes…

And like many others, trying to learn what God has for me during this time. With my brother out of intensive care after his body had nine intense days fighting the COVID-19 virus while sedated and on a ventilator, our whole family is a bit reflective about this brush with death. How will we be changed after seeing God’s mercy, the support of a huge praying and caring network, gratitude for available medical services and competent professionals, and the reality of our impotence and dependence on a powerful God?  Praying urgently for our son-in-law Lucas as he struggles to serve as an emergency room doctor in Canada without the proper protective equipment. As I write this, Lucas is a little over mid-way of a 14-day quarantine after being contaminated by a COVID-19 positive patient. So grateful to many, like Lucas, who are trying to care for the many sick, even though the risks are very real of being infected. 

Home routines are so different…more time for devotions, cooking, calls with family, and even getting in my 10,000 steps circling our apartment complex parking lot. More time to pray, to journal, and to be with my husband. How will we all be changed by these weeks of altered routines, of different priorities, of new objectives? Our entire world has an opportunity to reflect, to make adjustments, and to refocus. Some of our changes are temporary, a response to a specific crisis situation. But I hope we all can use this pause to make permanent changes where needed. Our lives can be pre and post COVID-19, in an intentional and positive way…if we take advantage of this opportunity to grow.

Embrace this unexpected moment in history and, despite the tragedy, horror and sorrow that the virus has brought, find ways to maximize the new routines and occasions for personal and relational growth.

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