When Cate’s* family took a short trip away from their home in East Asia recently, she never imagined they’d be unable to return for several months. But while they were gone, coronavirus overwhelmed areas near their home. Resulting travel restrictions meant Cate and her family needed to stay out of the region. They’re not sure how long it will be before they can go back.
Being abruptly displaced from the place they’d called home for many years was difficult for her family at first, Cate said.
But she explained that she can already see the Lord’s provision in their unexpected time away. The slower pace of life has given her family a chance to catch their breath from the busyness of normal life and work.
“All of it just kind of had me exhausted,” she said. “So to all of a sudden have it taken away was kind of a relief and a blessing that I didn’t expect to be thankful for. The Lord knew I needed that break.”
They’ve also been able to keep up some with their friends and fellow believers who are still in their city. Cate, a Christian worker in East Asia, said that at first, the believers in her city were nervous about how they would still fellowship together when they couldn’t meet in person. Technology has allowed them to meet online and Cate has been encouraged by their intentionality to continue building each other up even when they can’t be physically together.
“I think they were anticipating it being worse than it has been, being cut off from each other,” Cate said. “They’ve been so intentional to meet together online, and because they’ve had more free time stuck at home, they’ve used that time well. We’re so eager to get back and hear more testimonies of what the Lord did through all of that time.”
Cate also said she’s eager to get back and talk with their unbelieving friends and neighbors about everything they’ve experienced. She’s hopeful that fear and anxiety about the virus has softened their hearts and made them begin to ask some spiritual questions.
Though Cate never would have planned to be away from home so long, she said she knows she can trust God’s sovereignty to guide her family through the rest of this unexpected season.
“[Coronavirus] was so unpredictable and never something we could have imagined,” she said. “We can only just say, ‘Ok Lord, you know best.’”