Grace* never expected to live through one epidemic, much less two. She was a college student in East Asia during the SARS outbreak that began in 2002.
COVID-19 began before students could return from the holidays, but SARS started after classes were already back in session. Instead of being quarantined in her family’s house, she was quarantined on campus. Since students couldn’t leave the borders of the university, they spent all their free time together.
One of Grace’s friends was a Christian. She had shared with Grace before about the God she believed in, but Grace hadn’t paid much attention. She had other things to focus on. Life was too busy to think about whether God was real or if He cared about her.
When the SARS epidemic hit, life suddenly slowed down. Grace had more free time than she knew what to do with. She spent a lot of it talking to her friend, who explained the gospel again. She told Grace that God created and loved everyone and had made a way to forgive people for their sins so they could know Him as their Heavenly Father.
This time, Grace really began to think about what her friend was saying. During a season of so much sickness and death, it was hard not to think about her own mortality. Maybe there really was hope for life after death. Maybe there really was a God who cared. In the middle of an epidemic, locked down on a college campus, Grace put her faith in Christ. God used SARS to change her life.
Almost two decades later, Grace has once again found herself quarantined during an epidemic. Instead of being a college student, she’s now a wife and mom to three kids. But just like during SARS, she can already see how God is using this challenging time in her family’s life.
Both Grace and her husband are believers. They’ve been able to spend a lot of time together reading the Bible, worshiping and praying.
Grace said she is especially grateful for the time she’s been able to spend with her children. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, churches in East Asia were under a lot of pressure from the government. Many had to split into smaller groups and limit their activities, including activities for children.
Now, however, Grace’s children are getting to see firsthand what it means to be a Christian as they watch their parents trust Christ through this difficult season. Grace and her husband also have the time to personally teach their children all the things they ordinarily would have depended on their church for.
God is using this epidemic to draw Grace’s family closer to each other and closer to Himself.
“It seems strange to praise the Lord for an epidemic, but praising Him for working through the lives of His people to bring glory to Himself during this time is easy to do,” said Todd Hunt*, a Christian worker in East Asia with whom Grace shared this testimony.
May Grace’s testimony be the testimony of believers around the world when this pandemic is over. As we navigate these challenging days, may we faithfully share the hope we have in Christ with those around us, and in the process learn to love and trust Him even more.
*Names changed for security