Posted on March 25, 2020 Apart but Together
Image of emergency alert by NZ government

The jarring emergency alert siren sounded on all our phones simultaneously just as we were clearing the table from a family dinner. It was a sobering announcement: the whole of New Zealand will be on lockdown for at least the next four weeks. We are to stay in our homes, only going out for a walk in the neighborhood or to visit essential services such as the grocery store, pharmacy or hospital. There is to be no physical contact with anyone we don’t live with. The goal is to “flatten the curve” of Covid-19 virus infections and save as many lives as possible. A good plan, and necessary. Still, it all feels a bit surreal.

Have we therefore retreated into a corner? Far from it! We are finding new ways to connect with others: to carry on life but in a brand-new way.

Bruce's Sunday School class holding up hands to bless each other

Bruce’s middle school Sunday School class met by video conference last Sunday. They ended with a benediction: blessing others and receiving their blessing.

You may be in a very similar situation! If so, we’d love to hear how you and your church are coping. May you experience God’s blessing of peace and protection, and a new sense community while all of us live “apart but together.”

Ma te Atua tātou e tiaki, e ārahi, e manaaki (May God guard, guide and bless us),

Ann and Bruce

Praises and Prayers

Praises — We are so thankful that our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter — along with their two greyhounds! — were able to move in with us for the duration of the lockdown. We’re “sheltering in place” but at least together!

Photo of Stretch and Brook, the greyhounds

Stretch and Brook are our new greyhound house guests

Pray for Ann as she continues to serve as interim pastor at our local church during these unusual times. It may be that — like Esther — she was called to this ministry “for such a time as this.”

Pray for Myanmar refugees who live in Malaysia and for the leaders of their mutual support associations. While many refugees have documentation from the UN, many more are undocumented and vulnerable to exploitation and arrest. Now that Malaysia is on lockdown, their jobs will be the first to be eliminated, they have few financial or material reserves and they are ineligible for government-sponsored health care.