March 2021 is proving itself to be eerily similar to March of last year…or we are having a strong dose of deja-vu!
Last Friday, the president of Kenya announced an immediate five-county lockdown for Nairobi and the surrounding counties in response to the recent rising cases of COVID. Schools, churches, and restaurants are closed and an 8pm curfew is in effect. Gatherings of any sort are not permitted, as well as travel beyond the five county “Red Zone.”
This news feels weary.
It has now been a full year of social distancing, Zoom chats and masks.
I don’t know about you, but we have masks in every crevasse of our property – from the glove compartment of our car to jacket pockets to random drawers in the kitchen. (Maybe, instead of hiding Easter Eggs, we will have our kiddos hunt for masks!)
To be honest, ministry in the midst of a pandemic has been a bit discouraging at times. (Although, we are very aware that many folks are battling much tougher battles…shout out to all teachers and healthcare workers who have endured!)
During the first lockdown (which lasted March through July of last year), we learned that youth groups via Zoom just aren’t the same as “real life,” although we did attempt to spice things up with games and milkshake deliveries for prizes! We also tapped into our creative side and did a “Cookie Drive Thru” in our driveway, an “Extreme Room Makeover” contest, a “Going the Social Distance 5K” virtual race and much more!
This week, we step into another season of virtual youth ministry. We are grateful for the last few months we’ve had of meeting in person (masked), having a family-style DISCIPLE NOW event that was really fruitful, and for the continuation of our Community Groups meeting together. Now, we must “pivot” and get our creative juices flowing again to encourage and disciple students.
Speaking of our students, please join us in praying for them. The pandemic has been especially hard for middle school and high school students. If you have a student in your family, then you know this personally. They have endured disappointments, cancelations and hope deferred. Seniors quietly graduated last year and moved abroad to begin university…building new friendships is not easy for the socially distanced! Sports tournaments were canceled and little opportunity was allowed for competition of any form. Spring musicals were just days away from being performed when life came to a halt. Specific to the international community, proper good-byes were not said as families and students moved abroad due to evacuations, graduations, or job relocations. (The international community is already familiar with the struggle of constant good-byes, as it is such a transient community…the pandemic has greatly emphasized this.)
Join us also in praying for COVID numbers to decrease here in Kenya – not just for ministry’s sake, but for the health and welfare of the many lives directly affected…for those who have Covid and are trying to receive proper care (despite ICU bed shortages), for those who have become unemployed, and for local children who have missed a great deal of schooling in the past year.
We are hopeful as the vaccine has begun to be distributed throughout Kenya. Although we are weary, this lockdown comes with expectation that the “light at the end of the tunnel” is nearing. If we have learned anything in this pandemic, we’ve grown in our understanding of man’s feeble ability to grasp control (even in 2021!) and God’s steadfast goodness.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
– Hebrews 10:23
Nate & Shanna