New post from missionary Erin Mackenzie

New post from missionary Erin Mackenzie


Living my Best Virtual Life

Posted: 22 Mar 2020 11:09 AM PDT

I was supposed to pick up a short-term team today at 12:02 am.

Instead, after a rough day or two of adjusting, I’m over here living my best virtual life.

The president of the DR addressed the populace on Tuesday night; he never used the word cuarentena but in short order, declared a 25-day state of emergency and imposed an 8pm to 6 am curfew. Both DRLM Lutheran schools are closed until further notice. Seminary field work has been suspended. All meetings have shifted to Zoom. With the exception of a few individuals who fall into the high-risk bracket and are truly quarantining themselves, we as a missionary team are “sheltering in place.”

Outdoor physical activity is an acceptable reason to leave our homes, so while I mourn the closure of the botanical garden (although it may be opening up to cardholders from 6-8 am daily?!?), I and a few others have been going for daily #coronastyle strolls.

(And occasionally, doing #coronastyle imitations of famous album covers.)

Jamielynn was there, too, taking the picture and telling us where to put our arms and legs!
I’m finding that it’s helpful to have something to look forward to. Thursday night, that was a brainstorming meeting – via Zoom, but with wine – to come up with ways to bless and encourage the missionary women/men/kids at this year’s regional conference. I colored the top picture while a small group of fellow missionary women and I chatted. Freddy’s room may get veeeeeery colorful by the time this is all said and done…

Yesterday was a cooking day!

I thought homemade applesauce would be a good way to keep “fresh” fruit in my diet. The twist to this version was the addition of frozen peaches, ginger, and almond extract. 

I was going to make rosemary foccacia, but even with a teaspoon of sugar (left), my yeast was deader than a doornail. I quick Googled a “no yeast” recipe; still-warm slices got rave reviews from Tirzah, Jamielynn, and Courtney, my no-contact delivery guinea pigs. 

Man does not live on applesauce and bread alone! The rest of my meal consisted of Cranberry Rosemary One Pan Chicken and roasted butternut squash, which I sat down to enjoy while attending a Netflix Party showing of Descendants 2. 

This morning, I streamed three different church services (and could keep it up all day with the number of different time zones my Facebook friends live in!). I had a moment when I saw the empty pews on the screen during my home congregation’s; it was sobering to see God’s house empty. Three unique Gospel readings formed the basis for the three sermons, but all alluded to the Corona virus sooner or later. It’s impossible to forget this Thing that has banished the faithful each to their own corners of the world. I take comfort, though, in the words of 2 Timothy 2:9: But the word of God is not bound! Satan can overwhelm the healthcare system, bring air travel to a halt, and crash markets overnight, but he cannot impede the Gospel’s reach.

Tomorrow begins a new workweek. I needed a minute to grieve the team I should be helping Courtney host right now and the eight others that won’t be serving how and when any of us thought they would be, to just be sad and angry and admit that cancellations suck. But…deep breath…I’m ready to look at how we can capitalize on the time, energy, and enthusiasm they had already invested; seek alternative ways to plug volunteers in to the various LAC fields; and prepare for the inevitable challenges that will present themselves when people do go back to work, borders reopen, and air travel resumes.

Since the core of Courtney’s and my job has been yanked out from under us for the near term, though, we’ve been temporarily reassigned to other pursuits. I’ll be helping Area Facilitators conceive, plan, and execute virtual FORO partnership meetings in no fewer than six countries, and Courtney’s the regional PR lead. Neither of us knows exactly what these assignments will look like, but we do know we have a story to tell the Church. Our work of church planting doesn’t stop when pandemics hit; instead, missionaries have even more of a reason to be Christ’s hands and feet of mercy to our neighbors, and to do so in innovative ways. I can’t wait to be a part of how that plays out in the coming weeks and to share my perspectives here.

In the meantime, there are 28 new rolls of TP in my house, so hit me up if you’re low.

Until next time, blessings!