Ludmila sewed many, many face masks for Prague residents, including mine.
Thankful for God’s Provisions
Daily life changed dramatically for me this past month in Prague. The first positive COVID-19 case was announced on March 1 and within two weeks the borders closed, and most normal activities ceased. All shops except grocery stores and pharmacies closed, church services were cancelled, and we were ordered to stay in our homes except for medical appointments and getting critical supplies. But I am thankful for so much!
I was quite surprised when I woke up on Wednesday, March 18 to the news that everyone in the Czech Republic was mandated to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth whenever leaving the confines of their home, effective at noon that day. Who keeps an extra facemask at home for these occasions? Certainly, not me. We could wear a bandana or scarf as a substitute, but it had to provide complete coverage, or you faced a fine equivalent to $1000 USD.
Thankfully, our deacon from church, Martin, knew a woman who lived in his apartment building who was rapidly sewing masks for anyone who needed one, at no cost to the recipients. So, within two days, I left my flat for the first time with a long, wool scarf wrapped around my face to retrieve the cotton face mask delivered to my front gate. I am so thankful for this gift! Martin later sent a photo of Ludmila at work on the masks, which now has been published in some American newspapers.
Perhaps the biggest change that affected me was the reliance on technology to continue mission work here. It’s not perfect, but it does allow us to stay safe in our homes. This past month, I have learned to use Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype and Facebook livestreaming for everything that I normally did in person.
I still teach English classes every Monday to Czech church leaders and one of our alliance missionary pastors. We now use Zoom for this, which allows me to see each student and share handouts on the screen. It does take extra time for meeting preparation, but that is offset by the commuting time to travel to our church meeting room. The students are very pleased that we can continue weekly classes.
I planned to use Zoom for our ladies’ group also, however, several of the women have young children at home that would not allow for a distraction-free meeting time. I look forward to being able to meet again in person, when these young mothers can take time away from home for Christian fellowship with other women.
My Czech lessons with my tutor are now done via Skype, while my group class uses Microsoft Teams.
Perhaps the hardest part of such quick closures was the lack of church services in Prague for two weeks. Thankfully, I was able to join several Wisconsin congregations who used Facebook to livestream or record and post mid-week and Sunday services. Many thanks to those congregations who invited me and got this up and running so quickly. We now have our English service in Prague on Facebook livestreaming, as well.
Virtual visits with friends
I am overjoyed by the emails, messages and phone calls from family and friends who check in to see how I’m doing, send encouraging messages and videos, as well as prayers. I greatly appreciate WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Facetime and Marco Polo, for the communication and love that is shared through them with people on two different continents.
Last, but not least, I am thankful for God’s provision of safety. I remain in good health here, have groceries delivered and I can still take walks in the forest a block from my home. God is so good, all the time!
This month we remember who fights our battles for us:
The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.
Exodus 14:14 (ESV)
Download the entire newsletter and find out more.