Corona Virus in South Africa

It’s Day 30 of our 35 day (at-least) Lockdown. Like the rest of you, we were keeping an eye on COVID-19 since it started spreading around the world. On March 15th, Owen’s birthday, President Ramaphosa addressed South Africa talking about the seriousness of the situation and instituting social distancing. Therefore, we postponed Owen’s birthday party. Soon, it was obvious that this party was not going to happen so we celebrated as a family. Later that week, Ryan started working from home. His “office” is set up in the garage.

On March 23rd, President Ramaphosa addressed the nation again and announced a 21 day national lock-down would start on March 27th. That week lines were long in all shops. Everyone was ready to batten down the hatches for lock-down. The president urged people that grocery stores would remain open and stocked but people were panic buying anyway. We started seeing limits on certain things such as rice, canned beans, tuna, and oil. Then on April 15th President Ramaphosa announced the locked was to be extended for an additional 14 days. Then on April 23rd he announced that on May 1st the lockdown would only lift slighlty to a “stage 4” that will allow just a few more business sectors to open. For many, the lockdown will last far longer than 35 days.

I know that most states have a stay at home order but South Africa’s lock-down is serious. We are not allowed to leave our property unless we are going to the hospital, bank, grocery store, pharmacy or to work for an essential service. All other stores are closed. We are not even allowed to be in the common area of our complex except to take our garbage out to the road and to get in our cars. All schools are closed. Ary’s school has started some online schooling. Many families do not have computers or wifi so e-learning may not be an option for every family. I go out once a week to go grocery shopping. Most people are walking around in homemade masks. I have seen police blockades where the police are stopping people at random to inquire about why they are out of their homes. Police are also patrolling  high density areas to make sure people are obeying the lock-down. Tension and fear are in the air. Many people have lost jobs. Many people here live week to week if not day to day so many people are suffering.

The news is not all bad though. While each of us is struggling to accommodate an abnormal life, we are becoming closer as a church and family. We have been doing some special things together as a family such as camping in the back yard, doing special events for each day of Holy Week, baking cookies for neighbors, and movie nights. We have been doing a little homeschooling everyday too. We have been spending more time praying and reading the Bible. We have been finding ways to communicate and encourage one another. We are separated from each other in body but not in spirit. The church in South Africa has really stepped up to help the poor in our area. We have been told of needs for food and essentials and people have enthusiastically replied and given to people in need. Women who are about to give birth are especially in need as they cannot buy clothing. Many people have been digging into their closets and finding essentials for these new babies. We had one family absolutely speechless after we delivered food and baby supplies to them. All they could say was, “How is it that you can be so generous? Who are you people? God bless you.”

Some of our donors have donated money to us to help people who are starving. Every week when I go to the grocery store, I look like I am panic buying, I have so much food. Usually I can get enough for six or seven families. We have people who we specifically help and an organization that is in a sketchy neighborhood that helps feed the community. This organization went from feeding 20 families a week to just over 300 people a day. They still have to turn people away because they are out of food. So, to my donors who have sent money for that purpose, thank you. If anyone would like to pitch in as well, please message Elyse on facebook or email one of us.

So what does this lock-down mean for our future? Honestly, we don’t know. Our desire is to stay in South Africa but at this point everything is unsure. We have background checks floating around somewhere being processed or waiting to be processed. Our flights to the United States in June were cancelled. We are waiting until after the lock-down to buy new tickets. We, like many people, are sitting in limbo. We are trying not to be anxious and trusting God for each day.

You can pray that all our paperwork comes through for visas and that Ryan can find a job in South Africa.

Please pray for the poor in our country who have nothing right now and are confined to a small space together in this lock-down. Pray that communities will be brought together to help and encourage one another. Pray that we can be a blessing to our community. Pray that we will speak the name of Jesus boldly in this time.

Pray for our anxiety. We are saying, “I believe. Help my unbelief”

Please contact us about how you are doing during this time. Write back to us and tell us how we can pray for you.

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