We asked our missionaries: In the face of the coronavirus and this global pandemic: 1.) How has life changed for you? 2.) How has your ministry changed? 3.) How are you doing? 4.) How can we pray?
Here is Brandon Newlin's response:
1.) How has life changed for you?
Life hasn't changed too much day-today, because summers are usually pretty slow for us anyway. A lot of teachers are still around and they're building houses on top of the hill near Jessica, so there's plenty of work to do. We're kind of like an extended household, so we've been interacting as normal around campus, but we don't have church in the church. We can't go anywhere without wearing a mask and they have police checkpoints in and out of the villages to check temperature.
2.) How has your ministry changed?
The most frustrating thing for me was that we've had to cancel our summer outreach mission trips. We had students going to 50 different villages for the summer, but that all fell apart in a week or two as restrictions got more strict. Personally, the thing that's keeping me sane is a group of students that is stuck in the dorm for the summer, so we've been having some classes and doing some activities. We won't be able to start school until at least July (it's usually May) so we'll have plenty of time to plan (or go crazy). We're also a bit worried for when all the students come back to school from many different places in Myanmar, where the government has been inconsistent with the truth and has very limited medical resources. July is also the middle of rainy season and our normal awful diseases like malaria, dengue, and chikugunya, which I had last year and am still recovering from. Right now we're not really anxious about it, but everything seems so weird and uncertain.
3.) How are you doing?
I've been doing really well for the past week or two. The first couple weeks of quarantine were really depressing, but I've been adapting to the new normal, relying more on God, and even exercising. Wish I could go back and visit because my nieces and nephews are practically in college now it seems like. I'd also love to skype/zoom with you. It's been really encouraging to hear your sermons and feel a little bit more of a connection with the church family (although everything else that's happening around the country makes me cringe every time I read the news. It seems like there is so much hate everywhere. I don't feel personally invested in the whole political side of everything, but it seems like there is so much negative energy everywhere. I don't envy you having to navigate all of that.)
4.) How can we pray?
So that is what we need prayer for: Wisdom and safety.