Nicole, a Short Term Member explains why the mandatory home confinement that begun in France on 17 March led her to discover a fresh dynamic to mission, church and life indoors.
“After a large gathering by a christian network, my corner of France was hit the worst with Covid-19. Imagine: more than 2000 people greeting one another with a kiss on each cheek, the virus spread dramatically, and before we knew it hundreds of people had been infected with the virus.
“The French Government acted quickly and put in measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Everyone was asked to stay at home and to limit their contact with each other. Schools, events and church meetings were closed or cancelled.
“In the initial few days of the outbreak, eight people* within our team had Covid-19 and one was even hospitalised. For me, it was too late to be worried. I was already living with two people with the virus, and I had accepted I probably already had it, especially as we share a kitchen and bathroom. I was feeling perfectly healthy, so it was hard to self-isolate.
“At first, I did feel a bit lonely but I then moved in with another shorttermer and we self-isolated together. We had already spent a lot of time together during the outbreak, plus we were both healthy with no underlying health issues, so we decided we were not a risk to each other.”
I was feeling perfectly healthy, so it was hard to self-isolate.
*Note: all the team members have now fully recovered.
From a life outdoors to one lived indoors
“Before the government restrictions were put in place we did outdoor activities: hiking and bike riding. When the rules got stricter we did indoor activities together like yoga stretches, painting, cooking, praying and Bible reading. I also had some bonsai tree seeds a friend had sent me as a gift, so we planted them too.
We kept ourselves entertained and had fun.
“During the confinement, there were times we needed to go shopping for food. We went to the supermarket together. There were not many people there, and the shelves had plenty of fresh and tinned food. We were also allowed to do exercise outside if we wanted to.
Each time I left the house, I needed an official document with my name, date of birth, address, date and reason for leaving.
“There were police in some city parks and along the canal: fining people who were more than 125 metres away from their home. I think these measures were necessary for the general public to take the pandemic seriously, and it worked.”
Ministry goes online in France
“We still did our best to keep in contact with friends, and touch base with them. We also continued one of our ministries online; it’s now a virtual ministry! We can still have a sense of community during this confinement period. This worked well, and we are continuing to meet (online) once a week!
We can still have a sense of community during this confinement period
“After almost three weeks of a disrupted lifestyle in France, I returned to the UK to be closer to my family. My mother is at risk if she were to catch the virus, and so I am in self-isolation away from her.”
Fresh dynamic in the UK
“Since being back in the UK, I’ve got involved in my sending church youth group as a virtual leader. We also have a prayer meeting each Wednesday using Zoom: it is incredible. A meeting of normally 50 people now has over 140. It is a fresh dynamic from what we normally know … God is doing new works. 🙌
Zoom ... a meeting of normally 50 people now has over 140.
Many organisations are doing online webinars. I listened to one recently on how we can do mission online during confinement. Feeling inspired by these talks, I went Facebook LIVE answering questions people had on God whilst my friend and I baked brownies.”
I went on Facebook LIVE answering questions people had on God whilst my friend and I baked brownies.
Something new in mission
“Covid-19 has certainly changed the dynamic of ministry work, but I believe it has not limited what God can do. During this period, people have more time to read, more time to pray, and God can do something new in mission work.
“I’ve also witnessed people turning to God during these hard times and they have joined in with online church.
“I pray that through this, God breaks into many lives and takes away many fears. 🙏 During this uncertain time, I know the truth that ‘true love casts out fear’ (1 Jn 4:18).
🙏 “Pray with me that:
—I will get to see my mother: at the moment I am staying with a friend and her family.
—God will speak to me and use me during this time.
—For the motivation to get things done.”
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Find out more about our Short Term / Gap Year ministry
WEC’s Short Term programme is geared to fuel your passion for God through a hands-on experience.
For a Solo Trek, we aim to match your gifts and time-frame for a short-term cross-cultural faith-filled adventure with God. We will place you alongside an experienced missionary in any one of over 80 countries, where you can serve God, share the good news and grow in your faith.
Alongside Solo Trek, we encourage Church Teams to organise and run your own short term cross-cultural trip. Feel free to get in touch if you would welcome some tips to get you started.
Read more about Short Term / Gap Year here.
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