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Coronavirus 2020 update (or: The month we cancelled everything)
February 2020

By the Reedy family in Taiwan — Here’s an update from the heart of Asia about the coronavirus and how it has been impacting our lives and the lives of some of our coworkers over the past several weeks. 

The novel coronavirus arose at perhaps the worst possible time, over Lunar New Year, the most important holiday in Chinese culture. During this time, the world’s largest migration occurs, moving people around and allowing the virus to travel with them. 

Taiwan, where we live, and China have a long and complex relationship, but are culturally and economically linked, resulting in the need for much travel back and forth. Though fewer than 20 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported in Taiwan, our dense population means that the country must take steps to avoid the swift spread of the virus. This has resulted in some changes in the everyday life of those of us who live in Taiwan.

Because local schools have extended their Chinese New Year break, our daughter’s international school also shut down its physical campus. She and many other SEND missionary children are doing online learning at home. This has a ripple effect as we parents rearrange our schedules to be home with our young scholars. 

The universities where we work have also delayed the start of their next semesters, so we will not be in face-to-face contact with our students for some time. 

Further, a training session for new SEND missionary appointees was scheduled to start next week in the Philippines. When the Philippines banned all flights from China and Taiwan, this training had to be postponed. 

One family of co-workers who live closer to the breakout has returned to the States for the time being and are undergoing a two-week quarantine. Their children did develop fevers, but tested negative for coronavirus, praise the Lord! Other friends have found themselves unable to go home due to travel restrictions. 

We are thankful that we can still be out and about getting groceries and other necessities, although we have been asked to wear masks to church. Warnings and hand sanitizer are seen in many public places. To enter some spaces, you must first have your temperature taken. A general atmosphere of fear pervades among many of our Taiwanese friends. 

Throughout these inconveniences and much rescheduling, we have sensed the Lord asking us, “When things don’t go as planned, what will your response be?” We admit that our response has often been frustration, impatience, anger, and complaints. Will we trust him that the doors that he closes are just as important as the doors that he opens? 

When our plans are disrupted, will we be thankful to our Father who persists in his plans and purposes for us? We now have the very real opportunity to live out Proverbs 16:9, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Please pray for us that we can live in a way that pleases God in a difficult situation.

And of course, our inconveniences pale in comparison to the difficulties that are now being faced by so many. Please join us in praying:

  • For healing for the sick. We know from the gospels that Jesus has power over every disease.
  • For comfort for those who have lost loved ones due to this virus. 
  • For the medical staff who are hard at work caring for the sick, even at the risk of their own lives. 
  • For all the people who are living under strict quarantine, that all of their needs would be met. 
  • For the growth of the gospel in Asia. We believe that God can use difficult circumstances for his purposes, so please join us in praying that this crisis will nudge the hearts of people towards Jesus instead of away from him.

 



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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan and Bethany Reedy
Ryan and Bethany serve in Taiwan in college ministry and church planting, as well as in SEND's International Office Asia.