Believers in East Asia Grow in Faith During Coronavirus Outbreak

Shopkeepers wearing masks to prevent contracting the coronavirus wait for a customer at Dongseong-ro shopping street in central Daegu, South Korea February 21, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Normally, there wouldn’t be anything noteworthy about Jane* and her family having other local believers over for dinner. But recently, life has been anything but normal. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread throughout East Asia and other parts of the world, many cities including Jane’s have imposed restrictions on travel and suspended group gatherings, making fellowship and community difficult.

So when Jane heard a few days ago that a local pastor and his wife were bringing their daughter over for dinner, she was excited. They’d not been able to have anyone over to their house for more than a month.

Jane is a nurse, and as the virus spread, she knew it would affect her and her family in some way. She just never expected how extensive restrictions in their city would become. The day she heard that their neighborhood wouldn’t allow visitors, she remembers feeling discouraged and lonely.

Because the coronavirus fell right during the biggest holiday in East Asian culture, many people in Jane’s church and in her neighborhood were already away. She felt isolated.

“That was a really lonely week, because there was no end date [to the restrictions],” she said. “That was hard, just emotionally and spiritually feeling alone. But it also became a time of just being with the Lord and remembering we’re not alone.”

Though the last few weeks have been challenging, Jane says she has seen God continue to work in and through the challenges those in East Asia are facing.

Her background as a nurse, for example, has helped her encourage friends around her who are fearful. The couple that came over for dinner has a young daughter, and they’ve been too scared to let her even go outside to play. Having them over gave Jane and her husband a chance to encourage them not to live in fear.

“We’ve been able to help people see, especially believers, with an eternal perspective. The Father’s hand is still in this. He’s still good, and we’re still under His hand,” she said.

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Source: Baptist Press