Many of us would have heard stories about people being stranded far from home due to global government-imposed lockdowns to limit the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
However, I have only heard one person refer to his exile away from home as an act of God.
The president of the Lutheran Church in the Philippines, Rev Antonio Reyes, and his wife Arlene had travelled 100km south of Manila to inspect a property that the church had purchased for a Lutheran fellowship centre. While they were visiting, the government decided to lockdown Manila, with all travel banned. Unable to return home, Pastor Antonio says he and Arlene thought, ‘the Lord has a reason why he allowed us to be quarantined here’.
That reason became apparent soon. They began making friends with squatters living alongside the Philippine National Railway on government land. They invited their new friends to the new fellowship centre, where they discussed the Bible, taught the children and held ‘physically distanced’ worship services.
Pastor Reyes also asked friends and family for financial assistance to provide physical food in addition to the spiritual food he had been serving up. They distributed 5 kilograms of rice to each of the 21 families they had befriended, along with milk for the children and forgiveness in Jesus’ name for all!
Pastor Reyes says: ‘I believe that God has placed me and Arlene here for this purpose – to preach the gospel and help them.’
Surely every one of us could say the same – wherever we are.
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