I hope that this letter finds you, your families and all of our brothers and sisters at Saint Johannes, Mering doing well. These are difficult times. You have been on my heart and I had been meaning to send a note but Christoph is faster and beat me to correspondence.
Oh, how our world has been turned upside down! So much change in so little time. We returned from seeing the whales in Mexico on March 9 and the only travel restrictions at that time were to China. A little over a week ago, my friends and I were still planning on doing a camino in Portugal and Spain in early April. That is impossible now.
Christoph has kept me informed about the restrictions you are enduring in Bavaria. It is much the same here. In states and cities where there have been larger numbers of cases of Covid-19, people are being encouraged to “shelter in place”. This means to avoid all non-essential outings and stay home as much as possible. All over the country, most restaurants are closed to dining in. You can still usually get meals to take home or delivery. Bars, schools, universities, movie theatres, public buildings are closed. Professional sports, athletic events, concerts and music festivals have been postponed or cancelled. Disneyland is closed and the Kentucky Derby has been moved to September. Grocery stores are open and busy. There are empty shelves at times, there is plenty of food but toilet paper and sanitizing products are hard to find. Very few houses of worship are open.
Mark and I had hoped to go down to Tybee Island later this week. We just got word that the beach there is closed. We will probably still go but are disappointed to not be able to enjoy the beach. The leaders on the island probably felt it was necessary to close the beaches to discourage young people from congregating and partying there. Christoph had mentioned the problem of young people in Bavaria not taking the precautions of social distancing seriously in preventing the spread of this virus. Same is true here. Florida beaches have been flooded with college students during what is traditionally Spring Break. The kids don’t feel like it will affect them. The immortality of youth…..(sigh)
We had our last service at Saint John last Sunday. After worship, the church council met and decided it would be best to temporarily close the building down for all activities. We are hoping to start up again on Palm Sunday but that is probably unrealistically optimistic. Pastor Mary has been doing a live evening devotional at 7:00 pm on facebook. She also uses that time for announcements and prayer requests. I enjoy her messages and it helps me stay connected to my church family. She is going to attempt a short Sunday morning worship tomorrow at 10:00am as are many other churches, Lutheran and other denominations. Join us on facebook at Saint John Evangelical Lutheran Church. As far as I know, there is no controversy involved over streaming worship.( However, there may be widespread technical difficulties as thousands of churches attempt to go live all at once.)
The Miller family is hanging in there. Mark’s company, Sefcor, is very busy. They service the electrical utility industry so they are considered essential. They are doing their best to keep their employees working and safe. I have been going to the barn to help with barn chores and grooming horses. The barn is closed to lessons and school groups but horses still need care.. I am also using this time to clean cabinets and closets. Spring has sprung in Georgia and there is plenty of yard work to do. Two of my boys are able to work from home, so that is good. Zachary is going to take a voluntary leave of absence from Delta Airlines. He has moved back home, because my friend, who he rents from, had been living in Paris and recently visited Italy. She rushed home to Atlanta, so she wouldn’t be stuck in Paris but felt she should quarantine. Hopefully this virus runs it’s course and things get better soon so Zack can get back to work and his mom can continue her travels😊
We are praying and hoping that this crisis is over as quickly as it came on us. It is catastrophic for families that live paycheck to paycheck. So many people have lost so much. Our friends in the hospitality and tourist industries have been hit especially hard.
Let’s stay in touch during this most difficult time.
Love, prayers and peace be with you,
Das Licht scheint in der Dunkelheit und die Dunkelheit kann es nicht uberwinden. Johannes 1;5