Ten things I’ve loved about the Coronavirus lockdown

Coronavirus is scary.   Certainly a few important questions come to mind:

When will it end?   Will we survive? How will we pay the bills? How will I survive the boredom of being stuck inside with nothing to do?

The good news is that God ordered Israel to stop often…not just once a week. There were good reasons for that. Here are a few tips I have come up with from my first week of lockdown:

  1. Spend more time with your children and spouse.
    • Make memories!
    • We played Dodgeball as a family in our small yard.
    • Noah and have time to play Chess
    • We have played FIFA on the Playstation (but not too much)
    • We enjoy cooking together
    • We are praying together (more later)
  1. Get ahead with your reading while enjoying a nice fire
    • Readers are leaders!
    • My goal is 40 books this year! I track my reading with Goodreads.
    • Video courses are good too! Melodee and I are signed up to a thinking course and I am signed up to a coaching course and a course on the book of Romans.
  1. Catch up on sleep
    • Ahhh..the elusive eight hours of sleep!  Its amazing how much better I can think when I take care of my sleep!
    • Enjoy the break!  Trust in God!  Rest is an act of faith in God’s ability to meet our needs.
    • Sometimes our sleep deprivation is not due to an actual need, but to bad choices. Netflix even admits that they’re main competition is with sleep!
  2. Catch up on your housework
    • Put stuff away finally! Or get the kids to put their stuff away!
    • Declutter your life. Evaluate what you have, what you actually need, what you could get rid of.
  3. Care more about those who are at risk with the virus
    • We have several in our congregation that are high risk.  We pray for them and keep in touch with them.  Unfortunately many older people have died because of the indifference of people toward keeping the virus from spreading.
  1. Family worship
    • We had an extraordinary time of worship Sunday as a family. Melodee played the piano, I played guitar, Noah ran the PowerPoint off our TV and Eva stood up and sang her heart out!  Of course the kids enjoyed choosing the songs, and Noah even read us a Psalm!
    • Our kids loved it!  They want to do it again!  I only asked why we had not done this sooner…it took a worldwide pandemic to make this possible!
Technical difficulties
  1. The opportunity to team up with others
    • Daniel and Danilo worked feverishly to get something up for our team.
    • Wednesday night’s test run was incredibly well attended and there was very good interaction.  Danilo’s sister even recorded herself singing along with the worship songs!
    • You can see the service here.

You can join our services too! Click here!

  1. Encourage others
    Make time to encourage others or to show the love of Christ, even to unbelievers. People are more then ever hungry to make sense of all this. They are more than happy to receive a verse of encouragement in a time such as this. Make the most of every opportunity! Ephesians 5:16
    1. Use Facebook
    2. Connect with Whatsapp. Here in Italy most people use this way to send text messages, video conference calls and audio message, as well as Bible verses!
    3. Make a phone call (novel idea!)
  2. Realize how much you love your church
    • Our church people are writing up a storm of encouraging messages!
    • Our people would have been willing to be infected by the virus to spend time together!  Fortunately with today’s technology that is not necessary!
  3. Stop to realize how much you love and need God
    • Get your prayer life and devotional life back on track.
    • Read some deeper books about life. Journal.  Pray.  Meditate on God’s word.
    • Read some puritans, or even better read through the Psalms, or Romans! Or Job!

Don’t get frustrated if you don’t get to do all that you hope to do.

You have to roll with the punches a bit, especially with children, but I guarantee that it will be a memorable time that God can use in your life!

What is your list? Feel free to come up with your own list and share it here!

Reaching the Halfway Mark

 

Entering Whitman

As we reach the half-way mark of our furlough, we are grateful to all that God has done through us and the blessings we have received.

We have re-cast the vision of all that God is doing in over twenty churches, plus visiting many individual partners.

One of the fun part of our travels has been to visit fun and interesting places.  On our recent trip to Massachusetts, we made two interesting discoveries.

Whitman, Massachusetts and chocolate chip cookies

Yum!

How could we pass off an opportunity to visit a town actually called Whitman?

It turns out that it is kind of a scary town (There was an abduction the day we were there!).  But historically, it is home of one of the greatest American inventions: the chocolate chip cookie!

The Wightman Cemetery

Wightman Family Graves

Wightman Family Graves. In the forefront, Timothy Wightman and his wife.

On our way from New York City to Massachusetts, we stopped at an old cemetery outside Groton, Connecticut, near where there used to be a Baptist church.  The plaque on the cemetery claims that it was the first Baptist church in Connecticut.

The interesting thing is that this church and cemetery were founded by Valentine Wightman, a Baptist pastor whose father was an immigrant from England.

Wightman Monument

Monument to the Reverends Valentine, Timothy and John Gano Wightman

Valentine’s son and grandson also became pastors of the same church.

Their tombs and their lives remind me of the great heritage our family has had for many centuries in Christ.  In Paul’s words: “I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience” (2 Tim. 1:3 ESV)

Thank you for your continued prayers, and we look forward to sharing more blessings with you as we head into the second half of our time here in America.