Paddy Ivey’s Testimony
When our President first announced the lockdown, (state of emergency) and Covid restrictions, none of us really knew what was in store for us. The only thing we did know, was that nothing was going to be as it was before. Suddenly we couldn’t meet with others, family or otherwise in groups, we couldn’t gather to watch sports games or congregate in large crowds or meet in our church to worship. We were told to wash our hands regularly thru the day, not to touch our eyes and to keep a social distance from others in the shops or sidewalk.
We had watched the news reports of a disease coming out of China and listened to various alarming stories, some based on ‘fact’ and others very much in ‘conspiracy theory’ mode, marking ‘the beginning of the end!’
The one thing that was so alarming is that the whole world was ‘taken hostage’, without a fight. Everybody gave up their civil liberty and willingly stayed home. Non-essential shops, factories and work places closed their doors and those lucky ones who could, worked from home. The hospitality industry suffered severely, waitrons who relied on tips for a living were suddenly unemployed. Tobacco and alcohol were banned and only essential food shops remained open. Many of our congregation were ‘confined to barracks’(those living in retirement homes) and kept almost in isolation. This has been a long, stressful year but through it all, our Lord has been faithful.
Because of the lockdown, many of the churches ‘went digital’ and we were part of this innovation. Peter sent out regular ‘Wednesday Word’ Bible studies, as well as ‘Sunday Sermons’ to keep us, the congregation spiritually sound and fed.
But then, our president announced that churches could reopen with a maximum of 50 people in attendance. The excitement was palpable, like Christmas time for a child! What we had taken so much for granted in the past and now were going to enjoy again. We sanitised the church, pews, toilets, put away the books and screened words instead and installed hand sanitisers at the door as well as recording of temperatures of everybody who came. What happiness…….. I will never forget the joy of congregational singing and worship, as we all came with one accord to meet our Lord in our sanctuary.
“Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25
What a wonderful God we serve! One who knows my name, who cares for me.
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!” Ps 31:24 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10