Covid-19 update 19 – Isolation

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Psalm 46:7

Today’s blog post is written by our Partnerships and Programmes Team, Amos Oumounabidji and Debbie Thompson (pictured above with Maman Jolie from BOMO, D.R.Congo) as they reflect how God is with them in their work during this time.

When we think about isolation, there can be several reasons for isolation.  Maybe as a time of retreat, to mourn a loss, or for health reasons, such as during this pandemic. Isolation is not necessarily bad, but people experience it in different ways.

At Rope our small team is working from home and dealing with a variety of isolation experiences. Some of us are managing children at home, others of us have underlying health conditions or have older or vulnerable relatives for whom we must care.

We, the Partnerships Team, are able to continue our work with our international partners and are used to working at a distance from our partners. In more normal times, part of our job is to find creative ways to communicate effectively with our partners across the continents. We use instant messaging, video calls, emails and visits. As a small organisation, our role is to work towards a deeper collaboration that grows the impact of our shared vision, a real partnership, not just the relationship between funders and beneficiaries.

Isolation has given us another dimension to our relationship with our partners. We have had more contact with them by telephone, WhatsApp and now by Zoom than ever before. There is also the sense that we, the whole world over, are sharing in a similar situation, as everyone is experiencing some degree of ‘lockdown’, so we share more in common than usual. We feel closer to them than we would have if the situation were normal. We pray for them and they pray for us too; the feeling that we know each other well is showing because there is a sense that we are ‘watching over’ one another.

Recently, our CEO encouraged us to recognise God’s presence through these times of transition and change. He showed us a beautiful picture of a full moon visible at sunset, a photo of day turning to night. He reminded us from Psalm 121:5-6 that just as day turns to night, and night into day, so ‘The LORD watches over you, the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.’

Isolation is allowing us in the UK and across the world to deepen in our commitment to watch over each other. At a distance we are perhaps more actively present for our relationships – since we are intentionally making time to call each other and check up on each other and show gratitude for those who help us. Perhaps we see each other and each day as a gift, in a way we did not before since life is less readily taken for granted. As we experience isolation let us be aware of the Lord watching over us, day and night, just as we are watching over one another more intently than before.

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