On Wednesday, 11th March 2020, I visited a close relative in Rijswijk to discuss our counseling ministry for the Indonesian-Dutch community. I call the couple “uncle and aunty”. On that day, the uncle seemed to be coughing a little bit. During that time, Noord Brabant was already alarmed by the increased number of Coronavirus infections, therefore we had been very careful not to touch each other, I washed my hands when I came and when I left their house. But the distance of 1.5 m has not been applied on that day. Aunty could not wake up from sleep the night before, and uncle said that she was too tired after cooking for the fellowship on Tuesday (the night before). Aunty also has diabetes since decades. During several hours in their house, especially because I had lunch with the uncle and another friend and the food was cooked by aunty, I prayed for God's protection for all of us in my heart because I am a follower of Jesus.

On 15th March 2020 I got news that uncle and aunty were tested positive with having the Coronavirus and that she was in the ICU. I then immediately quarantined myself for two weeks. From this day everything changed; I was busy telling others about my quarantine, canceling many things that had been agreed upon, and it turned out that it needed a lot of time just to manage these things. Every meeting changed into an online meeting. During the quarantine period, I could not go to the supermarket, and many friends offered help to send food and other things. I felt how much my friends cared about me. It was a gift of love.

On 20th March when I prayed in the morning, I read the Bible and I got a message from God to take time to slow down, show His love & bring healing into people’s hearts. It was a clear personal message for me. But I did not completely understand the meaning. Then on 24th March I heard the sad news that our friend who sat with us for lunch with uncle had died because of the Corona virus. I was shocked. How could it be so fast? He was perfectly healthy when I called him on 17th March to tell him that uncle and aunty were ill because of the virus. He was in The Netherlands for a visit and he went back to Indonesia the day after our meeting. It seemed that he could not breath in the isolation room and the medical staff did not give proper help in time. I was so sad. But at the same time, many people in the group were also afraid because they had had contact with uncle. They knew that they could infect each other and no one knew who infected whom. I heard uncle and aunty got infected in a meeting and that another friend who was also in the meeting was infected. His mom was infected also. They were in the ICU of a hospital in Germany. Uncle was in hospital but not in the ICU. His condition was better than aunty’s.

Now, I understand what it means that I have to slow down, to show love to others, and to bring God’s healing to people’s heart. There are people around me who need peace and joy, forgiveness from each other. Sickness can be contagious, but forgiveness is also contagious (especially when your friend died because of a virus you brought). Today, 1st April, uncle’s condition is getting better and the friends in Germany are recovered, but aunty is still in coma. For me, the healing of a 72-year old uncle who had heart surgery in the past is already a miracle and a great answer to prayer. The healing of the friend and his mom after a critical condition is also a miracle. But most importantly: acceptance of each other and a healing of hearts. I see how love is shown everywhere!

Betty Sari

2020, April 1