One day Ariela sat up in her chair and asked me, “Daddy I want to go out again.”
I said, “Where do you want to go?”
She replied, “I want to go out shopping with Mommy. Then I want to go play games with you. And I want to go on a see saw. And I want to go swimming with you in a pool again and the beach. I want to go out again like we did before.”
I started looking into Ariela’s big beautiful eyes. In her eyes I saw the cry of a nation from the crises of COVID-19 Lockdowns in the Philippines, as well as the damage that could be done to her if I don’t find a solution to her not being able to leave her home.
Faith is also being born during a time of nationwide lockdown. She has also never been outside into the malls like a regular child. At one point from a window she saw cars and motorcycles passing by on the street, and at 7 months old she was mesmerized by vehicles.
As parents, our heart breaks for our children, but also for the children of the country. For a while we have been comparing our situation with others around us, as a way of making ourselves thankful that our kids don’t have it as bad as other kids around us. Which is entirely true. It’s very rare that a kid in the Philippines, or anywhere will have 29 acres to run around on in our YWAM PH Impact Campus. However, now coming on the sixth month of lockdown, we know that God has other solutions for our family as the lockdown might continue for the next 1-2 years. When you think about that down the line, being locked up in a home for that long, especially as a kid, can have long-term damage that will at one-point need to be healed.
Claudia and I started asking the Lord for a solution. We knew God has called us to go to the Philippines, and we know that we weren’t supposed to leave even through this global disaster.
As I leaned in and started talking to Ariela about all the things we can do as a family, the burden started lifting from her. We can still color and paint, run around, and play outside. We can still be together while so many other families out there are separated.
As I thought through all of the divorces, children abandoned, fathers not engaged with their children, the Lord reminded me that the greatest connection Ariela will need right now is with her parents. The blessing we have on base is that she is still surrounded by other staff she can socialize with. But, even with that, us connecting with her and raising her as her mom and dad will still be one of the most important relationships she will ever have.
And, while we are not perfect parents, God is. Pray with us as we continue to press into faith, hope, and love, for our family and the country during this global catastrophe.