One of the most significant difficulties that the Covid-19 pandemic caused in the Philippines is the national lockdown. Unlike other countries, where you had the option of staying at home, wearing your face mask and shield, even deciding to take your kids out or not, it wasn’t so in the Philippines. In the Philippines, it was mandatory. Breaking the law meant being fined or going to jail, so this wasn’t an option. The military enforced it. It’s been like that since March 2020.
We have had quite a lot of restrictions, and they varied per age grade. It affected children under the age of twenty-one, older people who were above sixty-five years, and pregnant women. They were all confined to their home. While some people in various places were able to leave their homes and towns, the people in these categories couldn’t, which was enforced by the military. A quarantine pass is issued to only one member of each family, meaning only one member of a family can go shopping for family needs. Travel passes are issued by the local government, with military checkpoints scattered throughout all the cities of the country.
In some areas, people who desired to leave their home brought out their kids, elderly ones, and their pregnant women. The outcome of this was that the military officials forced them back into their houses. Some were even fined for not wearing their facemask in their own front yard (not public property). For some months, they interposed public transportation, so people, including single mothers, had to walk long distances to buy their groceries. They had to trek back and forth to get groceries, which was very exhausting. Down certain streets, tanks were released on citizens to “keep them in check” and abide by the new lockdown guidelines. Many of those people are currently without jobs.
Down certain streets, tanks were released on citizens to “keep them in check” and abide by the new lockdown guidelines. Many of those people are currently without jobs.
There are a couple of things that we never thought would be such a big issue. For example, you never think about the freedom you enjoy until you lose it. The freedom to go to the market and take your kids with you, especially if you’re a wife or a mother. In a situation like this, you can’t go to the market with your kids; they have to stay at home, and someone has to watch them, which would be another problem because who then is going to work?
That’s an added stress. Minor things like going to the market now involve so much thinking and planning. When will it take place? Who will take care of the kids while the other parent is gone? How will he do it? Quarantine passes, travel passes, identification cars, face masks, face shields, the list goes on and on. There would be a lot to consider for something that used to be simple, especially in situations like us as missionaries, as our family isn’t living near us; they are in another country. Not only do we have to think about moving the mission forward in the midst of a national crisis, but now we have to strategize who is going to look after the kids for something as simple as grocery shopping. Kids aren’t even allowed into parking lots. They aren’t even legally allowed to leave their homes. At this point, for nearly a year!
…we have to strategize who is going to look after the kids for something as simple as grocery shopping. Kids aren’t even allowed into parking lots. They aren’t even legally allowed to leave their homes. At this point, for nearly a year!
Before, if you have a baby, you would bring a stroller and take your baby with you. You’d have your kid, and then you walk around and pick out the items you want to buy. Presently, you can’t do that because kids can’t leave their homes, and what makes it even more difficult is that if you’re pregnant, you can’t leave your home either.
The aftermath is that it makes you think about your kids’ welfare, emotionally, socially, and spiritually since they can’t go out and socialize normally. Recently, this is one of the things that we’ve been discussing with our daughter, Ariela. She can’t go to parks because they’re all closed down, and she also can’t go to the supermarket and shop anymore with the family. She can’t go to the mall because they’re not allowed; she can’t walk around the street because that’s not allowed either.
In trying to explain why she couldn’t do those things, narrate what is happening around the world, and demonstrate that Jesus loves her and the Father has a plan for her, we discovered that the best thing for our kids was to let them know what matters. By that, I mean, when you look at a family, what’s important is that the parents are interested in their kids. The kids could have friends, but the parent acts the central role that has significant impact, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually.
So, I’ve been taking Ariela on a lot of daddy-daughter dates. Although she can’t go into the market, we eat in the car, and we manage to eat on the sidewalk when she can’t get into a restaurant, even a 7-11. You can guess already that I’ve been trying to find unique ways to make her know that she’s significant to me, that her identity isn’t based on whether we can go somewhere, buy something or act some way because now she can’t go anywhere. Her entire identity and worth is built on how much I love her as a dad and how much we love her as a family. Our kids won’t believe in Jesus’ love unless they see it in their parents first.
Faith was born during the COVID-19 lockdown, so she has barely seen cars in the city or travel and seen kids. She was amazed the first time she saw a dog because she has never seen a street dog before. But I’ve realized over the period of the last nine months that the most important thing to kids is the investment that the parents sow into the family and also the revelation they have on how much God, the Father, loves them and how we as parents can be a witness to that, regardless of our circumstances.
Faith was born during the COVID-19 lockdown, so she has barely seen cars in the city or travel and seen kids.
So, I just want to encourage everybody or anyone who is having a difficult time. Everybody in certain countries. I realize it will be tough for pregnant women and families, kids and the elderly as well. If we’re trying to find a way to make a difference, one of the biggest ways to make a difference is simply by loving those around you, giving them time and connecting to their hearts, verbally and physically, and letting them know that they are significant in our lives. However, you do it; whether you go on a daddy-daughter date or go as a family.
Children will always know if they are loved, even if they don’t go out to get new things and see new places. During the lockdown, we had to learn what is really important to us and our family, not just during great times but hard and difficult times.
Children will always know if they are loved, even if they don’t go out to get new things and see new places.
During this time, the Lord has brought us back to the fundamentals of God’s love, the basics of family and discipleship. Even though we couldn’t experience a massive harvest this year the way we did in the past, we were able to see a massive harvest in the hearts of our disciples and family members. We believe that the transformation and priorities that God gave us in this season would be priorities and heart posture that we would keep even after our national lockdown.