It’s 7:15 on Sunday. We’ve been up for a few hours already, though we had a lazy snuggle with the girls in the pre-dawn light. The plants are watered, laundry put away, compost turned, breakfast cooked and eaten and girls dressed. I’m preparing to wash the floors before our isolation pod arrives for coffee cake and church.
Sunday has become a highlight during the last few weeks of quarantine. At first, we were trying to stream services, but that proved challenging for the girls. So then we tried home church with the girls, which went a bit better but left me exhausted. Then on Easter we decided to do a group sharing and time of celebration and it went so well, we’ve created a new tradition.
Due to the significant lack of bread and sugar in our diet, back in January I started making coffee cake on Sundays for the girls and myself (Charles enjoys it too – he just doesn’t seem to crave it in the same way we do). We’ve incorporated this into our church time as the “start” of Sunday fellowship. After coffee cake I do a Children’s Service with the girls, following the SHINE curriculum that our home congregation Plains Mennonite shares in the e-bulletin each week. Then we gather as adults to sing together. After singing, we go around the circle and reflect on a theme. Reflections may include personal sharing, Bible verses, poems, stories or readings. We end in prayer. And then the habit of eating together continues during a shared lunch.
Our isolation pod includes our family, the recently arrived service worker and the YAMEN participant who are living with us, as well as two other YAMENers who are living together in an apartment nearby. Together the 8 of us represent 4 continents and many more languages. Still, we are able to sing “How Great Thou Art” in each of our first languages and youtube helps us navigate new songs we are teaching each other. We take turns choosing songs, cooking lunch and choosing the theme for the day. Today we’ll be reflecting on prayer.
While Cambodia is not locked down the way some other countries are and testing is limited, resulting in a sense of false security for many, we continue to function as though the pandemic is visible. Schools and churches are still closed, along with any gathering over 10 people. In the uncertainties, I’m grateful for people to have church with. I’m grateful for financial resources to manage the rising food costs. I’m grateful for a big house that I have to clean constantly (we’ve asked our house-helper not to come in because she’s in a high-risk category). And I’m grateful that the Holy Spirit comes to us where we are.