• Wanda Saunders

Church update 3/14/20

Good day church,

I know many of you are feeling stunned with the events in our country in these historic days; me too. Although I tried to give you some warning of what I could see coming, I've been surprised by just how fast circumstances have changed.

The next step, when containment no longer works, would be to ask people to employ “social distancing”. Social distancing will be important but unpleasant. Social distancing – avoiding crowds and keeping people apart whenever possible – cannot prevent the spread of the virus. But it may slow it down, which has two huge benefits if it works:

► It decreases the number of people who are sick at the same time, which will lighten the load on hospitals.

► It buys time for the development of a vaccine.

The most obvious social distancing strategy is for people who are sick to stay away from people who are healthy. It is extremely important not to go out when you think you have symptoms or think you may have been exposed.

I need to elaborate on social distancing. This virus is highly contagious and insidious because it stays hidden for a while. People can be infected yet feel fine and at the same, time pass it to those they come in contact with. As of last night there are 30 reported cases, none in Southwest Virginia. It is important you know, that does not mean there are no cases here. There will be unreported, unidentified cases here for at least a week or two before the first reported case. That's why the social distancing is beginning now and not then.

Why is it important to slow down the spread? The rate at which infections are growing is exponential. That means in a fairly short time, unless we can slow it down, the healthcare system will be overwhelmed. There will be too few doctors, nurses, beds, emergency equipment to handle the load. That will cost lives of the very sick

who might otherwise have been helped to recover.

For us to meet now would not be a witness of bold fearless faith. If we spread it to others by ignoring social distancing we would come to see that as a callous carelessness based on ignorance. That's not who we are. I agree God has not given us a spirit of fear. He has also told us to love our neighbor as our self. Avoiding giving our neighbor the Corona Virus so

they don't end up in the hospital, at a time when hospitals are least able to help, seems the loving thing to do.

I realize this is disturbing to even think about. Denying or pretending there is no risk will not help us. To react with panic is not helpful either, as it makes no positive difference and leads to foolish decisions. What is needed is much prayer coupled with prudent preparation.

Physical preparation will be more difficult now. As you can, I'd still encourage you to stock up on groceries. The social distancing may become more stringent soon.

Emotional preparation. This will not last. We will get through this, no matter if it’s relatively easy or very hard. I liked what Sue put in an e-mail, "On a happy note, spring is showing her colors in Virginia. COVID-19 is not stopping the blooms, bird songs, and green leaves emerging. There is so much to be thankful for, including each of you."

For most, it won’t be that bad of an illness, but remember you can protect others by helping to slow down the spread. Do not give in to fear. Read Romans 8:31-39. I’m sure that includes this virus. God is with us.

Spiritual preparation. Be constant in prayer. Ask the Lord to do something miraculous. Ask God for wisdom. I’m still praying God will change or even eliminate this virus. Let’s continue to pray and trust God. Our God reigns. Read the Word daily and take the encouragement to heart. If you talk with fearful family or friends, share with them the hope and security that’s forever. Share Christ with them.

Come what may, remember this, you will not go through this alone. God is with us and one of the ways His is with us is through each other. We've been preparing phone lists to maintain contact to encourage and protect each other. We will need some volunteers to make a few phone calls each day to a list of folks. Let me know if you'd like to help and I'll give you more information on what I've got in mind.

Church is not a place, it's the family of God. Our focus will not be on going to church. We will focus on being the church, especially through such a time as this.

If you need help, please, let it be known and I'll do my best to see you are helped. I love you all and more importantly, God loves you.

By His Grace,

Pastor Dennis

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