Hello from Shenzhen, China! This picture was taken on January 26, 2020 from my balcony at the very beginning of our long coronavirus journey. Hope for the days ahead…. Little did we know then what was coming. 2.5 months later, I am still staying at home, safe and protected. At peace and rest with the love of God.
I posted in this group last night a picture of my little balcony here in China and among all of the wonderful well wishes and blessings there was a reoccurring question: “How are things going in China now?” The world maybe is wondering, how long will this last? If you are interested, please feel free to keep reading and I will share a little bit of what daily life looks like for me in China…
Yes, things are finally coming back to life. There is traffic on the street again, people are going back to work and businesses and restaurants are opening up. But, we are not at *normal* life quite yet. Actually, I hope we will all be changed by this and we will not have that *normal* life again. I still work from home, I’ve been to my office 2 times in 3 months. I only really leave my apartment complex to go running at the park next door and pick up my grocery delivery at my gate. If I do leave, the guards check my temperature and I must of course wear a mask. (Yes, even running…!)
I am registered in a city app that I must use if I want to take public transportation (haven’t done that in 3 months) or go in a taxi (did that 3 times) or visit public places like shops, other apartment complexes, restaurants (Nope, haven’t really done much of that either.) The app does two things: 1. Prove I am healthy (because I’ve registered as healthy, not traveling to Hubei, etc.) 2. Track me so if coronavirus is detected later on by the driver or whoever, I can be found and observed and quarantined. (Meaning hard 14-day quarantine in a sealed government designated hotel room.) But the biggest sign of not quite reaching *normal* yet: schools continue with online learning.
In the last 2 weeks there have been two significant events. March 27 China abruptly closed the border to all foreigners. This was a surprise to me, they gave 24 hours notice. I am a foreigner who has lived in China for 12 years. I am inside now, but if I step out of China, I will not be able to return. This was a sobering moment, but also a moment of gratefulness that God would allow me to be “inside” in this difficult time in China’s history. I hope to be a light I these dark days to the people I love.
The second significant thing is that yesterday, April 8 at midnight, China finally opened up the borders of Wuhan and Hubei province. My city is now bracing itself for the return of the MANY Hubei people who live in Shenzhen. Extra health and security measures have been set up all over the city to test all returnees and guard against further spreading of the virus.
I have been home “alone” for 2.5. months now and I will forever look back with fondness on these days. I say alone, but I don’t feel that way, Jesus is my constant companion. The Lord’s presence has become so near and close as there is time to pray, read the scriptures, worship and rest. Most of our lives have been stripped away, what remains? Only the real things, and that is glorious.
If you have gotten this far in this post, you are so wonderful! Thanks for spending this time with me. If you would like to read more about some of the boring yet possibly fascinating details of my coronavirus lifestyle (like pictures of my food delivery with a slip of paper attached recording the temperatures of the cook, packager and delivery guy assuring me that my food is virus-free or pictures of my elevator buttons covered and cleaned and a graphic on the floor instructing us to stand in the 4 corners…), please feel free to visit my personal Facebook page where I share some of my stories and pictures from this incredible time.
I have also begun a WeChat channel and podcast to broadcast encouraging messages every day. It is called Spiritual Waimai. “Waimai” is food delivery in China, when everything shut down here, my first thought was: how can we spiritually feed people? Spiritual Waimai was born. The articles/podcasts are in English and Chinese and you can search for us in iTunes, Spotify, Facebook and WeChat: Spiritual Waimai. This is not meant to be an advertisement, just a resource for you if you are interested in hearing more about my life in China and how we all can depend on the Lord to go through these important days. I pray that it will also feed your soul as we all look to God to lead us through this time.
God bless you dear friends. May God bless the nations of the world.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ”He is my refuge and y fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm. 91:1-2
Heidi Olson hosts the Spiritual Waimai Podcast