As March approached, excitement was building for our participation with other Resonate Global Mission missionaries in a spiritual retreat that would be held in the Dominican Republic March 11 to16.
We were just beginning to hear news of the coronavirus but at that point we were not concerned that this would affect our ministry in Merida, Mexico, or our travel plans—much less that we would contract the virus ourselves!
It was a wonderful retreat with Rev. John Algera as our speaker. One of the themes was the importance of prayer and seeking solitary times with God during each day. One verse he emphasized was Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God…”
Little did we know how appropriate seeking solitary times with God would be in the days and weeks ahead! As our retreat days were quickly coming to a close, the coronavirus was also spreading and becoming a clear and present danger throughout the world.
Our plans after the retreat were to visit family and friends in New Jersey and California. But we realized the need to modify our plans, and were thankful to be able to return directly to our home in Merida, in Mexico’s state of Yucatan.
We arrived home Monday evening March 16, thankful for health and to be in our own home. We self-quarantined immediately.
Two days later, without warning, I began to feel extreme back pain so much so that it kept me awake for a few nights. That followed by neck pain and pain throughout my body. In the coming days, I also had a low-grade fever, dry cough, sore throat, extreme fatigue, and weakness, followed by a painful rash.
“Standing in our kitchen one morning I began feeling panicky, watching my otherwise strong and healthy husband sick, weak and in pain,” remembers my wife, Shirley. “I called out to the Lord to guide me in what to do. God graciously brought to mind a nurse and doctor, friends of ours. They immediately made themselves available to us and stayed in daily contact.”
“As John’s symptoms worsened, I commented to the doctor my desire to know if this was a strain of Influenza or something else. The following morning, April 1, the doctor personally brought orders to a lab for John’s tests. Later that same day the lab sent someone to our home. He arrived with his protective gear, and had John sit in the doorway of our home as he was tested.”
On April 2 the results came back negative for Influenza A and B and positive for COVID-19.
Since we were both in quarantine we took every precaution necessary in order for me not to pass it on to Shirley. This was one of the most difficult aspects for me to adjust to. Two weeks after my symptoms started Shirley also had symptoms of the coronavirus. She was not tested but our medical friends believe that she, too, contracted the virus.
We are now into our seventh week of quarantine! What has it been like to be in quarantine for that length of time? There were moments of discouragement and frustration, and concern for what might happen. We leaned hard into God for his help, asking him what he wanted to teach us through this time.
Throughout this long illness, the words from Psalm 46:6 “Be still and know that I am God...” that we heard at the retreat kept coming back to me. The verse has been a guide for me as I realized how much God wanted me to be still before him!
The Lord and his Word have become even more precious to us. Despite the difficulty, we have enjoyed this time as a couple and benefited from moments of meaningful conversation together.
Now, almost all of our symptoms are gone. We praise God for His healing touch on our lives. This has been an unforgettable experience for us both! We have been overwhelmed by God’s infinite love for us demonstrated through his people, the church. As soon as word was out that John was sick:
Friends around Mexico, Honduras, Cuba, and other places began praying for us.
We have received loving messages, emails, phone calls, and many offers to buy groceries and run errands.
One Mexican couple who themselves have limited financial resources wanted to send us help for our expenses!
Another young musician sent us a video of herself singing a beautiful song to encourage us!
Our children and grandchildren and families stay lovingly connected with us.
Our fellow Resonate colleagues sent us many encouraging messages.
Lisa, the coordinator for the Volunteer staff at Resonate, upon hearing the word, immediately sent several helpful suggestions for us.
Resonate staff assured us of their daily prayers and support. Each day we are humbled by the incredible outpouring of Christ’s love through his body, the church.
We have recovered to the point where we are able to reach out to others. We know of many people here in Merida who have lost their jobs or have suffered a cut in wages. Several of those we know personally are young couples just starting out. We have the opportunity to encourage them, helping them to find ways to meet some of their financial needs.
According to government officials, Merida is now at the stage most critical for the spread of the virus. People in Merida have been ordered to stay at home or allow only one person in a car for essential travel. All must wear masks in the car or on the street. Most restaurants have closed, and a few are open for pick up or delivery only. Schools are all closed with students taking classes online, however not all have computers or Internet connection.
Please pray for our neighbors here in Merida! With so many people at home and living under stressful conditions, there is an increase in domestic violence. As people in Mexico and around the world suffer we know that God is always present in suffering.
Thank you for your prayers. Pray for us that God would show how best we could be a shining light in this dark hour of the coronavirus.
John and Shirley Wind served for 33 years as missionaries with Resonate Global Mission. Now, serving as Family Ministry Volunteers, the Winds continue to develop family ministry in Mexcio and Latin America.