After six and a half months in Australia, once again separated from my wife due to the pandemic, I managed, on Christmas day, to return to South Africa…and I am stuck here again. Not a bad thing. I have learnt in the past year that plans last only as long as everything else that is cheap.
I have heard that when life gives you lemons you should make lemonade. Through faith in God, we can make something extraordinary out of the worst possible circumstances. Now is the time for wisdom, sourced from above. Billionaire globalists, bankers, governors, and mega-corporations should not be the only ones allowed to make lemonade.
We too can exploit times of crisis to further the agenda of God.
The doors of the church are closed in most parts of the world. Borders and nations can shut or open at a moment’s notice. If you want to get somewhere outside of your hometown, you need to find the gap in the door and make a run for it, knowing that it may lock shut behind you.
If the second, more deadly strain that South Africa is dealing with spreads further abroad things are going to shut down for a long time. I have never seen anything like what I have seen since arriving here. I am in KZN, one of the nation’s worst hotspots, and people are dying at an incredible rate. My father-in-law is doing COVID-19 funerals almost every day.
Chances are that everyone in the community here will experience the death of someone close or someone they know every single day now. Numbers have become familiar faces and the situation is incredibly sad. Established and older ministers and pastors will either be busy burying the dead or at home looking after their own health. Now is the opportune time for the young to pluck up their courage, pick up their cross and continue the mandate of Jesus to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth.
For those who have God-given dreams of becoming long-term missionaries to foreign nations, now could be the time to go. The cost and red tape involved in obtaining long-term visas has always been one of the most difficult parts of residing for extended periods of time in another nation.
Having overstayed a visa once before and being banned from re-entering South Africa for a year, I was concerned when I overstayed once again due to COVID-19 at the beginning of 2020. It wasn’t a problem, however, as overstays are simply stamped as COVID-19 and future re-entry is not affected. If you are young and free with little tying you down in your home nation, and manage to get an exemption, consider your mission field. If you can get there, you may just get stuck for a good length of time. Faith will determine the rest. Aside from my advice that goes against the grain I thought I would also share some more practical advice for international travel itself:
1. If you are not prepared to lose all you have, even just to re-unite with family members, do not travel.
2. Check all COVID-19 regulations for departure nation, transit nation and nation of arrival. Check off every requirement and be prepared. You will also be given limited time frames to do testing etc before departure, so you need to be on the ball.
3. Become a member of your airline of choice and book and travel exclusively through them. Do not book tickets with different airlines from places of transit for any international flights. Do not transit at all if possible. Do not use travel agents. I would recommend Singapore Airlines or Emirates, who have guarantees in place and maintain high standards. Singapore Airlines kept in constant contact with me about the requirements I needed to fulfil before going to the airport.
4. You still might get stuck and short-changed. It is a gamble, but you will feel like a high roller when there are only twenty other people on your flight.
5. I wore a sports mask with Velcro that goes around the neck at the back on my trip from Brisbane to Johannesburg. It is much more comfortable than the surgical mask over the ears but on my last domestic flight from Johannesburg to Durban, after spending the good part of 24 hours with a mask on, I was literally gasping for breath. Surgical masks are easier to breath in if wearing for a long period. Alternatively keep a drink in your hand if you can in airports and on the plane and sip on it often so you can pull the mask down and keep your immune system strong. There will be plenty of space from others if that is a concern for you.
6. Make sure you have contacts overseas who are prepared to house or host you and help you for long periods of time if you cannot return home.
7. If you are going to any high-risk country and it is possible to obtain, take Ivermectin, if you have enough it is a great preventative, otherwise as soon as you develop symptoms, I have seen it work and taken it myself. Do not believe anyone who censors it or says it has no value against COVID-19. It works especially in early stage.
8. Pray and have faith. Put God’s kingdom first. People will judge you and think you are stupid. Cross-carrying is dangerous, and the stigma remains. The gospel is everlasting. The Good News of Jesus Christ is the only narrative that will win in the end. Turbulence is to be expected, but we will make it through.
Joshua Robbie is currently serving the Lord under Pastors Ronnie and Shirley Naidoo of KZN Celebration Centre in Tongaat South Africa. He and His wife Rene’ moved from Australia to South Africa in April 2016. Their desire is to help in whatever way they can so that the church can become all that God has purposed her to be. Josh is a painter by trade and also enjoys sports such as surfing, basketball and boxing. He has also written a book, now available for purchase on Amazon called: “Your Father sees: Living the sermon on the mount”.Josh Robbie previous articles may be viewed http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/josh-robbie.html