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The Coronavirus Diaries: Keep Moving On

Wednesday February 17 2021


The Rev Daniel Izquierdo Hernández is minister of Lunyano Congregation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Cuba. He says the church has shown it can continue its work while staying responsible during the pandemic.

The day is far past when the new coronavirus left Asia and moved to the American continent.

For a small nation like Cuba, located in the Caribbean Sea, the probable solution to prevent the entry of the virus was to close the borders to tourists and international traffic in general. But for our poor island, with aggravated financial and economic difficulties, with a strong US embargo further exacerbated under the Trump administration, this solution implied cancelling the entry of necessary resources.

So, the government took measures to mitigate the impact of the arrival of Covid-19. And it was done well, with easy-to-use sanitary protocols given the conditions of our universal health system. But of course, the disease hit our nation, not at the levels reported in other parts of Latin America, but bringing deaths and anxieties that still linger. Furthermore, the figures have been aggravated in this new wave, perhaps due to the low perception of risk in a population that has become accustomed, if that can be said, to living with a disease that they do not want to respect, and prefer to live their life without the restrictions that the moment imposes.

As a father and pastor of a Presbyterian congregation in Havana, it was very difficult for me from the beginning to limit my pastoral functions, which I tried to maintain as much as possible, but under the premises of extreme care to protect my baby, who was few months old, and not to fail in preserving my family´s health. It was unprecedented not being able to congregate, not being able at times to even visit members in their homes. It was necessary to resort to the telephone and the use of the Internet - not always an easy task given the economic limitations of the Cuban population.

However, this time has taught us some things. First of all, the churches survive even though they could not congregate: a temple is not the condition that validates the existence of God's people. Second, we have seen a display of solidarity every time something has been needed, people contribute and are encouraged to support the needy in proportions of love that were not always seen under normal conditions. It has also been seen how prayer maintains a unity within the believers, interceding and praying for one another in a persevering way.

Every time I think about how God has protected me and my family, in the midst of all the actions that we still maintain as a church, I cannot help but recognise that individual responsibility, accompanied by the certainty of divine care, is an important combination for any eventuality.

We are still far from seeing this disease defeated, but in a certain way, we have already learned how to overcome it, since it has been possible to abandon an initial fear that paralysed, to give way to a responsible and careful action to avoid contagion, but without stopping what it must be maintained to continue to bear witness. We can thank God for all of this, and keep moving on.

The Coronavirus Diaries: reflections from Church of Scotland partners around the world

Canada: Cracks Have Been Exposed
Kenya: Leave No Child Behind
USA: Homes of Prayer
Mozambique: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
A Spaniard in Scotland: The Power of Movement
South Sudan: Being Positive
A Nigerian in Scotland: God is in Charge
Trinidad and Tobago: New Frontiers
Czech Republic: A Challenge for Everybody
Switzerland: An Outpouring of Solidarity and Creativity
The West Bank: A Landscape of Broken Dreams
Nepal: So Many Premature Goodbyes
Malawi: We Must Hold Each Other Close
Nigeria: A Fresh Spiritual Connectedness
Egypt: 'This Is A Time To Witness God'
Guyana: The Strength of our Connectedness
South Korea: A Harsh Reality
Zimbabwe: Convenience or a Wake-up Call?
Sri Lanka: Service is the Highest Form of Worship
USA: Testing Positive
Portugal: The Mission of the Church Has Not Changed
World Council of Churches: A New Dawn is Upon us
Hungary: Physically Distant but Close in Spirit
A German in Scotland: Something New Has Already Begun
Myanmar: We Will Overcome this Hardship
Ghana: This Too Shall Pass
Brazil: The Least We Can Do
Kenya: Caring for One Another in Christ
An Indian in Germany: A Time of Enrichment
Argentina: Time in Between
Malawi: 'My identity in Christ remains unchanged'
Jerusalem: Being Rather than Doing
Malawi: No Lockdown and an Election
Zambia: 'I will never leave you... or forsake you'
Czech Republic: The Covid Cover-up
Zambia: 'All Life is Sacred'
Israel/Palestine: 'The Air is Clear'
Nepal: 'Please Pray for Us'
Malawi: Tough Dilemmas
Italy: 'Together, We Will Get Through It'