BLESSINGS FROM THE PANDEMIC-MY STORY
Lalit Dzifa Kodzo
Location: Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
Story Date: Jan – Dec 2020
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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In the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, I was in China, 4 months into my 2-year study with my family back in Ghana; my husband, two sons, and my mum. I was torn between travelling home to be with my family or staying put. As I prayed and spoke with my family back home, I felt I’ll stay back in China with the support and understanding of my family. Through daily calls, my family knew we were safe and they had nothing to worry about because I gave them up to date information of our safety.
Church service stopped with the restrictions that came with the epidemic and for a while, I had to rely on just reading the scriptures and messages from leaders. This actually helped me in a way because I developed the habit of studying church books that I would normally not read except for preparing a talk or lesson. I signed up for volunteer service at school and in one of the hospitals in our province. It was real scary hearing and reading the news circulating about the virus in other places apart from China. I just kept on praying that all will be well and things will get back to normal. In March, the virus was reported in Ghana and that’s when I really, like really got worried. I feared for my family and prayed that they would be safe.
We started holding online church service and I am grateful for technology. By this time, somehow, it had become a bit difficult for me to continue my routine of gospel study. It got to a point I would just read the scriptures like I was reading a story book. My prayers were routine and I struggled to stay in touch with members. Some families here made sure I was okay, they constantly sent messages to check on me but I still felt left out.
I threw myself more into my schoolwork and looking out for my classmates. Luckily, we could move within the hostel so I would move from door to door to check on my mates at least once every month. This and my volunteer services kind of got me going. The opportunity to serve others during this period was a blessing. I saw it as my own way of ministering. My faith was actually tried a little as I was moving in and out of active scripture study and prayer.
Volunteering gave me a sense of purpose and I knew I was helping in my own small way. It also helped me reach out to others. It gave me a reason to smile and laugh as I would present my broad smile before checking temperatures. I knew just as those smiles brightened my days, it did same for the recipients. Our volunteer sessions with international patients, trying to encourage them, give them hope to stay strong also helped me stay strong and strengthened my determination to stay safe.