All too soon it was time to return to Indonesia, which meant finding a place to do COVID-19 tests that would hopefully have the right timing to meet the shifting requirements. We found a great clinic that worked with us, and ended up doing two PCRs just to make sure we covered all our bases. There were a few stressful moments, but the Lord worked it out.
We were on the same flight with C.J. from Hilton Head to Charlotte, where we had to say a hard good-bye. Then it was on to Chicago O’Hare. We boarded our fourteen-hour international flight to Qatar, where we met up with our teammates’ family so we could be together on the last flight to Jakarta. After a rugged eight-hour delay, we left Qatar at three o’clock in the morning. We were finally heading to Indonesia!
Each time we boarded a flight, there had been some questions about our paperwork and visa, and even some tense moments when their machines didn’t want to “read” our visa. We had quietly stood at the counter each time, praying, and reminding ourselves, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?”
Upon landing in Jakarta, we were now required to do a 5-day quarantine at a hotel, which included two more PCRs. If they were both negative, then we could board our last flight to Papua and go home. The first PCRs came back negative. Phew. We were all healthy, so we didn’t think much about taking our second PCR on the fourth day. But as I opened the email with those results, I scrolled down to see my name and the word “positive.” My blood froze. I scrolled down farther. Both Dave and Ryan’s were negative.
“Dave!” I cried, tilting my laptop so he could see, and glancing up at him with large eyes. How could I have COVID? I felt totally fine! When we found out a few minutes later that our teammates’ family had four of their five tests come back positive too, we started to wonder if we had all picked it up on that last flight.
We requested to do a re-test immediately just to see by chance if it was a false positive. Then began a waiting game. I didn’t feel sick, but the more I paid attention to my body, little things would jostle my peace. I have allergies, but that night I silently wondered if I was experiencing more drainage than normal. Maybe I am a little bit sick, I thought.
The next morning, sitting on the bed working on my laptop, I started to feel slightly warm. Do I have a fever? I thought. Maybe I am sick. At 10:00am I decided to call down to the front desk and see if the results of the re-test were in yet. The man at reception told me he would go check. I waited on the line, looking up nervously at Ryan – wondering if our fate would be decided momentarily.
“Hello?” came the man’s voice again.
“Yes?!” I blurted out nervously.
“I’m sorry, but your results were positive. You will not be able to stay at this hotel any longer. Please wait for us to call you with more instructions.”
My heart sank. I hung up the phone and stared at the floor. “Oh, LORD,” I prayed silently. “Help me to have a good attitude about this. Help us to know that You will take care of us. Is anything too hard for You?”
I walked slowly over to Ryan and told him the news. “Well, I can’t starve in another two weeks,” he said resignedly. His biggest fear in moving hotels was that he wouldn’t like the food.
“The LORD has helped us our whole trip and He’s brought us this far,” I said, trying to muster my courage. “He will bring us home.”
I told Dave, and then our family jumped into action. I called and changed our plane tickets, which were for late that night. We started searching online for hotels that were available for COVID-19 positive people to stay at. We quickly learned you could only go to one of the allowed hotels if you had no symptoms. Our teammates joined the search, assuming their re-tests would be positive too.
At the top of the website I was on, a picture came into view. It appeared to be a hospital room. There were two single hospital beds inside it, separated by a thick green curtain. The beds had bright green sheets on them. They were empty, just waiting for a poor COVID-19 positive person to occupy them. The floor was white tile, giving the small room a sterile feeling. Some black hospital machines sat menacingly behind the beds, and two nurses were preparing each bed. They had protective garb on, and a mask and face shield, and something covering their hair.
I felt a surge of fear tear through my body. I glanced over at Dave with wide eyes and whimpered, “please don’t let them take me away from you!” As images of a 14-day quarantine stuck in one of those lonely hospital beds began to swim in my head. I reached out and took his hand. “Whatever happens, promise me we’ll stay together!”
“Of course,” he responded in an encouraging tone. “Is anything too hard for the LORD?”
I smiled. His words jolted me back to reality. Somehow, deep down inside, I did believe that God would take care of us. No matter what.
Just then the phone rang. I jumped up to answer it, expecting to hear our next set of directions. “Hello? Ibu Linda?” the man asked.
“Yes,” I responded, waiting. I noticed it was a different voice form the previous one I had talked to.
“I am calling to tell you that your third PCR test result just came back, and it is negative. You can check out today.”
Stunned and confused, I hesitated for a moment. “Are you sure?” I managed to ask, incredulous.
“Yes, we just got the result back. You can check out now.”
A new reality settled in. With wide eyes again, I looked over at Dave and Ryan who had both stopped mid-step wondering what had been said on the phone.
“He just told me it was negative!” I cried. “We get to go home!” I ran up to Ryan, who had an expression of absolute delight on his face and took his hands and we began jumping up and down together in excitement.
“Is anything too hard for the LORD?” We all said jubilantly. “Is anything too hard for the LORD?! God is taking us home!”
Dave smiled and said, ”Well, I’d better call everyone back and tell them you’re negative!” and proceeded to get busy on his phone.
Come to find out, the previous person I had talked to had not understood that I was asking about my third PCR, so he went and looked up the results to my second one, which were the false positive. Our teammates’ family’s tests all came back negative too! Thankfully I was able to switch our plane tickets back to that night. It never felt so good to board that night flight together and sojourn back home to Sentani!
How about you? Is there something you are facing in your life that seems impossible? Insurmountable? Like Abraham, has God promised you something that has not come into fruition yet? Don’t be afraid to take God at His word. Truly nothing is too hard for Him.