As my annual Philippines visit came to an end, unexpected rumours began to circulate that I was an ill foreigner and may be carrying COVID-19.
I was at church while this false news spread quickly around the town.
During the night, flashing torches and the sound of loud noises came through the windows. It sounded like someone was knocking and pushing at the main house door.
“Lord, you must really want me to leave tomorrow!”
So Sunday afternoon we hired a tricycle bound for the Seventh-day Adventist radio station, but the tricycle motor kept stalling on the highway.
“What now Lord? We don’t want to get stuck on the road and it is getting late.” Luckily we found the fuel filter had blocked!
On Monday morning, during my devotion, I got the strong urge to “leave”. At the highway intersection there were lots of people queueing up at a check point, with all kinds of vehicles stopped and no one sure why. Luckily, on arriving at a bus terminal, there was one bus ready to depart, bound for the big city where my other family live—and closer to the airport to return to Australia.
The next morning, on March 14, the news said “lockdown”. We had only just got through. God was in control of everything.
Flights were cancelled so I decided I needed to find a place to stay, to isolate as best I could. Eventually, after lots of searching, an apartment belonging to my brother-in-law’s nephew was offered to me. The previous tenants had just moved out two days before.
After three weeks at the apartment, I received good news. The Australian Government was calling all citizens to come home, and Australian passport holders could register with the Philippines embassy via email (my husband did all this on my behalf). After a few days my husband received the wonderful news that Philippine Airlines had put on special flights for Sydney and Melbourne.