In this season of the pandemic, we have been forced to isolate ourselves from each other and practice social distancing to avoid potential infection and spreading of Covid-19.
I believe we have all followed our country’s enforced guidelines and restrictions that have been preventing numbers of cases to rise but this has affected all of us, in every location, nation, individual, and family.
From March 2020, we’ve had a new worldwide common vocabulary and our vocabulary actually shapes our thoughts and actions. I hope we can soon reshape the phrases “social distancing”, “lockdown”, “home office”, etc.
I am sure that many of us have experienced fear, insecurity and loneliness the past few months, so it is so important that we reach out to one another, care for one another and continue to build community and trust. We may need to build new arenas for fellowship and community.
In the western world especially, we have seen an increase in individualism over the last few decades and I think the times we live in right now will increase that even more, especially if we don´t make conscious choices of choosing community over isolation. I am hearing people talk about how we live and how our work will change, maybe everyone will have their offices at home and meetings will happen over Zoom, teams will meet on Google, FaceTime … the list is endless. We are thankful for what technology has provided for us over these last few months when we were limited to our living rooms, but we can never underestimate personal interaction and we should never give up on meeting face to face. Humans are designed for interaction, relationships, fellowship and community.
So maybe this is just my heart’s cry, that I miss seeing you all in person!! I Wish I could ask; “how are you doing?”, and see your face, your real face (not coming out of a screen), and maybe even give you a hug (sometime in the future, for sure).
My grandmother, who has always been young in my eyes, (she was 39 when I was born) has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is now in a nursing home. I visited her this week and when she saw me I could see she remembered me. She impulsively gave me a hug, which we were not allowed to do but of course she doesn’t know anything about a worldwide dangerous virus that is depriving us of the need for physical touch. My grandmother needed a hug and wanted to show me affection. 

Our trust has to rise, not decrease or be stolen from us during this time of waiting for the world to get back to its normal self.
I want us to be able to go out and build a community again. To increase our trust in one another even more than before. It is a crucial ingredient of social interaction and relationships. I think trust is a component of love.
  To trust people we show that we love them and believe in them and when the community doesn’t stand up for each other/people when we isolate ourselves, trust automatically decreases. So please, I urge you to act at every moment and opportunity you have to build on and build up trust.
There is an African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child” and I think it is a beautiful picture of how communities that live out of trust and care for one another, can be described.
Please don’t let the technology fool you to isolate yourself, to think you have community because we need each other and we need the touch of other people, a real smile etc. What’s needed is someone saying to you “I trust you and believe in you”, and then being there for you. If you don’t have people like that in your life right now, go out and find them, reach out to someone.
I have to say, I preach to myself. I am amongst those who can easily isolate myself, not reaching out to others not taking initiative to take that phone call, or ask to visit and for me, that is probably due to fear of being rejected. Anyone else? My thinking is that I can do this by myself, not asking for help and that is totally pride!  I want to change and say, “I need you, and I need community, both to confront my faults, but also to grow and to be encouraged and trusted”.
We are not supposed to do this thing called life, alone!!!

Genesis 1:18
“The Lord said, “It is not good for the man to be alone”

I think this verse is not only about a man needing a woman, but about humans needing other humans in their life. We were made for relationships, and I believe relationships are a way God created reflection- a mirror- we are to mirror ourselves in one another- because that is when we can see God through one another- because we are made in the reflection- image of God.
With love and hugs,
Irene Botnehagen Saether

Irene and Rune Saether are from Norway and have had a heart for Central Europe since their first mission trip back in 1996 to Bucharest, Romania. In 2004 they moved to Constanta and in 2005 they took over as base leaders and lead the community for the next decade. They have remained involved in Constanta and are today working with an extended heart for Central Europe with Mission Innovation, a ministry based out of YWAM Constanta. They have four boys age 12 to 22 years old. They love sharing and teaching about leadership, vision and innovation. Irene is also coach at, both in the spheres of society and within our mission.