Special quarantine greetings! Here in Michigan, we are still in “lockdown” as of this writing. The COVID-19 pandemic abruptly changed life for our Stand in the Gap participants. Our “gappers” had all their services in the city (assisting an after-school program, visiting residents of a long-term care facility, helping with a preschool program, serving with youth
groups, being part of and serving the local UCO, and much more)
canceled. So, what did they do?
For some background, our gappers this year came from diverse places: two from Germany, one from Ireland, one from Ohio, one from California, and one from west Michigan. They came to Lansing, Michigan, without really knowing much about what they were getting themselves into.
Yup, they’ve become good friends!
Coloring Easter eggs during “stay at home”
There were some rough spots at the beginning, especially for the young women. They were all in household together (along with household leaders Marie DeMarais from Minne- sota and Cecilia Harvey from Michigan). None of the gappers had experienced anything like this before. Gab, our sole
guy gapper, lived with the Servants of the Word, in a house- hold of celibate men.
When the COVID-19 stay-at-home
order came in March and all the service opportunities ceased suddenly, the gappers were given the choice to return home or continue a very different Gap year. All of them chose to stay.
The household experience become much more intense than it had been. Cooped up with housemates 24-7 made for new challenges and new blessings. Stephen
Fun with eggs
All the gappers spending time together during lockdown
(that’s the top of Gab’s head on the iPad)
Giles, our Gap director, put together a program for them to do at
home. It called for additional time together in morning prayer, followed by exercising together (if the weather was nice, it was out on the lawn). They also took online courses through Hillsdale College and the “Great Courses” resource.
Maggie Schmidt, Gap director for the women, noted that the gappers were great about initiating service from home. For example, the sisters wrote letters to the resi- dents they had been visiting at the care facility. Gab, our guy gapper, took over all the cooking at his house and sanitized the whole place several times a day. The broth- ers were very blessed by his service.
Usually, there is a closing retreat for the gappers. Ste- phen replaced that with a campfire where they could maintain “social distancing.” The gappers began an im- promptu honoring session for one another and the Gap Directors and household leaders. The leaders also orga- nized a farewell “drive by” for our gappers. People from
Preparing for the “Farewell Drive By”
around the city and the state who knew them from UCO and various services drove by the girls’
house honking and waving signs.
We appreciate your interest in and commitment to our young people. In these changing and uncer- tain times, our Lord is certain and unchanging. He has a good plan for our gappers and all our youth, for us, for our programs, and for you, our partners in mission. May you be blessed and surrounded by the love of Jesus Christ in the summer months ahead!
Your brother in the Lord,