Celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, Darrell and Teresa Roberts, members of Oklahoma City, Quail Springs, boarded the Grand Princess Cruise ship on Feb. 21, in San Francisco to set sail for a Hawaiian cruise. At the time, very few cases of the Coronavirus had been reported in the United States.
Yet, the couple took extra precaution, packing sanitizing wipes and disinfecting spray.
The night before the captain’s alarming announcement that Coronavirus had infected the ship’s crew members and passengers, Darrell and Teresa sensed a different demeanor from crew members, allowing time for them to prepare for the unthinkable.
The 15-day cruise had one last port of call before the ship planned to disembark on the coast of California. During the night, the captain had rerouted the ship. On March 5, all passengers were asked to stay quarantined to their room.
Recalling the events of the last few weeks, Teresa paused and reflected what happened to them.
“We have been through a lot of stuff, and we have many stories, but God was in the details every step of the way,” she said.
The seven-day quarantine on the ship was spent circling international waters off the coast of California until the city of Oakland opened their port for the ship to be docked. These were uncertain times for the couple who had no connection to the outside world. Yet in their isolation, the Roberts knew they were not alone. The Lord comforted them through the reading of Scripture and the prayers from believers in Oklahoma and family and friends around the world.
During their time in quarantine, the couple was encouraged by the letters Paul wrote while he was under house arrest with little connection to others. The situation on the cruise ship was extremely fluid with plans changing daily. Even in the unknown, the couple never panicked or became frightened.
After disembarking the ship, Darrell and Teresa were able to visit with other passengers on their travels to be quarantined at the Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia. The Roberts took every opportunity to comfort fellow passengers and share the hope found in Jesus.
Thankfully, with no symptoms of the virus, Darrell and Teresa are now resting from their prolonged travels at their home in Edmond. As the final required days of quarantine are coming to an end, the couple counts it all joy (James 1:2). Now that Americans across the country are staying home and practicing social distancing, the Roberts offer the following encouragement in how to spend these days:
- Read the Bible and pray. Go back and read the promises. We are never alone.
- Remember to pray for our missionaries around the world. As missionary parents, the Roberts ask specifically for prayer, as missionaries are trying to navigate how to continue to share Jesus during this time of isolation.
- Count your blessings, just like the song, “name them one by one.” There are so many blessings that outweigh the Coronavirus.
- Take time to check in with others. Pray with your church family over the phone. Southern Baptists are not just cooperative in giving, but we are also cooperative in encouraging.
Teresa has great confidence during these challenging days. “The Lord of peace Himself will give you peace every day in every way,” she said, encouraging other Christians.