[Christmas Day. 6 pm]. Don’t know when I’ll be able to send this but, OH MY GOD! I’ve never seen so much craziness before in my whole life–and if you know my life…well, then you know that I’m really saying something. I’m in the gym, with at least a hundred other men. Rows upon rows of cots. Nearly 800 cases at SCCC as of this morning. So much sickness. Symptoms are slightly different for everyone. Ambulance has come at least once a day for nearly two weeks. [9 pm]. Here for three hours. Very noisy and chaotic. Christmas dinner this year consited of cold turkey, cold congealed potato/stuffing. No pie or cranberry sauce. Didn’t have an appetite for it anyhow. Made my cot (ha,ha) and read my bible until the lights went out just a moment ago. It always gives men pause to question when they see a man like me (bald, bearded, tattooed) reading the Word. Will be opportunities to talk to men about God in this place. Goodnight.
[Day 2. 12.26. 8am] Managed to get through the night. Feeling okay. A little stuffy. Headache. Woke up around 6:30 am. There is a brazen little bird flying around, buzzing folks, searching for food and a way out. Kind of annoying, knowing he’s up there in the rafters, shitting and shedding, and cascading dust. Hopefully he finds his way out today. Other folks are pretty upset about it. [Day 2 nearing an end]. Group effort to lure the bird out a success. I did not participate–only watched with humor. The Muslims seemed most concerned with the bird, as if the bird could somehow taint them. Group of men left today, bound for a “recovery unit”. Another group of covid positives replaced them immediately. Passed my day reading the Word, reading Nat. Geographics, exercising, updating this log. Staff are doing a pretty good job trying to keep us happy after recent uprisings. Nurse came by and checked everyone’s vitals. Lots of testing and “checking” on things since outbreak on Dec. 3, though I am shocked to report that medical staff have not once, not once, and not in any unit or quarantine zone, offered even Tylenol, symptom relievers, or fever reducers???
[Day 3 of Quarantine. Day 7 since the sickness hit me. 12.27] Breakfast was boiled eggs and tri-taters. It think I’m starting to get my senses of taste and smell back. Waiting patiently. Cough persists, but only as a mild irritation. Fever is gone. Headache, body aches abating gradually.
[DAY 4] Secured a space, established boundaries for men to respect. Falling into a regiment (exercise, study, shower, etc.). Conditions are okay for me, but very poor for others, as quarantine placements do not always allow for preparation. Example: some folks in this zone have no changes of clothing, no hygiene, no basic staples. They cant brush their teeth or change their underwear. Guards and nurses are too overwhelmed to attend to relief requests, which causes some men to “snap” (with good reason, I might add) and opt to go to segregation, where at least basic needs will be met. I try to help where I can, and the Lord is providing increasing opportunies to speak of Him. 20 men preparing to return to units today, which means 20 new faces in varying stages of sickness will be arriving today.
[Day 6. 12.29] The exodus and influx was delayed until today. Most people are healthy enough, but a few are in very bad shape. One man had to get hooked up to a breathing machine and placed on IV drip. There is a triage built right into the quarantine zone with one bed. Its not enough. And the man in that bed right now belongs in a hospital, not a makeshift triage. Hard to watch people as their life force is draining slowly out of them, and as they are being managed like so many sacks of grain in a warehouse. Prayers needed. Wrote and shared a piece on “Keeping the fire alive”. I shared it with a black man whom I have known only in passing as “Red.” He thanked me profusely, and said the very subject had been on his heart and my paper gave him confirmation and clarity.
[Day 7] Had a bible study today with another strong man in Christ. It is the little things that we do in obedience to God that He uses to draw men to him. People are watching . What kind of impression are you leaving? Do you resemble a man of Christ?
[Day 8. New Year’s Eve] Suffering as Christians. Oh, how the Lord is refining me through fiery trials! As Christians we can expect to suffer. It is God’s will (1 Pet. 4:19). We suffer because of our faith and we also suffer for the faith. We always must be aware of how our suffering affects others. If our Christianity doesn’t work in suffering, we don’t have much to offer anyone.
RESOLUTION: Do not get caught up in self-pity. Suffering has purpose. Remind myself that I am a Christian man. God places me and uses me. He has bestowed many gifts upon me. I have helped men. I will help others.
[Day 9. Jan. 1, 2021] It is a brand new year. My prayer and hope is that God will bring renewal to the land and the people.
[Day 10. ] Watched the breakfast line degenerate in anarchy, greed and chaos this morning. It only takes one man to violate the orderliness and respect of the line. Others immediately followed his pattern of disorder. Sadly, I don’t think anyone even considered the spiritual implications. Violence will soon erupt, as is inevitable in this environment. Disappointing, but I am not going to lose my focus for the day. Today is a day of prayer and reflection on family. I love and appreciate the family God has given me. I pray for each member of my family to answer the call of God and come into a saving relationship with Him. I pray that they will forgive me for any hurts I might have caused them and I freely forgive them for hurts they have caused me.