by Faye Schmidt

Early this year I decided that I would retire from paid employment and relocate from Melbourne to Adelaide to be near my daughter as I enter my final years.

Then COVID-19 happened. Like many others, I began working full-time from home.

As part of a team within the Victorian Government which provided funding support to organisations, businesses and individuals to ease the financial impact of the pandemic, I worked long hours and it was a stressful time.

Knowing I would be moving, I submitted my request to police to enter South Australia. I received an automated email with an entry reference number and advice that if I hadn’t heard back within three days to proceed to the border and that my entry would be reviewed there.

My final day of work was 9 July. On 14 July my belongings were collected by removalists to be freighted to Adelaide. The next day I drove, with my cat on board, towards the SA border.

I was terrified. I was now in limbo. Would my paperwork be sufficient? What if they wouldn’t let me in? I had a cat and so couldn’t stay in a motel. I couldn’t go back – I had no furniture and my home was up for sale. I have never been so stressed and tense.

At the border I gave police my entry number and was questioned about my accommodation arrangements and family connections in Adelaide. I was directed to a COVID-19 test. After the test, I drove a few kilometres before stopping to send a text to my daughter that I was through the border. I broke down and cried in relief.

After a police visit to check that I was self-isolating, the following week I finally received an official response to my request to enter SA – I had been denied! Police advised me that I was very lucky as had I not already been in Adelaide, I would not have been allowed into SA.

I share my story because this whole process highlighted even more for me what it means to live under the grace of God.

LCA/NZ Bishop John Henderson cited Romans 8:38,39 in many of his COVID-19 communications to our church: ‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

What a stark contrast this is to the fear, stress and anxiety I experienced with my border crossing! God requires no paperwork, no justification for entry to his kingdom, no barriers to be overcome. Christ has overcome all separation between us.

As Paul says in Romans 8:37, ‘No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us’.

Faye Schmidt is now a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Adelaide and serves on the LCA/NZ’s General Church Board.

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