By Fernando Lista
There is no doubt that we are living in very unusual times. COVID-19 has surely changed the way we live and behave as a society. During these difficult times, Adventist schools have been impacted by government recommendations meant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. One of these recommendations has been to cancel in-person classes and move instruction to a distance learning platform. Suddenly, all students are at home with their parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, and in some cases, grandparents. One big, happy family!
Except for essential workers, most adults and children are required to stay at home. Here in Reno, Nevada, where Fernando Lista lives with his family, residents have been asked to remain in their houses as much as possible. Lista and his wife, Cristine, decided that they needed to organize themselves differently as a family if they were going to be successful with the things that needed to be done, including their job responsibilities.
The Listas have two boys, Kian and Dallan, who attend Riverview Christian Academy in Reno. The school faculty and staff have been amazing in helping parents and students continue with the education program remotely. Teachers have prepared lesson plans in advance, made creative weekly educational packets, set up Zoom meetings (videoconferencing software), and opened virtual classrooms for the kids to connect and retrieve important educational information and post completed work. In addition, teachers have been available via text messages, facetime calls, etc. Lista says, “I understand this whole process hasn’t been easy for parents, but I’ve realized that this must have been really difficult for teachers as well.”
In these unique times, in the Lista family, the work weekday schedule runs like this: Kids wake up around 7:30 a.m., they all have breakfast, then family worship. The parents take turns: one assists the children in completing their academic work while the other gets some work done. In between this and the kids’ Zoom meetings with their teachers and classmates, there is time for the boys to ride bikes, read books, play Legos (or other toys), and go outside and play close to the house (away from other kids in the neighborhood). The goal is to finish the academic schedule by 2 p.m. “But one of the things we’ve learned with homeschooling is that flexibility is everything,” Lista shared. “There are days that are better than others, but my wife and I have come to realize the hidden blessings of spending more time together as a family. Also, we understand the consequences that COVID-19 has had on many people’s jobs and professions. Not being able to work and produce an income is nerve-racking. In our community, the local church’s Center of Influence continues to provide free food through its daily pantry service.”
In spite of the adversities and difficulties we are all facing, as a family the Listas find comfort in the way God has guided their lives. Lista offered these encouraging words: “If we manage to keep present in our minds all of God’s interventions in our lives, the miracles He has performed, and His providence leading us up to this point, we can rest assured that this same God won’t abandon us in our time of need (Exodus 16; Numbers 11; Psalm 23, Mathew 28:19-21). The One who never fails (Joshua 21:45, Luke 1:37), the One who doesn’t lie or deceive (Numbers 23:19, Titus1:2, Hebrews 6:18), and the One who never changes (Isaiah 40:8, 1 Peter 1:25) has promised to give us, soon, very soon, an eternal home with endless happiness and absence of pain, tears, and death (Revelation 21:4). Thank you, Jesus!”